Athletics: Tarbaise walker Nadège Cantet is preparing for Paris-Alsace

the essential
The long-distance walker from Tarbes is training to compete for a performance over the 220 km of the mythical Paris-Alsace event, which will start on May 31 at Disneyland Paris.

This face and especially this rhythm, are not unknown for regulars of the caminadour, although during the week, you have to walk there early or at the very end of the afternoon to see it.

Indeed, it is before starting her work or after having finished it, that Nadège Cantet puts on her sneakers and comes to overtake all the walkers on the banks of the Adour. Small precision, Nadège does not run, she walks…
Like many, in her forties, she went walking to talk and also to “get some fresh air” and at the end of 2017, she got a taste of competition in local races with “les gambettes souessoises”, initiated by JL. Boulais and G. Laffargue.

Seduced by this first experience, the following year, she embarked on the Grand Fond walk and participated in her first 24 hours.

In search of the limits

Very quickly, she will join the Tarbes Pyrénées Athlétisme and try out longer distances with, from her first deadlines, the performance of a seasoned champion.

“At first, I was doing 40 km a week. Then one Sunday, I climbed the Aubisque, and the following weekend I finished second in my first 24 hours with 127 km. Since then, I have never stopped looking for my limits, the more we do, the more we want to do, even if after each race I say it’s the last”, explains Nadège Cantet.

And since her debut, her progress has been meteoric: in 2018, she finished 2nd at the 24 Hours of Villenave-d’Ornon, where she covered 127 km. In 2019 at the French deep-distance running championship in Bourges, she took 8th place in the 130 km before finishing on the top step of the podium at the 24 Hours of Villenave-d’Ornon with 135 km. In 2020, Nadège continues the excellent results with, in particular, the 2nd place in the French championship of the 100 km on circuit in Roubaix and the 3rd of the 28 hours with 157 km covered.

This year, Nadège wants to walk even harder and has set herself the goal of participating in the mythical Paris-Alsace event (ex-Grand Fond Paris-Colmar walking marathon) which will start on May 31 at Disneyland Paris for a arrival on June 4 in Colmar. Insiders say it’s the longest event in the world…nothing less.

Determined for Paris-Alsace

For weeks she has been training specifically for this big deadline: “For Paris-Alsace, I maintain heavy workloads by trying to walk faster and doing interval training. I receive advice from Patrice Brochot, several times world champion, but it is above all Christophe, my husband, who takes care of my preparation. I will also look for nutritional advice on the internet. And there is Jean-Louis and his wife Yvette who support me on foot or by bike. They are the ones who will accompany me for this famous walk. With my husband, they will ensure the supplies and all the logistics”.

It is determined that Nadège Cantet is moving forward in her discipline even if sometimes a little support would be useful to her.

Because, when she talks about her first races, she recounts how she was hardly looked at as the major Grand Fond competitions take place in the North of France, she found herself a little isolated: “When I looked for sponsors all the doors closed. Only my club makes a contribution. So we manage as best we can. Despite everything, I am proud to participate in this 220 km walk, if I finish I would have pushed my limits again and who knows, it will motivate me to register for the 6 days of France…”

If tomorrow you come across this fast silhouette on the caminadour, don’t hesitate to say hi. Even if she has a steel mind, a little word of encouragement is always nice.
We wish a very good race to Nadège. May she carry the colors of Tarbes and Bigorre high.

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