At the Marathon des Sables, “meetings and sharing are essential” – Ouest-France evening edition

Interview by Olivier DUPLESSIX

During this 36and edition of the Marathon des Sables (from March 27 to 1er April 2022) in the middle of the Sahara, the Breton Davy Dano gave us his impressions from the inside every day. Back in France, he looks back on this extreme adventure, rich in lessons.

(Map: West-France)

This latest installment in our series on Marathon of the Sands is devoted to the assessment and the return to normal life, or almost. After a week spent in the southern Moroccan Sahara, the Morbihannais Davy Dano looks back on this extreme and extraordinary race. just returned, the Vannes gives us his impressions of an extraordinary adventure that will remain forever etched in his memory.

Read also: “By crossing the line of the Marathon des Sables, you realize that you are marked forever! »

“Moments of absolute simplicity”

“To take stock of this crazy week, just a few days after crossing the finish line, is a difficult exercise. However, I’m giving you “on the spot” some teachings and lessons that this adventure has been able to bring me.

First of all, the return to simple values ​​has something of jubilation. Do you want to consolidate your tent? Go get some pebbles! Want to eat hot? Go get some wood! Stripping and deprivation force one to “work”. They force you to detach yourself from your routine, to refocus on the essentials to enjoy the little pleasures that everyday life offers you: running, sleeping, drinking, eating. Moments of absolute simplicity that can sometimes be enough to make you happy… provided they are shared. »

“Shared values: respect, mutual aid, solidarity”

“In this type of event, meetings and sharing are essential. Because make no mistake about it! Running is not just about long solitary efforts. Running is certainly an individual sport, but not an individualistic one. His practice is always articulated around a handful of values ​​shared by a group. And the running community has its fundamentals: the passion for running of course – which only makes sense among other runners – but also respect, mutual aid and solidarity. In the middle of the desert, moreover, deprived of everything, the fraternity between “galley slaves” takes on its full meaning.

Read also: The Marathon des Sables, this race where “you have to teach the brain to bear pain”

We are all going through the same thing at the same time. The rapprochement is almost natural and complicity necessarily emerges between runners. All the competitors encounter the same difficulties and all support each other in the effort. The practice of running can then be at the origin of strong friendships, sometimes forged by surpassing oneself and managing effort.

At eight, squeezed into your Berber half-tent, you form a tribe and share everything as if you had been living together forever, as if you were among friends, almost as family. Ditto for the bivouac where all the runners meet in the evening. There is a real spirit of camaraderie there: it’s an oasis, both very large and ultimately so intimate. After a day, everything became familiar. You feel like you’ve lived here forever. »

Before leaving the Sahara, Davy Dano took a sand sample. (Photo: Davy Dano)

“A balance of difficulties and serenity”

“The Marathon des Sables is also an equivocal event, a balance of difficulty and serenity. The desert itself turns out to be a place as enigmatic as it is ambiguous. The dunes change under the action of the wind, but the desert remains the same. Finally, you too are the same but in the same way you change.

To hear the participants of previous editions, when you leave, you know that you will come back different. You know you won’t be the same person. The Marathon des Sables is a concentrate of emotions, a veritable “washing machine” that leaves sand deep in your heart forever. »

During his journey, Davy met Berbers who had planted a Gwen ha du (name of the Breton flag) in the desert in order to encourage our Breton. (Photo: Davy Dano)

“A big date with yourself”

“In this place where time stands still, where you rub shoulders with emptiness and nothingness, surprisingly, everything is in motion, and you with it. And it’s never more important than getting started because it’s irreversible. This initiatory crossing is in fact a great meeting with oneself, far from its usual borders. And it’s a chance to be there and to participate in something like that. In this sense, you really have to live the experience to the fullest and let yourself be rocked.

One thing is certain, you will come out of it more humble and greater. Humbler because the immensity makes you aware that you represent nothing (or not much): a grain of sand in the desert, a drop of water in the ocean, a star in infinity. You are very small.

Bigger because it builds you up and helps you put everything back in its place. Life is short. Tomorrow is never! Let’s try to be happy and enjoy ours. In the end, the rest is pretty unimportant, so don’t confuse comfort with happiness and “let your pans shine brighter than you.” »

We sometimes have strange encounters in the desert. (Photo: Davy Dano)

“Lay down your torments and your ego”

“Finally, and finally, many people asked me what I was looking for there, in the middle of the Sahara. At night on the long stage and under the starry sky, I asked myself this question a hundred times. What did I come here looking for? Why do this to me? Come to think of it, rather than looking for something there, if I had simply come to put something there: my torments and my wounds, my little bicycle and my ego.

But what went through my head when I confirmed my registration for this crazy race less than three months before the start? Maybe the planets were just aligned, maybe it was just the right time, maybe I was just ready! What the caterpillar calls death, the butterfly calls rebirth. »

The runners encourage each other before the start. (Photo: Davy Dano)

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