Find out a little more about Xavier Thévenard and the sporting career of this local lad who became the little prince of the UTMB ultra trail race.

Xavier Thévenard, the local lad

Xavier Thévenard was born in Nantua and grew up in the resort of Les Plans d’Hotonnes, on the plateau du Retord in the department of Ain. Until 2011, his parents ran the Grange des Plans d’Hotonnes, a lovely gîte at the foot of the slopes which was permanenently open. So for Xavier and his brothers and sisters, life was a constant adventure as they explored the valleys around their home and developed their love of wide open spaces...

portrait de Xavier Thévenard
Benjamin Becker / Bourgogne-Franche-Comté Tourisme

An athlete in the making

In his youth, Xavier Thévenard wasn't particularly good at sport, but he enjoyed it and was always up for a challenge. "I never did manage the red 20km cross-country skiing trail at Les Plans, so I'm doing it now", he once said. Then later, "I'm going to do all the Retord trails in one day". Before taking up trail running in 2009 and 2010, Xavier Thévenard was already a top biathlete with the French junior teams. Coached by Stéphane Bouthiaux, who later trained Martin Fourcade and the French A team, Thévenard battled it out for many years in the footsteps of the seven-times world champion and five-times Olympic champion. In 2010, Xavier Thévenard, who was still not very well known to the general public, took part in the CCC race, which he won after making a bet with his childhood friend. We all know how the story goes next...

 

Portrait de Xavier Thévenard
Benjamin_Becker__Bourgogne-Franche-Comte_Tourisme

See the off-the-wall interview with Xavier Thévenard 

The Jura Mountains through the eyes of Xavier Thévenard

The Jura Mountains offer variety in terms of terrain, discipline, climate and colour... Here you fully experience the seasons, you never get bored and you have to stay open. The Jura Mountains are the ideal playground for trail-runners. It takes this diversity of contours and disciplines to fully aquire the abilities of a good trail or ultra trail runner. But running and bodybuilding alone are pointless. You also need to do cross-country skiing, ski-touring, mountain-biking, kayaking, roller-skating, roller-skiing... you suffer fewer injuries and it makes the body more adaptable to change and therefore to the extreme conditions of trail-running. We have all of these possibilities in the Jura Mountains!

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