Xavier Thévenard does better than Kilian Jornet on the legendary GR 20

No record for Xavier Thévenard on the GR 20, but a more than honorable place. Indeed, he achieved the third best performance in the history of the GR 20 by completing this ultra-trail of 180 kilometers and 14 vertical meters, in 000 hours and 32 minutes.

En starting from Calenzana on the GR 20 Monday July 6 at 4 a.m., Xavier Thevenard was simply aiming for the record. Upon arrival in Conca after 32:32, this exceptional ultra-trail runner finally had to settle for third time, behind Francois D'haene et Guillaume Peretti, but in front of the star of the discipline, Kilian Jornet who traveled the GR in 2009, in 32h54. It must be said that D'haene set the bar very high in 2016 with his 31:06, thus shattering by almost an hour the previous record of Corsican Peretti, established in 2014.

A formidable ultra-trail

Halfway on the GR 20, everyone believes in a new record. Xavier Thevenard has a comfortable lead over the current record. But the overwhelming heat of the first day on the Corsican massif has left its mark on the form of the Jura who is gradually losing his lead. It was finally in the night race that things were played out. It must be said that this is when the record holder François D'haene accelerated in 2016. At 20 kilometers from the finish, Xavier was finally 30 minutes behind. Exhaustion, multiple blisters… The last fifteen kilometers will be “a way of the cross” for the ultra-traileur. Exhausted and moved, he confided warmly to the the team newspaper.

“In a project like this, performance is the icing on the cake. This is not what I will remember. What will remain is the passion that I shared with my whole team and all these people. This is really what will remain. "

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An extraordinary course

At 32 Xavier Thevenard is one of the best ultra long distance runners in the world. Triple winner of Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc in 2013, 2015 and 2018. He is the only runner to have achieved the UTMB grand slam by winning the 4 individual races: the UTMB three times, CCC in 2010, TDS in 2014 and OCC in 2016. Mont- White, Transju-Trail, Hardrock 100, Mount Fuji, Aiguilles Rouges, Templars… The ultra-trail record of the former cross-country skier and biathlete is impressive. However, he keeps his head on his shoulders. Lover of the great outdoors, he lives in the heart of nature and advocates a simple life. He recently made the choice to limit his carbon footprint. by giving up shopping requiring an airplane flight.

“I want to be in agreement with myself and I wonder if it is very reasonable, even today, to take a long-haul flight to go running […] The important thing, today is to be able to save life on earth. […] We are in the process of slaughtering 85% of the living species that exist ”

Discover in video the few hours which preceded Xavier's feat.

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Update July 12: Don't miss the video of Xavier's feat, shared on his Facebook page.