Valérie Gérard has a passion for sport that has enabled her to become the first woman Race Director for the Moka Trail. She looks forward to welcoming trail running enthusiasts to the village of Beau Bois for the 11th edition on Saturday 7 October 2023. Let’s take a look behind the scenes of this must-attend race.
Above all, the Moka Trail has become a well-established feature with ten years of history behind it. Various teams including entertainment, marking, refreshments and first-aid work together to provide an enjoyable experience in a safe environment. And what about the role of a Race Director? She is responsible for coordinating the teams, making sure all checklists are completed and maintaining the collaborative atmosphere that is part and parcel of the event!
“I welcome this honour with a great deal of humility and gratitude because it is a major first for me. This is a very exciting challenge, and I can rely on the sound structure that has been established over time, as well as the organisational skills and team spirit,” says Valérie. She intends to use the sporting values that she lives by on a daily basis, such as discipline and respect for others, to meet the challenge. She also sees taking on management of this trail event this year as an opportunity to enhance her sporting career.
An athlete at heart
This woman is a quiet strength with a certain expertise in terms of major trail events, such as the Grand Raid. After spending 15 years competing in triathlons and another 15 years taking part in trail races, as well as a career in physical education and sport, this seasoned athlete brings her experienced eye to the iconic Moka Trail.
“Ten years ago, there were only about 100 of us taking part in trail events. We felt like we were going on an adventure, like pioneers discovering the trails. There is better supervision now for participants of all levels to enjoy the experience, from trail marking to collective training before the race,” says Valérie. All these factors contribute to build the confidence of trail runners, but also to promote sportsmanship.
The courses remain unchanged this year with the Fun Jog (5km), Deux Mamelles (7km), Petit Both (15km) and Grand Pouce (30km). However, a few changes to the route of the Fun Jog and Grand Pouce are expected to enhance the trail running experience.
The Moka Trail is known for its challenges such as speed, heat and long distances as well as for its superb views over Moka, which give participants the extra boost to overcome each of these difficulties and push back their limits.