Portrait of Creuse
Portrait of Creuse

In the wake of Lionel Chatain

President of Endurance 23

Big news for the Sostranian club Endurance 23: barely has the Cazinight just gathered a little more than 400 participants on October 16 that already the realization of permanent trail courses is looming. Not to mention the planned handover of power by the current president of Endurance 23, Lionel Chatain by the end of the year. We spoke to him to discuss the past, present and future of running through the prism of the club.


Project initiator

He runs for
  • the nature
  • the Creuse

How has Endurance 23 coped with the recent pandemic period and its set of restrictions?

Limited impact on membership

Obviously, the health crisis has forced us to cancel our races until spring 2021. For all that, the club has weathered this period rather well. While trail running continues to grow, road running is still popular and many of our runners continue to prepare for marathons. To this day, our Wednesday evening training sessions still bring together as many people as before.

20 years for a club that is still young

Endurance 23 will celebrate its 20th anniversary next year; it is a club that is now well identified in the Creuse sports landscape. What notable developments have you noted in recent years?

The essential contribution is the establishment of coached training every Wednesday evening. This has really allowed the club to grow, to have new members and to retain runners. This coaching is only done with volunteers: Thierry, Marcel and myself at the beginning, then Didier and finally François who joined us. Thanks to this, our athletes achieve very good results and many podiums.

The Raid section was born in parallel to the club

There is no real federation for multi-sport, but running often acts as a support event for competitions of this kind. In this field too, Endurance 23 is present on many podiums and displays its dynamism.

Friendliness is also part of our DNA: naturally we get together to share nice moments -King’s cake in January, barbecue in June- to instill a nice atmosphere and maintain a good contact between practitioners, regardless of their performance and their sporting goals.

The 4th Uni’vert Trail base created in France

Endurance 23 is going to create permanent trail courses during the fall. Can you tell us more about it?

At the base, it is a will of the territorial authorities led by the Tourist Office under the leadership of Lionel Védrine. Naturally we wanted to support this project, with the support of the Departmental Athletics Committee, the city of La Souterraine, and the comcom of the Pays Sostranien. Our affiliation with the FFA has allowed us to access the Uni’ vert Trail label.

Following the opening of 3 first courses on Châtelus-le-Marcheix in 2019, there are 2 circuits starting from La Souterraine that will soon see the light. One two is a resumption of the Sostrail -well known to locals- which runs for 10 km. The other a variation of the Cazinight route 15 km long with a technical portion on the side of the Fôt.

Tourism has an important role to play, and if these circuits can contribute to it so much the better!”

And then, our network of paths, trails, and undergrowth represent a real wealth that we must bring to life and preserve. What we try to do alongside other associations, not the least of which is Moto Verte Marchoise which, for 20 years, militates and works voluntarily to maintain and reopen these paths.

A night race as a flagship event

As we have seen quite recently, the Cazinight is an important moment in the calendar…

The night trail was, at the beginning, an approach that Thierry Maudeux and I had wanted to test in parallel with the nature race the Cazinade. For this last one, we had tried many formulas: race in solo or in duo, female race, short format with long format; in spite of everything, the Cazinade was running out of steam… We launched the first Cazinight in 2012, with a 10 km circuit and only a hundred runners: totally positive feedback! In 2013, we jumped the gun and offered the only Cazinight with real success. We have expanded our range of distances, and have reached a milestone in 2019, with 430 participants. The last edition recorded a slight decline [395 runners lined up on October 16, 2021], which can be explained by the extraordinary context of covid. But we can also be happy to have stabilized the participation despite the pandemic. In any case, this confirms the importance of this race at the local level, the 2nd largest organization in Creuse behind the Loup Blanc.

The 9th edition took place this Saturday, October 16. What should we learn from it?

Precisely: that the participation has not wavered despite the regulatory constraints and obstacles (health pass, constrained collective catering, limitation of refreshment stands, obligation to subscribe online..) . The 3 distances of 5, 10 and 17 kms proposed allowed the greatest number to take part in the race, including the novice or occasional runners. The Cazinight, it is the opportunity to experience strong sensations whatever your level!”

The circuits were perfectly marked by fluorescent marking to find your way as in broad daylight. And then there was the entertainment:The start was given at Le Cheix under a magnificent fireworks display, and some people made quite an effort on the look side!

I would like to thank all the volunteers from the club and elsewhere who contributed to the success of this organization.

The Cazinight, it is not the only organization carried by Endurance 23. What about the other emblematic race -the Ekiden? Will it be held next spring?

Yes the Ekiden will be present in May 2022. We should have celebrated the 20th edition, but… it will indeed be the 19th Ekiden!”

A new team will manage the organization because I am stepping down as president of Endurance 23 while remaining a member of the club. In the new team, the members of the office from the first hour will still be present.

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