16th scratch in October 2021, the podiatrist returns this weekend to the capital, where she will try to remain the first Frenchwoman.
Tired. Tired. Out of breath even. By dint of going around in circles, Maëva Danois was fed up. First in the 3000m steeplechase, her favorite discipline, where she was vice-champion of European Espoirs in Tallinn in 2015, with a French record in her category (in 9’40”89) and champion of France in 2017. Tired of the track especially. This space too narrow for her. Too small to contain his overflowing energy. “I was tired of doing laps“Summarizes the 29-year-old Caennaise.
During a meal organized by her sponsor, at the beginning of the summer of 2021, Maëva Danois then responded to the challenge launched by Yohan Durand, who would become her counterpart in the men’s category, by also finishing first in France (in 2h09’21). “He asked me when I was going to run my first marathon. I replied: ‘Fire, I am registering for October’she laughs.
The French then has about three months to transform this whim into a successful bet. However, nothing moves, or almost, in its preparation. “I was in a period when I was changing my life by leaving Insep to become a podiatrist, remembers the one who has a practice in Saint-Martin-de-Seignanx. Afterwards, I continued training and I crossed the Pyrenees by bike. The path that everyone generally takes is the track, the 10 km, the half and then the marathon. Me, I went straight from the track to the marathon.A more direct shortcut to freedom lost on the tartan of athletics stadiums. The expression of a grain of madness rare in high-level sport, where the slightest gesture is calculated.
I still don’t realize how I did this time
On D-Day, the neo-marathoner takes with her her “bass drum» and his desire. A little skinny to line up alongside Ethiopians Gebeyahu, Dinkesa and Jimma (three firsts in the 2021 edition, all in the same minute in 2:26). Enough to finish first in France (in 2h45’08) ahead of the young Romane Lemière, 22, thanks to her secret weapon: recklessness. “It looked like a Sunday stroll through Paris. It was truly magical. I still don’t realize how I did this time“, she enthuses.
Objective: less than 2h40
After a month of suffering, a subsequent consequence of this lack of preparation, Maëva Danois is getting back on the road, and especially not on the track, to prepare for the Paris marathon this weekend. Surrounded by a dietician this time. And with a structured training program. To fill the gap left by this bit of recklessness and this element of surprise that flew away with this first experience. “I have a lump in my stomach because I want to do better. But afterwards, I’m happy to feel these emotions even if they are not necessarily comfortable.“says the podiatrist who has been living in the Landes since January.
In this race, the former 3000 m steeplechase specialist does not intend, for once, to skip the stages. On paper. “The marathon is a personal race, I will focus on my performance. I will have a hare, the objective will be to go under 2:40. I’m going to try to be as regular as possible but afterwards, if I’m at 30and km, I can make my grain of madness speak“, she says. His best travel companion. With her spouse, who will be there, even if he shouldn’t follow her for long. Or not at all. “If he finishes it in less than 3h30, I have to offer him a dog, does she breathe, amused but unexcited by this prospect. It took a carrot to be sure to see him on the finish line.Where she will certainly wait for him. With, perhaps, a new title above the head.