The Course du Coeur 2014: much more than sport

This year I participated to the race "La Course du Coeur" 2014, in the SAP official team. Organized by the Trans-Forme association, it aims at raising awareness of French citizens around the importance of organ donations and to make a decision on the matter before sudden unfortunate events might occur.

To this extent, the Trans-Forme team organizes a 4-days and 4-nights race, starting from Paris and reaching many cities and villages of 12 different French departments, arriving on the wonderful Alps of Bourg St Maurice after 750 km of runs, bike races and even a ride on a canoe...

Sounds pretty challenging, right? but while sport has a role in this race, it is nothing compared to the extraordinary experience we had, due to the presence of a team of transplanted athletes running with us (together with other 14 teams from different companies).

This team takes the same challenges as others, and while sweating in races, they talk about their lives and about the organ transplantation that saved them. I remember for instance the story of Stephan, who finally received a kidney thanks to the courage and the ability of a doctor that took the risk of operating him, after that 5 colleagues refused to do so.

Stephan had (and still has) other health issues, but the transplant literally saved his life, allowing him to improve enormously his health conditions and to have again an ordinary life, enjoying his family and all ordinary experiences that a daily dialysis would not allow. And since his transplant, he could come back to sport activities, up to and joining the Trans-Form team in a challenge like the Course du Coeur!

The Trans-Form team is composed by transplanted athletes of different organs: kidney, hearth, lung, bone marrow and so on. For all of them, receiving a transplant meant a rebirth, a second chance they have to live their lives as they did before, after physical and mental sufferance. Not only for them, but also for their families; many stories I heard focus on the joy of being able to do activities with the family and children, and how much this cheers up to face all the difficulties that still remains. And they witness their joy by sharing their experiences in public meetings and events organized in the towns and cities touched by the race, and also with children at schools.

A special mention goes also to the amount of volunteers that help the Course du Coeur: controllers, masseurs, cookers, journalists and photographers, and naturally Olivier Coustere, the inventor and the course director, a 3-time transplanted and former athlete who is really a force of nature!


So, what can the Course du Coer be other than a big party? Competition plays almost no role at all (well, maybe just a bit :) ) but it is frequent to see runners of different teams to arrive hand by hand after a challenging run, supporting each other.

Thanks to Aymeric de l'Hermuziere, the captain of the SAP Team, and to all teammates: Simo, Alain and Nico, Paul, Jean, Christophe, Patrick, Pierre, Fabien, Dominique and Tamara, Peter and June for having supported us so greatly by drinving and blog posting, al well as Mouriel.

It was the first time for me, I was prepared for the run but not for the emotions given to me by this experience. Now I just look forward for the Course du Couer 2015, and definitely not only as a race.

Francesco di Cerbo (A team)