Living in Nyon is delighted to publish this article written by Rachel Frei Bandieri. Rachel is a performance coach and sports trainer and and earlier this year she interviewed local resident and Swiss Olympic athlete Lea Sprunger. Lea lives in the pretty village of Gingins above Nyon and back in 2012 she competed in the Summer Olympics in London in the women’s 200 metres event and the 4 X 100 metres relay.
Lea is also in the process of organising a new 21 k semi-marathon race on Sunday 14th September 2014. This race will start in Allaman and will partly follow the la Côte lake shore. This is an exciting new race for runners with an aim of 2,500 participants for the first edition. Read on to discover what it was like to perform in the London Olympics, how Lea stays focussed at such a big event, more details of the new la Côte semi-marathon and how you can volunteer (even if you are not a runner) and to find out a bit about the author of this article.
2014 promises to be an exciting year for the now famous track athlete and Gingins resident Lea Sprunger: with her participation in the European Championships in Zurich in August and the organisation of a brand new semi-marathon in September. Lea Sprunger, soon to turn 24, is on all fronts. After competing in the 2012 Olympics in London in the women’s 200 metres event and the 4x100m relay, she is now training for her 2014 objective: the European Championships that take place this year in Switzerland. And after her amazing 1st rank in the Swiss Championship, she definitely is on the right track! One can feel her excitement about the event just mentioning it! When I met her, she had just returned from a three-week training course in South Africa and she looked really fresh and in fine form. “Training is now quite different from what I was used to when I was still competing in heptathlon. In a way, it is a little “boring”. Hopefully, my coach understands that and he lets me vary, like putting the shot, from time to time” she explained.
Those Summer 2012 Olympics – “A Magic Experience!”
Lea chose the 200m sprint over the heptathlon when she was in the selection for the Olympics. “I really wanted to be selected and I knew I had too many weak points in heptathlon to have a proper chance”. After the Olympic gold medal of the British athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill, most readers probably know what heptathlon is made of…but just in case: Heptathlon is a track and field combined events contest made up of seven events, 100m hurdles, high jump, shot put, 200 metres, long jump, javelin throw and 800 metres. Unlike her elder sister Ellen, who is still competing in heptathlon, Lea is now concentrating on 200 metres and the 4x100m relay with the team made up of her sister Ellen, Maris Lavanchy and Mujinga Kambundji. When asked about the Olympics, she beams: “a magic experience!” She remembers when she went in the stadium for the first time to watch her sister, she nearly cried: “the atmosphere was incredible! The stadium was completely full; everyone in the UK knows about heptathlon and was supporting Ennis. It was really big!” Even if stadiums are impressive, she does not feel tooo much pressure when she is about to run. “I am quite good at staying focussed once I am on the track. In London, I told myself that it was just a little bit bigger this time..!”.
Training in Nyon
She also mentioned that having her sister around helps a lot; it is reassuring to know that a member of the family is there with her Lea who trained in Nyon for many years and is still a member of the COVA (Centre Ouest Vaudois Athlétissme), now mostly trains in Aigle and Macolin in winter and in Lausanne in summer. Things are not made easy for Swiss athletes as there is no place or centre entirely dedicated to athletics, like the INSEP in Paris/France; for instance, there are no recovery facilities where she trains, which means more time spent on the road than ideal. However Lea is not complaining. She is among the 10 athletes that are supported by the World Class Potentials program of the Swiss Athletics Federation, which means that all her expenses in relation to training are paid by the fund. It is more difficult she says when it comes to individual sponsorship, and most of her sponsors come from the athletics world. She also works 30% for an event company and this is where the link to “her” semi-marathon shows up: “Actually, my employer is my coach”, she explains, “and he wanted me to set up a project in my area.”
This is how the Semi-Marathon de la Côte race was born. She admits not being an endurance runner herself but she truly admires people who run such events. “I wanted to organise a sport event that would be accessible for all and that could also be used as a reference time for competitors. That is why we chose the semi-marathon distance rather than a mere 20km” It was important to her that the arrival be in the Colovray stadium, where she trained for all these years. The departure will be in Allaman, at the Outlet centre, exactly 21.0975 km (13.1094 mi) away from Nyon. The route will mostly use the stunning “route du lac” with a special part in Rolle where it will follow the lake shore. So if you ever dreamt of running on the quays in Rolle, don’t miss out!
Photo above The Quayside in Rolle. On the route of the new Semi-Marathon
To competitors and personal best lovers: the race promises to be really fast and taking place just five weeks before the Lausanne marathon, it makes it an ideal training race! The date is on Sunday 14 September 2014, with departures from 10.30 am. There will also be a special running event for kids organised in Colovray with starting time around 09:00
Volunteers Needed A note to those interested: Lea and the organisation team are looking for some 120 volunteers to help during the event. So if you do not feel like running but would none the less like to be part of this joyful and festive event, do not hesitate and join the volunteers’ team! Lea also mentioned that sports clubs and associations who will volunteer will be paid for their contribution, a nice way to support local sports!
Targeting some 2’500 runners for the 1st edition, the Semi de La Côte wants to become a reference race by the next few years and aims at attracting 5’000 runners by 2017. Informations and registrations: On the Datasport website from April on, or on the Semi de la Côte website which will be launched in April. Link to follow.
Good luck to Lea for this fantastic new event!
The author Rachel Frei Bandieri Rachel is a performance coach and sports trainer, specialised in physical and mental training. Her holistic approach (that is, considering the person as a whole, having a global view) helps her make the difference in her work with a various range of people: from the elite athlete to the leisure hiker who want to improve their performances or take part in a specific competition or event. She also works with students or managers who want to achieve a specific goal, in sport, at work or in their personal life.
Depending on the goal and the expectations of the clients, Rachel uses sport activities, mental preparation techniques or a combination of both. “I just love my job!, she says. It is really enriching and fascinating to work with amazing people”. Contact Rachel: trail(at)rfbconcept.ch – 079 689 90 26 you can also read on her own website about some of the amazing trail running and endurance events she has done herself. She is also part of Les Locales, an association that gathers local businesses from the villages above 500 metres. There will be a specific article here on Les Locales soon. Website: www.leslocales.ch