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Overcoming disability: Roger, athlete and visually impaired!

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Roger, Athlete and Visually Impaired

Roger Prunières is visually impaired. But Roger is an athlete. Because, like all the actors in our section " Overcoming the handicap ", he wants to surpass himself, and is not ready to give up his passion for trail running!

Athlete and visually impaired: nothing is impossible!

Originally from Reunion, Roger Prunières and his family have long been immersed in the festive atmosphere of sports competitions. Among these, there is one that stands out more than the others, because its notoriety is worldwide. This is the Grand Raid de la Réunion , nicknamed, not without a hint of truth, the "Diagonale des Fous." Among the four races offered throughout the weekend, the "Diag" is the most emblematic, and also the longest. It consists of neither more nor less than crossing the island through its famous circuses, a dizzying and hostile maze in total autonomy.

trail running

So on the program: about 160 kilometers and nearly 10,000 meters of elevation gain. Enough to thrill an overtrained and over-equipped athlete. For Roger, who "can't see a meter away", the case seemed settled. However, by dint of hearing his entourage tell him about the electric atmosphere and their pride in having participated in it, he begins to dream. But how could a visually impaired person, as trained as possible, succeed in such a crazy bet?

Moored to his guide

An athlete friend, Armand Sautron, offers to help him realize his dream. Using a rope to tie up to their partner, and defining specific means of communication, they will begin training, in order to be ready for this challenge. Thanks to the rope, Roger can feel the sensation of Armand's stride and footsteps. Coordination work is essential on such a technical and changing course.

In 2021, they therefore register for the Grand Raid and Roger manages to realize his dream. Before this challenge, Roger and Armand had completed a participation in the French Triathlon Championships. Because you don't sign up like that for the Diagonale des Fous! Roger and Armand therefore have the experience required to be part of these hundreds of "crazy people" who try the adventure.

After a good start, it's a pain in the foot who will get the better of Roger's will. The podiatrist predicts him 6 to 8 months off if he continues the race. However, other deadlines await him, including several triathlons, his specialty. He therefore makes the heartbreaking decision to give up, not without experiencing the atmosphere of the event, and having realized part of his dream. And, always accompanied by Armand, he knows he will try the adventure again.