A HUMAN STORY
A human story above all !
Jean Giacosa is the founder of the AÉRIA association and the organizer of the Var Verdon Trail Canyon for more than 25 years. Jean, a nature lover, is literally in love with the largest canyon in Europe. Out of respect for this unique place, he was able to develop the event while keeping its fundamental values: humanity, technicality and respect for the environment.
Jean GIONO once said: “Here, it's more than far away, it's elsewhere !"
Jean GIONO once said: “Here, it’s more than far away, it’s elsewhere!”
The AÉRIA association has been able to show this passion for the Gorges du Verdon by creating an unmissable event where, each year, more and more lovers of nature and wide open spaces come to flirt with their limits and live an exceptional sporting adventure. Men and women of all ages, backgrounds and sporting levels took part in one of the oldest French trail events: the VVTC had 820 runners in 2016 and a thousand in 2017.
Trust in our volunteers and partners
The association is surrounded by many professionals (security, mountain guides, logistics, athletes, technicians), volunteers and private and institutional partners who share the same values. These actors want to make the geological heritage of the Gorges du Verdon better known and to boost the eco-tourism development of this unique region !
A TRAIL RUNNING PIONEER IN FRANCE
A new concept: combining hiking and running in the heart of nature.
It is in one of the most picturesque sites in France, the Gorges du Verdon, that the first nature adventure race was born under the name of “La Grande course du Verdon et du lac de Sainte Croix”, in tribute to one of the youngest villages in France: Les Salles-sur-Verdon.
The race then consisted of a journey of 120 km over three days with an accumulation of more than 9 000 meters of elevation. This stage race was made possible thanks to the support and wise advice of Mr. HIRSCHY and Mr. KUNZI. At the time, Mr. HIRSCHY came from his native Switzerland to help AERIA and show his skills to organize this race, as he had done for the Mont Blanc Super Marathon. Jacques KUNZI is responsible for all of the markup work. At the time, there were no sophisticated means of communication: the only way for the team was transmitters/receivers which functioned as best they could… Organizing such a challenge is a shot of pure adrenaline !
The philosophy of this atypical race was not about performance. The goal was to immerse yourself in wild and sumptuous places, to meet up with friends and share the same values and emotions. Friendship, conviviality and adventure were the key words of these first editions.
From a stage race to a multi-distance event
Over the years, the event evolves : because the weather is not always good; because the practice of trail running is changing; because the racing calendar is expanding and runners’ expectations are changing. The formula in stages disappears in favor of a multi-distance program. After experimenting with an ultra of 100 km, AERIA decided to return to shorter events. The longest race thus offers, in 2018, around sixty kilometres.
The organizing team never rests on its achievements, nor on the prestige of a bygone history. AERIA is constantly questioning itself in order to always meet the expectations of runners while preserving its founding values.
The Var Verdon Trail Canyon is unquestionably a legend in the world of French trail running. It has welcomed the biggest names in the discipline during its first editions: Lionel Bonne, Dawa Sherpa, Marco Olmo, Benoît Laval… Running on the trails of the Verdon means living, whatever the place in the arrival, a rich and founding experience.