Safran employee Beñat Marmissolle wins La Diagonale des Fous 2022!
It took landing gear assembler Beñat Marmissolle 23 hours and 14 minutes to finish in first place at the 2022 edition of La Diagonale des Fous, one of the hardest long-distance races in the world. This victory was the result of a perfect balance of training sessions, private life, and work commitments.
An unusual background in ultra trail, agriculture and aeronautics
Beñat Marmissolle is a man who likes challenges! An elite athlete, father and farmer, he has also worked at Safran Landing Systems, Bidos for over 15 years, currently as a part-time drag brace fitter on Airbus A320 nose landing gear.
Beñat, who grew up in the Pyrenees and loves the mountains, is an international skyrunner* who has participated in several world championships whilst continuing his work at Safran. In 2021, at the age of 41, he discovered an amazing capacity for ultra trail running, coming 3rd in the 2021 edition of La Diagonale des Fous and finishing in 6th place at the Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc in August 2022.
An extraordinary performance
In this year's La Diagonale des Fous, Beñat took first place, completing the 165-kilometer course with its 10,217 meters of ascent in 23 hours, 14 minutes and 47 seconds. An achievement that shows extraordinary strength of character.
Almost 3,000 competitors started this exceptional race but only 1,887 crossed the finish line. Among them was his ultimate rival, Jean-Philippe Tschumi, who he supported right up to the home stretch.
The courage, determination, humility and fraternity demonstrated by Beñat are a source of much pride and admiration at Safran, particularly among his colleagues at Bidos, who have been inspired by his experience.
We quickly realized that to take the first two spots, we needed to work together. And through all the hours and conversations we've had together, a great mutual respect has developed. Even though I set the pace for our breakaway, I refused to let him fall behind. Because if the gap widened with others on our tail, there was no way I was going to let one of those two first places go to someone else.
The common values of sport and enterprise
In sport, just like in aeronautics, you need audacity, precision, perseverance and solidarity to push the boundaries and recount new stories, setting new records. These human qualities and values are valuable, even vital for Safran and its employees' sporting achievements are just the sort of uniting experience the Group wishes to promote.
When Beñat discovered his love of ultra trail running, it was a matter of course for Safran to help him balance his job with his training by enabling him to adapt his hours. As he explains, "this allows me to find the right day-to-day balance between my sport and my work".
Moreover, at Group level, Safran promotes sport, for its beneficial impact on employee wellbeing. With this in mind, the Group recently launched its own challenge: "Go Safran Engage". Its aim is to use sporting challenges to raise employee awareness of important issues faced by Safran when it comes to corporate social responsibility (CSR), enhancing quality of life at work, and building team spirit in order to encourage us to adopt more responsible behavior together. All this while having fun!
(*) Skyrunning is running in mountains which are above 2,000 meters in altitude with an incline over 30% and where the climbing difficulty does not exceed grade II.