Last week we had the pleasure of (virtually) sitting down with Philippe Lassine, CEO of CDDS for a chat about our partnership in the SuretoSure Swimrun. More than just a sponsor, he’s participating in the STS since 2018, is an avid enthusiast of this new discipline and hopes to help spread the interest by supporting us. We’re grateful for such a dedicated figure to have our back and it motivates us to work harder every year to deliver a well-organized and enjoyable event for everyone involved. So, without further ado, let’s dive into our conversation!
Let's start at the beginning: Tell us a little bit about who you are?
Philippe: I am a 50-year-old, proud father of 4 children (5 if I can count CDDS) with a passion for sports. After having spent all my youth playing football at a decent level and ice-hockey, I stopped sports as probably many do, when I started my professional life and built a family. Several years later, I started running to lose some weight and get rid of the stress of my workdays and not long after that found myself back on the road bike. I also ran several 10k races, half marathons and one marathon in Amsterdam.
One day, my best friend registered me for a triathlon in Belgium where I finished “last out of the water” but the experience was great, so I decided to continue. We did several half 70.3 triathlons in Europe over the years. Sports really helps me to manage the everyday stress, so I do between 4 and 8 hours of sports per week.
What's the story behind CDDS?
Philippe: CDDS Luxembourg SA is a local company I created with friends in 2009 that specializes in anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing solutions. As of today, CDDS has more than 700 clients in 42 countries around the world using one of our solutions. The clients are active in the financial sector and beyond as we also serve export companies, construction or gaming. The latest project of which we are very proud of was to adapt our core solution AMLspotter for professional football clubs as several countries tend to include them in the scope of the law due to the different scandals that happened over the years.
Philippe: Similar to how I got into triathlons, my best friend one day sent me a registration confirmation email for a swimrun as there was one organised in Luxembourg (The SuretoSure Swimrun). The scenery of the lake in Esch-sur-Sure is just amazing and the event was so much fun and well organised that we decided to propose a sponsorship by CDDS. Unfortunately the 2020 edition had to be cancelled due to the pandemic but we are keen to do it again this summer!
Describe your first time experience participating in the SuretoSure?
Philippe: When we arrived before the race, we immediately felt the relax attitude of the organisers and the participants. The scenery at the lake was just impressive and compared to other races where you have the ones that are there to win and hardly laugh, this was completely different. Everyone was talking to another and laughing, the organisers were playing good music, the ambiance was not that serious and everyone was there to have fun.
The race itself was also good and we trained a bit before as it is quite different to swim with the running shoes and run with a pull buoy hanging on your leg. The fact of jumping from running to swimming all the time in this magnificent place was also funny and we really enjoyed it.
The best moment for me was after the race however. Not only did we manage to set a decent performance but everything was prepared to have a good time after the race: Excellent Belgian beer, tasty barbecue and music all contributed to a really great moment.
Why did you decide to support the SuretoSure team?
Philippe: Sitting in the grass and enjoying this moment, we decided to propose a sponsorship to make sure the event would continue to happen in the future as it is often very difficult to raise money for these initiatives and find dynamic motivated people to help for the organisation. At CDDS we took the decision years ago only to sponsor teams of children or projects that are really out of the ordinary and the SuretoSure definitely ticks that box.
What challenges have you done and what is still left on your bucket list ?
Philippe: I did several half distance triathlons in places like Zell am See, Cannes, The Gorges du Verdon and of course Remich in Luxembourg. Unfortunately, the 4 races that we planned for last year were cancelled and so we hope to be able to do them this year.
Next on the challenge list will be climbing the famous mountain passes by bike: We plan to start off this year with climbing the Ventoux from the three sides in a multiday challenge this summer and hopefully the Passo Stelvio.
We've heard you're a fervent plogger, tell us more about that!
Philippe: While running and cycling, I see a lot of rubbish in the woods or along the roads which I find really disgusting. So I started to run with a bag and bring the rubbish back home. I also educated my kids that they should collect the trash they find outside and throw it in the public bins. Following that philosophy, I created the facebook group “Plogging Luxembourg” to bring this to the attention, hoping this would create a trend and that many people would join the group. Disappointingly however, it didn’t really gain the traction I had hoped for and too few people joined to really bring the mission to life. Nevertheless, I will always continue to collect stuff when I run or bike, it’s in my DNA.
Finally: What do you love most about Swimrun and what would you recommend to anyone looking to start swimrunning?
Philippe: What I love most about Swimrun is spending time in nature with people that are there to have fun and not solely want to win the race at all costs. It’s much more that kind of atmosphere that attracts me to these events. To anyone that wants to start their swimrun adventure I would say: Enjoy the scenery in which you are allowed to swim and run out in the open and keep that performance-focused mentality for races on the road. Get out there, be free and have fun!