Julien Chorier of France planned to run the 2012 The North Face Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, but a last-minute course change and shortening due to inclement weather led him off to other European races. This year, the weather’s looking great and Julien is excited to run UTMB. In this interview, Julien talks about the other French runners he expects to do well, what it will be like to race the same runners he shared the Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji podium with this spring, and what ‘event’ he wants to run next in the United States.
[Editor’s Note: Here’s our full 2013 TNF UTMB men’s race preview.]
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Julien Chorier Pre-2013 TNF UTMB Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Julien Chorier before UTMB in 2013. How are you, Julien?
Julien Chorier: I’m fine, thanks, Bryon.
iRF: You’ve had a great year so far. You took second at Mt. Fuji. You won Ronda dels Cims. How are you feeling?
Chorier: I’m very happy to be here and the weather is very good. I’m so happy.
iRF: You’re happy with the good weather, yes?
iRF: Last year you were disappointed when the course changed at the last minute and it was shorter. You’re excited to run the full race?
Chorier: Yes, I’m excited to run the full race around Mont Blanc. I preview all the race and prepare very well for all the race. I’m very excited to run on this trail.
iRF: You do a very job when you have an important race, you focus on that race very well, and you tend to win. You’ve won many of the major 100’s—Hardrock, Mt. Fuji, Ronda dels Cims, Diagonale des Fous. Mont Blanc? Not yet.
Chorier: Aye, yes. I hope, but it’s very difficult to say because there are a lot of very good runners. I think maybe 15 people should win the race. I hope I have a very good race, but I think I can run in 21 or 22 hours. But if some guy is very fast and can run 20 hours, it should be very difficult for me.
iRF: In years past, sometimes there have been a few Salomon runners were at the front of the race working together. A couple years ago—Iker (Karerra), Kilian (Jornet), and Miguel (Heras). Do you have any plan to run with Miguel or do you just run on your own?
Chorier: No, no plan, but if we can run together we run together. All the race it’s possible because he’s a very good friend, but if I can run faster or he can run faster, then we go faster.
iRF: Are there other friends in the race? People that you would want to run a bunch of kilometers with if you have the chance?
Chorier: It’s difficult to say.
iRF: Who are some of those others? Who do you expect to be near the front of the race with you, specifically any French runners? We know Sébastien (Chaigneau), we know you, we know Miguel. Are there any other names we might not know from the United States?
Chorier: I think a guy like Xavier Thevenard, a French runner, should be good. Maybe like Emmanuel Gault.
iRF: Are they both Asics runners?
Chorier: Yes. But there are American runners, Japanese…
iRF: It’s international. When you did run Mt. Fuji this year, Sébastien was there, you were there, Gary Robbins, Hara-san—you all get to race again. Is that exciting to run against the same competitors?
Chorier: Yes, it’s very exciting, but it’s not the same race. I prefer this race.
iRF: Yes, this has more mountains.
Chorier: Yes, and my training for this race is better because training for Fuji was during the winter which is very difficult for me. Training for Mont Blanc is in the summer which is easier.
iRF: Easier to enjoy? How does that work? You did run very well at Mt. Fuji very early in the year; then you ran hard at Andorra. How do you continue to be in very good fitness until almost September?
Chorier: For me it’s easy because I like running in the mountains and racing in the mountains with my family. It’s all very good for training.
iRF: You’ve only raced once since Ronda dels Cims at Giir di Mont?
Chorier: Yes just for fun. It was very fast but good training.
iRF: Will you use the trekking poles?
Chorier: No, I think it’s not necessary for Mont Blanc because I prefer to run slowly in the mountains.
iRF: Rather than walking slowly with poles? From a perspective of the United States, might you come run another race in the United States anytime soon?
Chorier: I hope. I hope. I was speaking with Anton Krupicka about Nolan’s 14. I think it would be a very, very good dream and run, too.
iRF: It would be a very good adventure. One of the beautiful things about Nolan’s 14 is that you’d have to go early to reconnaissance the course.
Chorier: Yes. I hope to try.
iRF: Maybe next year?
Chorier: I don’t know, maybe.
iRF: Well, best of luck this weekend. I hope you come race or adventure again in the United States.