TransGranCanaria defending and two-time champion Sébastien Chaigneau is back on Gran Canaria to defend his title. In the following interview, Seb talks about the race’s anticipated weather, the challenges of the course, and his 2014 racing plans.
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Seb Chaigneau Pre-2014 TNF Transgrancanaria Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar with Seb Chaigneau before the 2014 Transgrancanaria. How are you, Seb?
Sébastien Chaigneau: Well. Very well. It’s great.
iRunFar: Lovely day. It’s perfect weather. You could just stay outside all day.
Chaigneau: Yes. For last training part, it’s perfect.
iRunFar: You just told me that the weather is about to change.
Chaigneau: Yes, the prediction is not a very great prediction because it predicts the wind and cold and possible fog. It’s still a race.
iRunFar: It’s a race.
Chaigneau: I make a lot of training in these conditions.
iRunFar: Yes, you’ve run in many bad conditions at UTMB and throughout. You have run this race the last two years. I know the course is different this year, but…
Chaigneau: Yes. More harder.
iRunFar: It is harder?
Chaigneau: Very, very, very harder. Technical. It changed, not the distance, but it changed the elevation. The positive ascents passed 7,800 meters. It’s not the same.
iRunFar: No, and more technical as well?
Chaigneau: Yes, more technical. The first part is very, very technical and during the night it’s not easy.
iRunFar: This race is unique or different in that it starts at midnight, so you have almost seven to eight hours of darkness.
Chaigneau: Yes. It’s complicated. For the night, it’s no problem. After, it’s for the day, it’s complicated because if the sun comes and arrives during the race, it’s very hot and a lot of humidity. It’s the same conditions as Western States. The last kilometers, it’s in the road—not asphalt road, it’s dirt… It’s very complicated because it’s nothing, no trees, nothing.
iRunFar: Just exposed—all sun.
Chaigneau: All sun. It’s very, very hot. I think in this part, the water is very important.
iRunFar: It’s been hot in the years you’ve run it before. It won’t be this year, though, so that might not be as much of a problem. You have a very full schedule this year but different than the past. You have no UTMB on your schedule. You’ve run that many times.
Chaigneau: Yes. Yes. And this year I would come back to Japan (UTMF) because it’s an incredible race and I have a lot of friends in Japan. I come back to Hardrock; I have the privilege of the number, and I think this year it’s a very special race because everybody is here—Kilian Jornet, Dakota Jones, Joe Grant, Timothy Olson, Tsuyoshi Kaburaki.
iRunFar: Many good ones. It doesn’t get any better.
Chaigneau: It’s very incredible. It’s the run; it’s not the race.
iRunFar: It’s just a run.
Chaigneau: It’s just a run, and it’s a good occasion to make the run with the other runners. I love this vision of the trail. I think it’s very hard for me after Japan and Hardrock of last year to run with a lot, a lot, a lot of people. It’s very complicated. I prefer to run with small community. This year after, if I recover well after Hardrock, I will go to Diagonale des Fous. It’s not sure. I make a decision in time after that.
iRunFar: One change this year is you won this last year and you won Hardrock—this year, both races are even stronger. You are the defending champion. Do you feel pressure?
Chaigneau: No because I take the race and the race is just an occasion for running with the others. The objective is not running and winning. The objective is running and just running and taking pleasure and keeping under with the nature because if the nature doesn’t want, it’s impossible for the human.
iRunFar: Best of luck, Seb. I’ll see much of you this year.
Chaigneau: Thank you so much, and I’ll see you after the race.