Julien Chorier won the Hardrock 100 in 2011 (post-race interview) in the, then, second-fastest counterclockwise run. After a few years away, he’s back to once again challenge himself in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains. In the following interview, Julien talks about his best memory from his win, whether he prepared any differently for this year’s Hardrock, and what his goals for the race are.
For more on the race and links to other resources, check out our Hardrock preview.
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Julien Chorier Pre-2014 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Julien Chorier before the 2014 Hardrock 100. Welcome back, Julien.
Julien Chorier: I’m very happy to be here and see you again.
iRunFar: Yes. You won this race in 2011. It’s now been three years since that race. What’s your best memory of winning Hardrock?
Chorier: Oh, I think it’s the incredible landscape because there is nothing, just mountains.
iRunFar: Is that what brings you back?
Chorier: Yeah, I want to try the other way.
iRunFar: They say you’re not a Hardrocker until you’ve run in both directions.
iRunFar: And now you get that chance.
iRunFar: After the 2011 race, you said the hardest part for you was the very long descent from Engineer Pass to Ouray. This year you’re going the other direction. You have a 5,000-foot climb.
Chorier: Yes, it’s different. I run this part two days ago and I think it’s not easy but very, very nice. It’s in the middle of the race.
iRunFar: Now that you’ve run this course once before, did you prepare for the race any differently? Did you train any differently this time?
Chorier: Not differently. I prepare as I can. It’s not very easy to prepare for this race in Europe because it’s a very high altitude here. It’s a nice race and I hope I’m in good shape.
iRunFar: So to prepare for the altitude have you done anything? Just come over a few days early?
Chorier: Yeah, maybe 10 days before the race here and before I’m training a lot in the ski resort in France, Val Thorens. It’s the highest but just 2,300 meters.
iRunFar: So, this will be a bit of a challenge, but you’ve faced it before.
Chorier: Yes, this year there’s a lot of very fast runners. It’s a very big challenge, and I think it’s a very nice race.
iRunFar: Yes, when you won in 2011, you won by a very large amount. You had a great race, but the competition this year is also much stronger.
Chorier: Very stronger, yes.
iRunFar: It’s as good as a race at Mont Blanc or…
Chorier: Yes, but for me I think it’s easy because it’s less pressure. I think there maybe five or six guys who are maybe faster than me or it’s normal they are faster. But for me if I finish sixth or seventh it’s normal. Not a problem. It’s less pressure.
iRunFar: But you still think about winning, yes?
Chorier: I want to do the best that I can. If they are faster than me, it’s okay. I can go.
iRunFar: Do you have a goal in mind for the race then?
Chorier: I just want to be faster than three years ago.
iRunFar: Which was a very fast time. That is the slower direction for the course. So I think you would want to run under 25 hours?
Chorier: Yes, for me 24 is perfect.
iRunFar: 24—one day, yeah.
Chorier: I would just finish at the end of the night.
iRunFar: Only one person has done that before. That’s a big challenge.
Chorier: Yes, it’s a very big challenge, but if I rose to the challenge it’s not very important.
iRunFar: That raises an interesting point. Do you put all your effort into breaking 24 hours and maybe explode or fall apart, or do you run an even race? Which approach will you have?
Chorier: Run an even race, yeah, yeah.
iRunFar: So if that leads to under 24 hours, then great. If it doesn’t…?
Chorier: It’s not very important. The first goal is to finish the race. After, the time is as fast as I can.
iRunFar: If that fast time beats other people, great.
iRunFar: In terms of beauty on the course, what is your favorite part?
Chorier: I think it’s Handies Peak is very nice but very difficult because [of the height.] For me it’s the typical–alone in the big mountain.
iRunFar: You’ll be alone again this year. It’s very late again in the first day. Is it about mile 60 (100k) this year?
Chorier: I think so, yes. I think it’s the end of the day and it should be nice with the pacer just before the night.
iRunFar: So you will run with a pacer this year?
Chorier: Yes, I think it’s very important for my mind and my safety. It’s important.
iRunFar: For both.
Chorier: For both, yes.
iRunFar: Last time you had Rickey Gates pacing you and who else was pacing you? Ryan Sandes?
Chorier: Ryan Sandes, yes.
iRunFar: This year who is pacing you?
Chorier: Brendan [Trimboli] and Paul [Hamilton], two friends from Durango.
iRunFar: Have you met them before?
Chorier: Yes, I run with them last weekend.
iRunFar: New American friends.
Chorier: Yes, it’s very nice and a very nice challenge.
iRunFar: This is your second time here now. How different is being here in Silverton a week before a race as opposed to being in Réunion or Chamonix the week before a big race?
Chorier: It’s different because there are less people, but all the runners are the same place and it’s like a big family. It’s very nice.
iRunFar: Yeah, we were just sitting in a coffee shop and there’s Sébastien [Chaigneau] and Kilian [Jornet] and the media as well that you see around at all these places. It’s a mountain family?
Chorier: Yes, it’s a mountain family. It’s very friendly.
iRunFar: Well enjoy your time with the family and your time on the course. And best of luck.
Chorier: Thank you very much.