Sylvain Court Pre-2016 Transvulcania Ultramarathon Interview

Sylvain Court is the reigning IAU Trail World Champion and one of the few guys who has recently beat Transvulcania Ultramarathon two-time defending champion Luis Alberto Hernando. In this interview, hear Sylvain compare his Transvulcania training to his trail world champs training last year and talk about his race strategy for this weekend.

Be sure to read our men’s preview to see who else is racing. Also, follow our live coverage on race day!

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Sylvain Court Pre-2016 Transvulcania Ultramarathon Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and it’s the day before the 2016 Transvulcania Ultramarathon. I’m here with Sylvain Court who will be one of tomorrow’s contenders. Hi. Bonjour.

Sylvain Court: Hi, Meghan.

iRunFar: I’m also with Depa who marvelously speaks multiple languages. He’s a native Spanish speaker translating between French and English.

Depa (Translator): Thank you, Meghan. Bonjour a tout les monde qui parles francais aussi.

iRunFar: Sylvain, this is an early season race. It’s just April, or we’re just now moving into May, and where you come from, you have winter. What has your winter been like for training?

Court: I live in Bourdeaux, and it’s very flat country in France. During the week, I make my training in flat and on track. I train fast. On the weekend, I usually go to Basque Country and on the weekend I train in the mountains. I only train in the mountains during the weekend. The rest of the week I train flat and on the track in my town.

iRunFar: Train hard in the mountains on the weekend, recover at home during the week on the flats?

Court: I make my plans for training during one month. The three first weeks is hard, hard training with one week more than the last week. I make more kilometers and stronger training. After, on the fourth week, I make a relaxed and more quiet week of training.

iRunFar: The 2015 season for you, from my perspective looking at your season, was quite good—lots and lots of success. How do you feel looking back at 2015?

Court: The 2015 season had two parts more different. The first part was for the World Championships in Annecy. It was my first time with the French jersey, of my country, and it was most important for me. I worked too hard for this special race. After Annecy, I had the possibility to run a race with all the best runners in the world—for example, Luis Alberto Hernando is a very important runner to me, and the most important in the world possibly. After the World Championship, I took one month of relaxation and focused on the end of the season to run at Les Templiers. I was very tired at the end of the season. I changed my focus to run Transvulcania in 2016 and all the objectives for the rest of the season.

iRunFar: You mentioned Luis Alberto Hernando. I wanted to ask you about him. You raced with him at the IAU Trail World Championships just a year ago. What’s it like having raced him there and now here coming to sort of “his race”—a race he’s now won two times and completed three?

Court: For me, at the first, Luis is the favorite in this race. It’s his garden. But there are a lot of runners who maybe could win here in Transvulcania. My first time with Luis was at the World Championships in Annecy. My objective for Transvulcania is to go with Luis all the kilometers that I can. Maybe at the last of the race, maybe I will get the same result from Annecy or not, because it’s very difficult to run with Luis because Luis is a hard runner and very good competitor, but I want to get it all from myself.

iRunFar: My last question for you—you’ve had some good training over the winter and early spring. You’ve done a couple training races. You said you did a race in Basque Country, and you did Trail du Ventoux. Do you feel confident coming into tomorrow’s race in your own training and preparations?

Court: Yes, I want to make the similar preparation like the next year from World Championships. Generally, I make a flatter run in the road with 10ks and I made 31 minutes. My preparation for running fast and flat was good. Also I run the Trail du Ventoux. I arrived in Mount Ventoux in second position after Nicolas Martin who is a co-runner from the French team in the World Championship, where he was in seventh position. He’s a good runner, too. So Nicolas was first and after him was me in second. After, I did another race in Basque Country. I arrived in first position with a course record. Again, this was a good performance and maybe at Transvulcania, I can do all of these things.

iRunFar: Thank you very much, Sylvain, and bonne chance for tomorrow. We look forward to seeing you out on the course. Thank you.

Court: Thank you.

Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com’s Senior Editor, the author of ‘Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running,’ and a Contributing Editor at Trail Runner magazine. The converted road runner finished her first ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world’s wildest places. For more information on Meghan and her adventures, please visit her personal website.

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