In running his first American race, Xavier Thévenard took third at the 2016 Hardrock 100. In the following interview, Xavier talks about what challenged him during the race, what his favorite part of the course was, and how Hardrock differed from European ultras.
[For more on how this year’s Hardrock 100 went down, including additional resources, check out our 2016 Hardrock 100 results article.]
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Xavier Thévenard Post-2016 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Xavier Thevenard after his third place finish at the 2016 Hardrock 100. How are you?
Xavier Thevenard: Fine, thank you.
iRunFar: Are you maybe a little tired?
Thevenard: A little bit but I slept a lot, so it’s okay.
iRunFar: Your legs and your feet?
Thevenard: No problem with the feet, and the legs are okay, but I can’t go do the Hardrock one more time today.
iRunFar: No, time to rest. It was a good race early. You were running with Kilian [Jornet] and Jason [Schlarb]?
Thevenard: Yes, it was a very good first part of the race. It was a good pace for me, but after it was too hot. And it’s not because of the pace that I could not stay with them, but it was because of the heat.
iRunFar: For a short time, you went ahead. When did you decide to make a move?
Thevenard: It was just my pace. I didn’t want to run first, but it was just my pace.
iRunFar: Was it on the long road downhill?
Thevenard: I was first with Kilian from the beginning to Handies Peak, but not particularly on the downhill.
iRunFar: You said the heat was a problem. When did that become a factor, and what happened?
Thevenard: The problem with the heat began just before Ouray. I had a nosebleed because of the sun, but in Ouray it was okay. After, when we went up to Handies Peak, the problem increased. After, the problem was resolved when we go up to Handies Peak with the night.
iRunFar: Did you get sick? Did you have nausea, or did you vomit?
Thevenard, No, sometimes I had a little nausea, but maybe it’s also because I only eat a nature bar with sugar. With the heat, I didn’t want to eat more.
iRunFar: Once it was cool, did you want to eat other food?
Thevenard: Yes, as soon as it was cool then I started to eat normally.
iRunFar: When exactly did Kilian and Jason pass you?
Thevenard: When I left Grouse, I was first with Kilian, but I was so bad that Jason came and passed them. After, Jason and Kilian moved faster than me. I felt so bad that anyone could have passed me.
iRunFar: Your grandmother?
iRunFar: Do you think the high elevation was a problem then? Low energy then?
Thevenard: No, it wasn’t a problem with the altitude, but really with the heat.
iRunFar: Then you ran the last 60k alone?
Thevenard: No, only 10 miles alone because after I was with my pacer.
iRunFar: No other competitors?
Thevenard: Yes, alone with my pacer. Then strictly alone for the last 10 miles.
iRunFar: Able to enjoy some of the end of the race?
Thevenard: From the beginning to Ouray, it was really a pleasure. After, it was more difficult because of the heat. After, it was very difficult uphill after Cunningham.
iRunFar: Ohhh, Little Giant.
Thevenard: You know.
iRunFar: Yes. What was your favorite part of the course?
Thevenard: I was in good shape at Oscar Pass, so he made the most of the first part of the race.
iRunFar: How did you like the downhill on Grant-Swamp Pass and Virginius?
Thevenard: It’s very rare in the races, so in particular I liked this.
iRunFar: It was your first race in the United States. What were some of the biggest differences in terms of the organization and support?
Thevenard: There are many differences but the most important may be that it’s small and very friendly, very, very friendly. Every volunteer, all of the organization are here to help the runners and the different crews. In France, the rules are very strict and you must follow the rules very strictly. I think the different organizers in France could learn on the kind, friendly aspect of the race.
iRunFar: In terms of the other runners, did you spend time talking at all to Kilian or Jason?
Thevenard: Yes, I had the opportunity to talk with Kilian and Jason during the race and even with the others when I had the opportunity to. I had pleasure to discuss with them.
iRunFar: Are you happy with your performance?
Thevenard: Yes, I’m happy because my goal was to run under 24 hours, so this was successful. At this time, you always find something you can improve to be better. I’m happy with my performance.
iRunFar: Do you think we will see your name in the lottery for next year’s race?
Thevenard: I don’t know yet. Now I just want to finish my season. At the end of my season I can think about my new season. I can’t say now. Of course I’d like to come back, but I don’t know when.
iRunFar: What is the rest of your season? What is your major focus?
Thevenard: My next aim is the UTMF at the end of September.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your finish. See you later.
Thevenard: Thank you.
iRunFar: Bonus question for you. I understand that next you go to Moab. What will you do in Moab?
Thevenard: I would like to visit the west part of America and to have a look at the new landscapes and the new states of America.
iRunFar: It is my home. I hope you enjoy.