François d’Haene won’t jump fully into racing until the Transvulcania ultra in May, but he is over in New Zealand for the Tarawera Ultramarathon and a great time running with friends. In the following interview, he talks about his enjoyable exploration of New Zealand, his focus races for this year, and his upcoming trip to America for Salomon Advanced Week.
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François d’Haene Pre-2013 Tarawera Ultramarathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Francois d’Haene before the Tarawera Ultramarathon. How are you, Francois?
François d’Haene: Very good, thank you.
iRF: This is very early in your running year. You’ve been skiing and doing some running. Which race are you going to do tomorrow?
d’Haene: Tomorrow we want to share the race with Emelie, Anna, and Ricky. For us, it’s the beginning of our season and for us it’s a good opportunity to finish an incredible week and to be together. Maybe it’s an experience we don’t have to run in a mixed team and maybe because it’s a very fun travel and maybe we need to take time to have this fun.
iRF: Who is your teammate?
d’Haene: Emelie Forsberg from Sweden.
iRF: So you have Emelie and Ricky and Anna are a team? Fun. You’ve been here a week in New Zealand. What has been your favorite part of being in NZ?
d’Haene: It’s really difficult because every day we do a lot of things and discover a lot of things and do a lot of activities, too. It’s really difficult because what is beautiful is the landscape is so different than the French landscape. Sometimes it’s really tropical, sometimes it’s high mountain, sometimes it’s high mountain and tropical. There are a lot of lakes and a lot of different landscape on the South Island compared to the North Island. We had the possibility to visit the top of the South Island. Now we are in the North Island. For us it’s an incredible travel and even if it’s not the top of our season, it’s important that we can be here to do the race. Maybe for us it’s a training race, but it’s important to share this race with all of our community and our friends.
iRF: This is not a focus race for you. What races are you planning to focus on this year?
d’Haene: This year I will focus on maybe three races. The first race is Transvulcania in May. I wanted to come back to this race because last year I had a very good transition, but my training was not so good. Maybe I can imagine I can progress in my training. I know the trail. I know the elevation and temperature. Maybe I can do better. The second one in France is another stage of the SkyRunning Ultramarathon and is called the Ice Trail Tarentaise in the middle of July. Last year I won this race, but this year I think it will be more competitive because a lot of top runners will be there. For me, it’s good because it’s important to do some very competitive races. It will be a very good moment, I think. After those two races, I’ll make a little break in my season and decide how I can finish my season.
iRF: So, Transvulcania, the Ice Trail, and what is the third race?
d’Haene: It depends on my results. Maybe I go to UROC because I’d like to go to the US to… I don’t know how to say the word, but to have a “fight” with a lot of American boys because they are very fast when it’s flat. Maybe UROC this year will be a mountain race and less flat than the other year. Maybe it’s a possibility for me to make a good competition with them. A lot of people spoke to me about Run Rabbit Run, and I’d like to go to Grand Raid Reunion, too.
iRF: And they’re all in September and October.
d’Haene: September and October. It’s a very big end to the season. That’s why I’d like to make a small rest after Ice Trail, and I will see after that.
iRF: You’ll come to the US in two or three weeks, yes? What are you coming over for?
d’Haene: We’re coming over for Advanced Week. It’s a reunion for a lot of people from Salomon. We work on the apparel and other items. We try to progress in everything in shoes and clothes and equipment. It’s a very good moment for us because all the athletes and technical people are here. We can try to explain what we want, what we need… for me it’s very important to share it with them.
iRF: Where is that going to be?
d’Haene: It’s in Colorado. It will be the first time for me to go there. I looked at some pictures and for sure it will be incredible.
iRF: Great. Enjoy your trip to the US and have fun tomorrow.
d’Haene: I hope my English is better than last year.
iRF: Much better.
iRF: One more question. You’re growing grapes now and making wine with your wife. Your first year was last year. What has been your favorite type of wine to try here in New Zealand?
d’Haene: I try a lot of wine, but the best moment was when we visited the winery in Queenstown, but maybe the best wine was yesterday—it was a syrah. Not the variety of New Zealand wine, which is pinot noir. It’s a very good wine, and I try to taste a lot of wine now.
iRF: Hopefully you’ll taste a lot of wine after a fun day tomorrow.