Frenchman Sebastien Chaigneau has tackled many of the world’s most famous mountain 100-mile races – UTMB, UTMF, Grand Raid Réunion. Now, he’ll have the chance to tackle one of American ultrarunning’s greatest challenges, the Hardrock 100. In the following interview, Seb talks about his preparation for Hardrock despite only getting in six days ago, how he’s looking forward to the journey, and how he’ll deal with the likely bad weather.
[Editor’s Note: We also interviewed Seb Chaigneau after his 2013 Hardrock 100 win and captured his finish on video.]
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Sebastien Chaigneau Pre-2013 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Sebastien Chaigneau before the 2013 Hardrock 100. Welcome to Colorado!
Sebastien Chaigneau: Thanks a lot.
iRF: You showed up two weeks ago to prepare for this race. How have your preparations gone?
Chaigneau: It’s very, very special for me because I received the acceptation for the bib just six days ago. It’s very short. I take the time to come in, to leave France for past two weeks in the altitude because it’s a very, very specific preparation. I think it’s good.
iRF: How have you felt with the altitude? Are you feeling better or is it still hard?
Chaigneau: No, it’s still very, very hard. Every day I climb up to 14,000 feet. It’s very complicated for the respiration. It is for everybody the same.
iRF: You’ve obviously raced a lot of hard mountain races—UTMB, Fuji, Diagonale des Fous—but have you ever raced as high?
iRF: You have?
Chaigneau: Yes, it’s a new adaptation and it’s a different race and I think it’s not a real race, it’s a run, a sort of trail with the other runners. It’s not a race. It’s a good… I think it’s a good moment and good place to make a run with the other racers.
iRF: It’s a journey for yourself and for others.
Chaigneau: If I have a possibility to run with Joe (Grant) or another runner, it’s better.
iRF: But you wouldn’t mind being the first one to kiss the rock? Would that be okay?
Chaigneau: Yes, but it’s not an objective. It’s not an objective because it’s important to run with the others.
iRF: Speaking of that, was it two years ago at UTMB—you and Kilian (Jornet), Miguel (Heras), and who else was there?
Chaigneau: Iker (Karrera).
iRF: Iker, yes.
Chaigneau: Amazing day.
iRF: At the end you all raced, but for so long you ran together. It seemed like a very special day.
Chaigneau: It’s a special day because it was a long day with bad conditions for the first part and with the snow for the summit and all of the rest of the race. It was just a trip and a run with the other runners from Salomon, The North Face, the others.
iRF: With your friends in the mountains. It could be the same here. You’ve been around long enough that you’ve seen all the storms.
Chaigneau: Yes. It’s the game. It’s the nature. It’s very important for me to think in my head to take pleasure and keep humble with the nature and my nature because I think it’s a long day. If I make a good race with a result with great preparation, it’s not an objective.
iRF: With the possible rain, I’ve seen a new jacket coming out with The North Face. It’s specifically made for UTMB. It’s lightweight, but it works. Are you bringing that with you?
Chaigneau: One hundred grams, I think.
iRF: Full waterproof?
Chaigneau: Full waterproof.
iRF: You have it here?
Chaigneau: Yes. I test it if I have a possibility to test.
iRF: Hopefully you don’t.
Chaigneau: I prefer not bad weather but cold wind because with hot weather in the mountains it’s very hot.
iRF: It could be 20 to 25 Celcius, but when you’re high, the sun is so intense.
Chaigneau: Yes, it’s more intense, and you have a lot of humidity, and the transpiration (perspiration) is more, more, more and you drink a lot. If you have not been drinking, the resulting dehydration is very bad and afterwards is bad.
iRF: This is your first time here at Hardrock. You do have a pacer with experience—a past champion. Who’s running with you?
Chaigneau: It’s a young person, a young guy, funny, I think he’ll run well.
iRF: Scott Jurek.
Chaigneau: Yes, Scott Jurek. He’s a good friend. He came to France last winter for skiing, backcountry skiing. After, the possibility to run with Scott is very, very great.
iRF: Great. Have a great time out there and best of luck. Enjoy the journey.
Chaigneau: I take the time. I take time after time.
iRF: Enjoy the views.
iRF: And then come kiss the Hardrock.