France’s Nathalie Mauclair will be in it to win it this weekend at the 2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji. Her last big race was a dominating win of the 2013 Diagonale des Fous. In the following interview, her first on iRunFar, Nathalie reflects on her successful 2013, how she prepares for mountain racing while living in a flat part of France, and her history with sports and running.
[Editor’s Note: Find out more about the full women’s and men’s fields in our UTMF race preview.]
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Nathalie Mauclair Pre-2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Nathalie Mauclair before the 2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji. How are you?
Nathalie Mauclair: I’m well.
iRunFar: It’s a beautiful day at Mount Fuji.
Mauclair: Yes, it’s very nice. It’s a good pays [‘country’ in French]. It’s the first time I come into Japan. I’m very, very fine to be here.
iRunFar: Excellent. You had a very good year in 2013 as a runner. You won Diagonale des Fous, TDS, the IAU World Trail Championship. How did you prepare for all of those races? They’re very different.
Mauclair: Yes. Very different. It goes up every time. The World Championship was 80k, and after the TDS, and after Grand Raid Réunion. So every time a little more, so I think for that it’s good for me. It’s a little difficult to start this new season with 170k at the first time. It’s whew! But why not?
iRunFar: Do you live in the Alps or where do you live in France?
Mauclair: I live near Paris. It’s flat. It’s flat. There are no mountains. So I ride bicycle two or three times per week and I run and, when I can, I go to mountains. But I work, so it’s difficult. But the last year was good, so why not this one?
iRunFar: There’s a lot of climbing in this race just like in Réunion. Have you been to the mountains this year to train?
Mauclair: A little because I have no time to go to mountains. So it was in the head. I arrived 12 days before, so I see what the terrain is.
iRunFar: What do you think of the trail?
Mauclair: There is less surprise, so I know when it goes up and goes down, so it was a good day.
iRunFar: Is it the same as you imagined—the course?
Mauclair: More difficult. I think it was difficult after Maïdo, and it was difficult after Maïdo because we thought that the race is near finish, so it’s long, long, long, and “Where is the finish line?”
iRunFar: So there will be a big challenge at the end of the day.
iRunFar: Can you tell me a little bit about your history with sports and with running? How did you come to be a runner?
Mauclair. I’ve run for four years. Before I ride mountain bikes for 10 years before. Before, not anything.
iRunFar: So nothing before, you did no sport?
Mauclair: No sport.
iRunFar: And then you did mountain-bike racing. What sort of distance? How many hours?
Mauclair: It was cross country, so 13k in competition.
iRunFar: So very fast.
Mauclair: Yes, very fast and very short. I do children, and after I run. I start with marathon and it’s a good feeling and good times. After mountain bikes and trail are a little bit the same, so I prefer the trail and marathon.
iRunFar: For the marathon, you said it was kind of fast. How fast was your marathon?
Mauclair: Uh, 2:49.
iRunFar: 2:49—that is quite fast. How did you find the trail? What brought you to trail running?
iRunFar: Why did you start?
Mauclair: I live in the country, so it’s more easy to run and I love nature. I love to see and do raid multisports. So I love when I am in the nature without city and homes. So trail is more easy to do that.
iRunFar: So you were running and you came to the trails. Why ultramarathon?
Mauclair: It was a challenge and a friend. I do a marathon.
iRunFar: What was your first ultramarathon? What event? What race?
Mauclair: I don’t understand.
iRunFar: What was your first race of ultramarathon distance—not the time but the name?
Mauclair: A little race by my house, 10k. My first marathon was Mont Saint–Michel [Marathon.] After, [Marathon des Alpes-Maritimes] Nice-Cannes. After, trail.
iRunFar: Was Diagonale des Fous your first 100-mile race? Your first 160k race?
iRunFar: TDS is 100k. Was Diagonale des Fous your longest race so far?
Mauclair: I run 100k only with TDS and Grand Réunion.
iRunFar: Wow, so you’re back to run 170k. One thing I just learned about you is that you try to travel to races with your family. Why? You have your husband and two children.
Mauclair: Yes. If they are not here, I can’t feel good in the race. For me, it’s important partage [‘sharing’ in French] with them in this moment because every week I work, I run, I’m not very disponible [‘available’ in French]. So it’s a time which we are all together and it’s découverte [‘discovery’ in French]! It’s holidays, too.
iRunFar: So they were with you on Réunion. They’re here in Japan.
Mauclair: Yes. After, in the USA with Western States. After, Grand Raid [Réunion] again.
iRunFar: Very good. Perfect. Well, good luck this weekend and thank you very much.
Mauclair: Thank you very much.