France’s Thomas Lorblanchet will start as one of many favorites in the stacked 2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji men’s race this Friday. In the following interview, Thomas talks about his recovery from injury in 2013, his winter training in preparation for UTMF, and his first impression of Mount Fuji itself.
[Editor’s Note: Find out more about the full women’s and men’s fields in our UTMF race preview.]
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Thomas Lorblanchet Pre-2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Thomas Lorblanchet before the 2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji. How are you?
Thomas Lorblanchet: Fine. Fine. Good traveling. Little time. Maybe okay for Friday.
iRunFar: You’ve just arrived.
iRunFar: This minute.
iRunFar: How has your training gone this winter? Last year you ran well. You won Templiers.
Lorblanchet: Yes. Last year I didn’t run ultras because I had an injury with my legs. So now it’s good for me and it’s my first ultra for this year. My training during this winter was probably good, but we will see Friday morning.
iRunFar: Do you train only running or do you also train with skiing?
Lorblanchet: Running and also Nordic skiing and alpine skiing because in France we are very lucky because we can run and ski easy.
iRunFar: Were you able to get in time training in the mountains? Parts of this course are very steep for running and hiking. Were you able to train in difficult terrain running?
Lorblanchet: No difficult to train better. For UTMF, it’s the first race of the season but very, very steep. This winter I tried to train with this in my mind.
iRunFar: There’s also a lot of road at Fuji. Did you train on some of the road?
Lorblanchet: Yes, not very long, but I like running so for me it’s not very much a problem to run fast or run more fast.
iRunFar: Have you been to Japan before?
Lorblanchet: Never. This is my first time and I don’t know Japan culture. So for me it’s very, very good experience, and I want to run in UTMF for that.
iRunFar: And you have now seen Mount Fuji.
iRunFar: Very exciting and very inspiring?
Lorblanchet: Yes, very exciting and it’s the first time that the race will be great because it’s the third edition but this is the first time that the leaders and the great runners are here.
iRunFar: Yes, there were some good runners here last year, but this year the level of competition is much higher. It is very early in the season. It’s your first ultra. It’s 100 miles. It’s great competition. You’ve prepared your body. How do you prepare your mind?
Lorblanchet: During each training, you think, when you run, you think for this race, but after this race there is another and another. During each training, I prepare my mind. After UTMF, I take a little rest but I think to Western States.
iRunFar: Yes? Excellent. We’ll see you again this season. Since the last time we talked on camera, you have changed teams. You are now running for Asics.
Lorblanchet: Yes. It’s different. I began trail running in 2000 and I want to change to discover another spirit and another team. So I want to change this last year. The team is different, but for me it’s a good choice.
iRunFar: One difference I’ve seen with the Asics team in France is you have a coach?
Lorblanchet: It’s not really a coach. It’s a boss of logistics. I train with my own coach, but during the travel there is a boss of logistics.
iRunFar: I know that Asics has some trail shoes. This course can be very muddy and very slick. What shoes will you wear?
Lorblanchet: I run with Fuji Elite. It’s not a barefoot, but it’s a dynamic shoe. For me, I like dynamic shoes. In Asics Fuji Elite, it’s a better choice.
iRunFar: Good luck this weekend and enjoy.
Lorblanchet: Thank you, Bryon.