Nathalie Mauclair experienced racing in the U.S. for the first time during her third-place run at the 2014 Western States 100. In this interview, Nathalie talks about her conservative start, what she’s learned about racing 100 milers, where else she’s racing this year, and the differences she sees between European and U.S. races.
Be sure to check out our results article for the whole race story including links to the rest of iRunFar’s post-race coverage.
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Nathalie Mauclair Post-2014 Western States 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Nathalie Mauclair after her third-place finish yesterday at the 2014 Western States 100. Congratulations, Nathalie.
Nathalie Mauclair: Thanks!
iRunFar: The last time we saw each other after the race you’d run Mount Fuji, and you were very aggressive there, very fast at the start.
iRunFar: You followed a different plan here.
Mauclair: Yes. I think it’s the first time I start a race so slowly. I read a lot everybody say to me, “Start slow. Start slow.” So I start slow. I was powerhiking slowly. After, I can run so fast, but I have a problem with my left leg.
iRunFar: The lower leg?
Mauclair: Yes, so the finish was a little difficult, but…
iRunFar: Yes, I heard that at one of the checkpoints or aid stations someone was massaging your leg for a long time, yes?
Mauclair: No, just one time I stop, but I prefer to run.
iRunFar: You just want to finish?
iRunFar: What was your favorite part of running Western States?
Mauclair: After the monument when we go down and we have the mountains—so beautiful. At the monument I turned around to see the sunrise. It was so beautiful.
iRunFar: Over Lake Tahoe?
iRunFar: What a great moment. You got a lot of good advice for this race—look back at the start for the lake, start slow. When preparing for this race, what other lessons did you learn?
Mauclair: It’s only my second 100 mile I finished. So I think I have to learn enough. Every time I change my shoes is good, I think it’s good. I be careful with food, and here it’s easy as there is a lot of aid stations. We don’t have the backpack. It’s good conditions to make a 100-mile race.
iRunFar: I don’t remember, were you carrying water when you were running?
Mauclair: Only a bottle (hand), and I drink at the aid stations.
iRunFar: Did you carry a little bit of food with you on the course?
Mauclair: Yes, in my… [demos carrying in bra].
iRunFar: Gel in your bra?
iRunFar: Very simple. You’re running American-style.
Mauclair: I like that. My coach said to me, “Start slowly. Follow. You’ll have smiles at the end.” She was right.
iRunFar: She was right. You were smiling all day.
iRunFar: You were not smiling all day at Mount Fuji.
iRunFar: Do you think you have found a new style of running or racing?
Mauclair: Yes. It will be better for my legs and my body.
iRunFar: And your smile.
Mauclair: And my head.
iRunFar: Do you have any major races planned for this summer?
Mauclair: I do TdS at the end of August. I return to the Grand Raid de la Reunion.
iRunFar: Going back to La Réunion—Diagonale des Fous.
Mauclair: Yes. [makes ‘crazy’ sign]
iRunFar: Crazy, yes. Last year when you ran Diagonale des Fous, were you also very fast at the beginning? Did you run very hard at the beginning of Réunion?
Mauclair: Yes, I think the last years I was… I said I was hiking, but I start to go fast. So with this experience, I know that I can do that now. No pressure. So, I think it will be better, so at the end I can run more long time which is difficult.
iRunFar: How are you enjoying your trip to the United States?
Mauclair: Maybe the next years?
iRunFar: No, but have you enjoyed your time here in the U.S., in California?
Mauclair: Yes, yes, yes. It’s beautiful and the life is easy. The people are sympatico (nice), and the sun is shining every day.
iRunFar: It must feel very different. At races like TdS or at races like UTMF, there are so many people.
iRunFar: This is one of our most important races.
Mauclair: Yes, less people.
iRunFar: How does it feel?
Mauclair: For me, there is no real difference because I’m always near the front of the race, so everybody is behind me.
iRunFar: You’re just running your race.
Mauclair: Yes. But there are a lot of females in California or USA. In France, there are 100 females for 400 males. In France, little (few) females.
iRunFar: Maybe, not quite, but maybe UTMB has 200, I don’t know. The percentage of women here is much higher.
Mauclair: Right, yes, yes.
iRunFar: How do you think that can change in France or in Europe? How can we get more women running in Europe?
Mauclair: The mind of the women and the men. It’s not easy to make women run and take time for her between the house and there is a lot of… a lot of…
iRunFar: Maybe more tradition?
iRunFar: But you have found time to enjoy running and the mountains. Congratulations on a great run.
Mauclair: Thanks a lot. Thanks.
iRunFar: Thank you.