Over the weekend, Caroline Chaverot won the 2015 The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail and set a new course record in the process. In this interview, Caroline talks about starting slow and speeding up later in the race, when and how she took over the lead, and how she maintained her pace for the rest of the race. She also talks about what she thought about the Lavaredo course, and what she’s racing next.
Read our results article to see how the rest of the race turned out.
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Caroline Chaverot, 2015 TNF Lavaredo Ultra Trail Champion, Interview
iRunFar: Ian Campbell with Caroline Chaverot, the Lavaredo Ultra Trail Champion of 2015. Congratulations, Caroline!
Caroline Chaverot: Thank you.
iRunFar: You had a fantastic race. Tell us a little bit about how you felt it was? You were going particularly fast. Did you realize you were going at course-record pace?
Chaverot: No, at the beginning, I felt quite slow. I said, Okay, I will just have… After, after the first place, Ospitale, I began to feel quite good. I knew I was fast until Cimabanche. I said, Okay, I’m quite fast. After Cimabanche, I was feeling quite bad. I was not sure how I was fast.
iRunFar: You were quite fast. Nathalie Mauclair was pushing the pace early on. So when she was at Ospitale, she just flew through the checkpoint. Then I saw you coming through and you were about three to four minutes behind. Was that your plan just to follow Nathalie, or were you just running your own race?
Chaverot: No, I was just running my own race. I know Nathalie, she always starts really fast. At La Réunion, she even started with the best men. I said, Okay, she can go fast. I can’t go. So I do my race. It’s very long for me. I’m not that much experienced. Nathalie is more experienced.
iRunFar: At the longer distances.
Chaverot: Yes, so I don’t care.
iRunFar: I think it was probably between Auronzo and–that you then took first place. Can you say when you say when you caught up with Nathalie how she was feeling or how you were feeling?
Chaverot: I was a bit surprised when I came to Auronzo. My assistants told me she was just one minute. I continued to run, and then I saw her. I say, Okay, it’s a 10k downhill. I hope it’s pretty technical. So I tried to pass her before the pass, and in the downhill I went really fast because I wanted to lengthen the distance.
iRunFar: After you come down you come to a fairly flat section where you can…
Chaverot: This is my first time. I hadn’t seen the course. It was very flat for six kilometers and my legs were getting really hard. After, we went uphill and I felt really slow. I was surprised Nathalie didn’t come and didn’t come, but maybe everybody felt that way.
iRunFar: You then just stretched your lead further and further. At what point in the race did you realize you were running at a faster pace than the course record. Was that on your mind as well?
Chaverot: No, it was a bit strange because in this very long uphill by Malga Travenanzes, I felt really bad. I wanted to vomit. My head was turning. I said, Okay, I have already won a longer race, Transgrancanaria, maybe I can’t do a 14-hour race. I will wait and see. Suddenly, I felt good again. No reason for that. After, I was really happy because in the downhill, my legs felt good. I was a bit afraid because I was afraid that my legs wouldn’t be that good in the technical downhill at the end of the race. I felt really good. I say, Oh, I’m fast in this downhill.
iRunFar: You were really going. You looked really smooth when you were running. Then describe the feeling coming into Cortina.
Chaverot: I wanted to cry. I was so exhausted. I thought we would come direct into Cortina, but we come in a big circle toward Cortina. I couldn’t see the end. I was waiting until I could. Then I say, Okay, I’ve won. It’s great and in a good time. I was really, really happy. Everyone cheering me—that was nice.
iRunFar: It looks fantastic coming down the finish line. You looked like you were enjoying it a lot.
Chaverot: Yes. I was very happy.
iRunFar: And the fans were wishing you very well.
Chaverot: Yes, Italian people are great.
iRunFar: They are very good here. They really are superb. They welcome you and say congratulations. They understand ultra-trail runners as well. The actual course, Lavaredo, how would you rate it compared to, say, Transgrancanaria?
Chaverot: There is also a lot of tracks, quite boring tracks, but there are also technical and I like the fact that it’s technical at the end. The end is gorgeous, so even if you are tired, you don’t feel too tired because it’s so gorgeous.
iRunFar: You have spectacular scenery to enjoy.
Chaverot: Yes, and the paths are really firm. I like this course. I was really surprised because I was not sure how I would like it that much, but I really liked it.
iRunFar: You were telling me earlier that you actually ran a lot of the course before, literally the days before.
Chaverot: Yes, I had to work until Tuesday noon, so we traveled Tuesday. I was a bit frustrated not to know the course.
iRunFar: You knew nothing about the course at all?
Chaverot: No, I decided to run on the course, and I ran on the wrong path, but anyway… I ran a little bit too much and I was worried I wouldn’t be in good shape, but…
iRunFar: You were in superb shape. So what do you have for the rest of the year? What’s your next target?
Chaverot: In three weeks there is the Eiger Ultra Trail. I want to do it because it’s in Switzerland, and I am also Swiss. That’s why I know this place. I really want to discover. I hope I will have recovered because it’s a hard course. It’s a very steep and lots…
iRunFar: So what you’re saying is you tend to like the hard, technical courses instead of the pure running courses?
Chaverot: Yes. I like the running in the mountains with technical parts. After, I do UTMB, but today I thought, Ah, I’m not sure I can do UTMB. It’s so long.
iRunFar: After the performance you’ve done today, it’s not much more. It’s only 30 or 40k?
Chaverot: Maybe I start very quiet at UTMB.
iRunFar: Like you did today.
Chaverot: More quiet.
iRunFar: Quiet and then gradually move in. What’s a typical training week for you because I know you work? How did you fit in your training to accomplish something like this?
Chaverot: It’s complicated because I work, and I have three children who are pretty young. I want to spend time with them. In my family, running is not the center of the family life. In the weekend I try to do very short training to be able to be free all day with my kids. I mostly run at noon at work. Sometimes if I have free days, I try to do running and cycling. I cycle a lot. It helps me so much.
iRunFar: You find that’s good cross training?
Chaverot: Yes, it’s really good, and for recovery. After the [IAU Trail] World Championships, I biked every day because I had a week off. This, I think Monday I will bike and Tuesday also. I will bike all week so I can recover.
iRunFar: You find it’s faster recovery?
Chaverot: Yes. I work a lot on downhill. For me it’s very important to work on technical downhill skills. I’m very lucky because just in my home and near my work, there are really technical trails. So I have them to work on.
iRunFar: So you have them on your doorstep which is great.
Chaverot: I have to improve. When Núria Picas passed me at Transgrancanaria, I was amazed at how she ran downhill. I say, Okay, I have more improvement to do.
iRunFar: I think on today’s performance, there are quite a few people who are amazed with you and how fast you were going as well.
Chaverot: I was happy. I was happy.
iRunFar: Yeah, you should be. Congratulations. Thank you for a very good… it was spectacular to see you racing out there. Congratulations for beating what was a tough course record and a first place. It was Rory Bosio.
Chaverot: Yes, it was Rory Bosio who is my idol.
iRunFar: Also, Rory beat the course record by 90 minutes last year. You’ve now brought that down further by another 49 minutes. It’s fantastic. You’ve set the bar really high.
Chaverot: Yeah, I never thought I could do as well or better than Rory Bosio.
iRunFar: You have. So congratulations.
Chaverot: Sorry for my poor English. I’m really tired after the race.