Italian Franco Collé was the 2015 winner of The Rut 50k. In this interview, Franco talks about his history with trail running, what drew him to race The Rut in Montana, what parts of the course played to his strengths, and what he thinks his chances are of winning the Skyrunner World Series ultra division this year.
Be sure to read our results article for the full race story.
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Franco Collé, 2015 The Rut 50k Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m here at the finish line of the 2015 The Rut 50k. I’m with men’s champion, Italian Franco Collé. In Italian, how does one say, “Congratulations?” Complimente?
Franco Collé: Complimente, I’d say in Italian.
iRunFar: Congratulations. You had a very strong performance.
Collé: Yeah, very hard course, a mountain course. It was the same as a European course because it was technical. Also in Italy are more technical courses. But here, the altitude is difficult for me because in Italy, we have courses that are not so high in altitude.
iRunFar: You have big mountains but not as high.
Collé: Yeah, big mountains. I live in Aosta Valley, and I have Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa, but I don’t have a course on the Mont Blanc. The courses are not so high in altitude.
iRunFar: What made you decide to come to America to race The Rut? Why this race? Why The Rut? What made you do this race?
iRunFar: Motivation for running The Rut?
Collé: Ah, motivation… because I start the [Skyrunner] World Series with Chamonix with second place. That is a dream for me because I run only in Italy before. I decided to run in Tromso and now here because the general classification is good for me because I am in second position now. It’s very good for me, the world series this year.
iRunFar: You’ve had two very interesting and different performances in the last year. You won the Tor des Géants (TDG) in your own valley. Then you went on the other side of Mont Blanc and came second place at the Mont Blanc 80k also a very competitive race. You’re getting better. You’re improving.
Collé: Yeah, it’s a different course. TDG is more long and technical. Chamonix is Chamonix, very good and a lot of people, a lot of good athletes. Here in USA, there are new athletes that I don’t know athletes here, but they are strong and good athletes. Max King, I see performances of Max King only on the internet. I decided to come here and Montana is very good. I think fifth or sixth position but not to win.
iRunFar: You didn’t expect to win.
Collé: No, I didn’t.
iRunFar: Early in the race in the first kilometers, you were a bit further back. When you got to the high terrain, that’s when you moved into first position.
Collé: Yeah, because I love mountains. I never run on the road. I love training in the mountains. I am stronger running in the mountains. Lone Peak is very good for me. The first part is not a good part for me.
iRunFar: When you got up to the top of Lone Peak, the very top of the mountain, you can see forever in every direction.
Collé: Yeah, but today I didn’t look. Yesterday or the other day, yes, but today no.
iRunFar: Just run down?
Collé: Yes, just run down.
iRunFar: You and Cristofer Clemente have been battling this year in the Skyrunner World Series ultra division, very close. You’ve beaten him, he’s beaten you, and now you’ve beaten me again.
Collé: Yes, it’s good for me, but the next race, Ultra Pirineu, maybe I can’t run a good course because 50k is not long for me.
iRunFar: You need more kilometers.
Collé: Yeah, more kilometers. Ultra Pirineu is better for me, I think—100k is better.
iRunFar: Congratulations to you on your first-place finish at The Rut 50k today. iRunFar will be at Ultra Pirineu in two weeks. We’ll look forward to seeing you there.
Collé: Okay, thank you very much. Thank you very much.