France’s Anne-Lise Rousset crossed the line in second place at the 2016 Transvulcania Ultramarathon overcome with emotion. In this interview, Anne-Lise talks about the source of that emotion, how she got started in trail ultrarunning, and her style of going out hard in races.
Check out our results article for the full race story.
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Anne-Lise Rousset Post-2016 Transvulcania Ultramarathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m here at the finish line of the 2016 Transvulcania Ultramarathon. I’m with women’s second-place finisher from France, Anne-Lise Rousset. Congratulations, Anne-Lise!
Anne-Lise Rousset: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: It’s the evening after you’ve just had probably the best results of your ultra-trail career. How are you feeling right now?
Rousset: I’m very happy. I’m very surprised by my result. I don’t think I can do this result. It’s very, very good.
iRunFar: When you crossed the finish today, you were very emotional. There was happiness. There were some tears of presumed happiness on your face. What was going through your head?
Rousset: Transvulcania is exceptional by the public, so when you arrive at the finish of this race, it’s so beautiful that all the people that come to you to give you “five,” it’s really emotional. I think of all the people who come and it makes me cry.
iRunFar: It just overwhelmed you.
Rousset: Yeah, and I was very tired.
iRunFar: So we’ve been watching you run for a couple of years now, but this is the first time we’ve interviewed you. I’d love to share with our fans a little bit of background about you. When did you get into the sport?
Rousset: I did trail since 2010.
iRunFar: 2010 you started ultra-trail?
Rousset: Not really, I did triathlons when I was younger, but I don’t do sports in combination. I did horse riding when I was young. It’s not really a sport.
iRunFar: 2010, you started competing?
Rousset: Yes, but I did races near home, all small races. I did races longer and with stronger people. It’s why I am in Transvulcania today.
iRunFar: How did you come into running the longer distance trail races—the things that go on like today for 8-9 hours?
Rousset: I started with the marathon (42k), and, then, I started my first longer race near Les Templiers. It’s the Templiers before Les Templiers. It’s 80k. I won together with my friend, so it was a very nice experience. Then, I did the CCC the next year after, but I think it’s too long for me. Maybe next year.
iRunFar: You had a lot of success in 2015. I just learned that you come from the region where Les Templiers happens. Last year, you took third at Les Templiers. What’s it like to be increasing your performance and to, in that case, get to have done so on your home terrain or home region?
Rousset: I think it was “easier” at Les Templiers, because I know the race, and I train a lot there. So it’s easier to perform well at this race, but it’s very difficult because there are a lot of people on this race, but it was very nice, too.
iRunFar: I want to ask you about how Transvulcania went today. You are gaining a reputation for going out quickly at the front of the race. Is that intentional or just how you feel at the moment?
Rousset: I think I feel well, and I’m very excited at the start of the race, so I start faster. A lot of people say it’s not a good thing, but I think now I’ve not the endurance, so I had to start faster to perform, I think. Yes, it’s my “specialty.”
iRunFar: So your theory was that you were going to use your leg speed to gain time on people to make up for what you perceive as your deficit in endurance?
Rousset: I think so, yes. It’s not really a strategy.
iRunFar: Okay, but today it worked. You went out really fast and there were a couple other girls went out fast also. Some slowed down. Some stayed fast. One of those who stayed fast was you. Did you feel at some point in the race that you were going to have a good day and it just was coming together for you?
Rousset: Yes, I think I was very well for today. My training was good and specific for today. I don’t have lots of training for the two weeks before the race for rest before the race which I think is a good strategy.
iRunFar: You did rest for two weeks before the race?
iRunFar: When they said, “Go,” today and you went running from the lighthouse, did you feel good straight away?
iRunFar: Did you have any low points or particular times where you weren’t feeling quite as good?
Rousset: I think I need to work on endurance. I’m not strong when I go up like the first part of the race. I think I have to work on the uphill. Where I train, I don’t have a lot of elevation. It’s really flat. I don’t have lots of steeps.
iRunFar: It’s undulating.
Rousset: I have to train for the longer climbs.
iRunFar: Train for the longer climbs, is that what you’re saying, like the ones that go on for a long time?
iRunFar: Looking at what happened today… so 2015 feels like your results were elevated last year from previous years. Now this race, at the beginning of 2016, is another elevation.
Rousset: I hope.
iRunFar: What does it make you think about for the rest of the season? What are some of your objectives now that this has happened?
Rousset: The last objective, the big objective, will be the World Championship in Portugal. I don’t presume to be a world champion, but I hope I could be. It would be quite nice.
iRunFar: So the Trail World Championships are in October. Do you have any other training races or adventures planned?
Rousset: Yeah, I will do a race, the Pierra Menta été. It’s a three-day, so we have 30k by day. Then, I will do the French Trail Championships in September.
iRunFar: Where’s that?
Rousset: In the Southern Alps, Mercantour, and then the World Championships. I don’t have lots of races—just a few objectives.
iRunFar: Congratulations to you. It was a pleasure to watch you from start to finish look strong, but also strong and happy, and then to see how jubilant you were at the finish line. It’s nice to see somebody just let the emotion out.
Rousset: Thank you very much. Thank you.
Rousset: Thank you very much.