Mélanie Rousset managed to fly under our radar heading into the 2017 Transgrancanaria, but we surely know her after her third-place finish at the race. In the following interview, Mélanie talks about how her race went, what she enjoys about trail running and how that’s changing, and what’s her history with running.
Read our Transgrancanaria results article to find out what else happened at this year’s race!
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Mélanie Rousset Post-2017 Transgrancanaria Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Mélanie Rousset after her great third-place finish after Transgrancanaria 2017. How are you?
Mélanie Rousset: I feel okay. The legs are a bit heavy, but it’s okay.
iRunFar: Are you happy with your performance yesterday?
Rousset: Yes, very much. Yes, I’m very happy.
iRunFar: You were third. Could you have expected such a strong position?
Rousset: No, not at all. It’s a surprise.
iRunFar: During the race, did you know you were in a good position? How did the battle happen? How was the fight for the podium?
Rousset: I didn’t really know until quite far how many girls there were in front. I knew there was Juliette [Blanchet] and Andrea [Huser] behind me, because I know them by view. Afterwards, we were together very often—pass, pass, pass. After a while I knew we were two, three, four ladies.
iRunFar: Was that fun having them together and working and fighting, or was it stressful?
Rousset: No, it’s fun. It’s good to be with a few girls. I was thinking usually we run with boys, and here it was nice to be three girls together going fast.
iRunFar: Did you talk at all during the race?
Rousset: Not really, it was quite hushed. We didn’t say anything, just “Where are you from?”
iRunFar: How did your own race play out? Did you feel good early in the race, or did you feel better late in the race?
Rousset: In the beginning I felt sleepy. Then, I woke up and the same for the legs—in the beginning they were sleepy, and then they woke up. Once they woke up, it was good. Just in the end, the last 20k were very difficult for me.
iRunFar: Because all the running or just because you were tired?
Rousset: Because I think I went too fast in the last descent just before you reach the last aid station. Then, I had no more muscles in my quadriceps. I had to tell me in my head that I could do it, and I just followed the other guys who were there running. It was so difficult.
iRunFar: Even to the end there was a good fight for position. When did you feel comfortable you may be on the podium?
Rousset: When I passed the line—that’s why I was running, running, because I didn’t know who was in front or behind, so I just do my best.
iRunFar: In front was Andrea Huser, who, I’m sure you know, had such a strong season last year. Is that exciting to be so close to such a strong runner?
Rousset: Yes, especially because I think she’s a good woman. I like her. It was very nice to meet her during the race. I enjoyed it a lot.
iRunFar: This is our first time to talk, so I’d love to get to know you a little better. Where are you from?
Rousset: From France.
iRunFar: And from Corsica?
Rousset: I’ve been in Corsica for a few years, and now I live in the Alps near Albertville, yes, in Arêches, where you know about the Pierra Menta I live there.
iRunFar: It’s in a few weeks, yes? Next week?
Rousset: Yes. I will participate. Andrea, too, will participate.
iRunFar: Are you following her plan to race every weekend?
Rousset: No, it just falls like this this time.
iRunFar: Maybe not so hard on the legs—Pierra Menta?
Rousset: I think it will be okay. It’s good training.
iRunFar: Do you ski much in the winter, or do you focus on running?
Rousset: No, I prefer skiing when there is snow.
iRunFar: How do you prepare for this [Transgrancanaria]? This is a long race with a lot of climbing and descending. How do you prepare in the winter when you’re also skiing?
Rousset: The preparation is within the ski training. I do some races in skiing, as well. Two weeks ago, I went to a race in the south of France, and this was a good thing to do. Otherwise, I think it would have been worse.
iRunFar: Which race was that?
Rousset: It was [Trail de la] Galinette.
iRunFar: Andrea Huser was there.
Rousset: Yes, there was Juliette, Andrea.
iRunFar: That’s a very strong field for a race in February, but it prepared you well.
Rousset: Yes, that’s true. Yes, I think everybody went there to get prepared.
iRunFar: Now will you switch back to a skiing season? Will you ski more races?
Rousset: Yes, I will go to one in three weeks that is high altitude, but I can’t remember the name.
iRunFar: How long have you been a runner? I looked at some results, and you’ve been running ultramarathons for some years.
Rousset: I started running, really, my first dorsal was in 2010 in Corsica. They have quite the small races there.
iRunFar: Have you been an athlete for a long time?
Rousset: No, I didn’t do any competition before that, just sport like this.
iRunFar: You very quickly moved to ultramarathons, yes?
Rousset: Yes, because in fact I enjoy being outside for a long time, so I like it.
iRunFar: Is that your primary motivation—being outside?
Rousset: Yes, it’s just to discover a landscape and be out. I enjoy being out in the mountains.
iRunFar: You must also like to compete a little. You’ve run CCC, Diagonale des Fous.
Rousset: Before that, I didn’t like it. Now, it’s different things in the race. It’s another fun and something different.
iRunFar: So, you can enjoy both? You can fight for a position and also look around and enjoy the beauty?
Rousset: Yes. Yes, that’s the aim.
iRunFar: What would you consider your best race or your best performance before this?
Rousset: I was glad with La Réunion last year.
iRunFar: You were fourth position? Very strong!
Rousset: Yes. Yes, I was very glad with that. It’s a very good atmosphere there.
iRunFar: You’ve run at La Réunion other years, yes?
Rousset: Yes, two times before this one.
iRunFar: That is probably a race you do not run with women very much. You run with men most of the time?
Rousset: Yes, that’s true. And there we talk a lot during the race. You meet people and talk about private things.
iRunFar: Because it is so long—your effort, your level is more easy?
Rousset: Yes, you go less quick, and you need to talk otherwise you’ll sleep or it would be boring.
iRunFar: What did you enjoy about this race?
Rousset: This one was different because I think I ran for running for the first time. I saw a little bit of the mountains, but it was not for sightseeing.
iRunFar: Was it a good thing or a bad thing?
Rousset: A good thing for the mind because I did the best I could, so it’s good.
iRunFar: What running races do you plan to run this year?
Rousset: The Marathon des Sables is the biggest, and then I don’t really know.
iRunFar: You maybe have to do some preparation for that, some training?
Rousset: For the Marathon des Sables? Yes, on the training, the most difficult thing will be to make the bag with the stuff. It’s very difficult.
iRunFar: I’ve run it. I suggest, take less. Take very few things. Cut things down. It adds up. The less you can carry, the happier you’ll be.
Rousset: Yes, that’s my problem. Probably, yes.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your race here. Good luck at Marathon des Sables.
Rousset: Thank you very much. Thanks for talking.