France’s Adeline Roche comes to trail running and her win of the 2017 Trail World Championships with a strong road-running pedigree. After taking third at the French Trail National Championships last year, she set her sights on qualifying for and competing for Team France at the Trail World Championships–which she did in commanding fashion. In our first interview with Adeline, watch her talk about her background in road running, how her race played out both with the course and among her competition, and how she plans to continue competing on both on roads and trails.
For more on what happened at the race, check out our 2017 Trail World Championships results article, which includes links to additional post-race interviews.
Adeline Roche, 2017 Trail World Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and we’re here in Badia Prataglia, Italy. It’s the afternoon after the 2017 Trail World Championships. I’m with the women’s Trail World Champion of France, Adeline Roche. Nice to meet you.
Adeline Roche: Nice to meet you.
iRunFar: Congratulations! You had a heck of a run today. How do you feel?
Roche: Thank you very much. I feel ok, just fine. Just a problem with my stomach during the race. So, the race was a little difficult, and the pleasure is less.
iRunFar: It makes it less fun if you don’t feel so good.
Roche: Yes, but I am very happy because I won, so excellent, and my friend finished second, and we won with the team.
iRunFar: By a very large margin—total France dominance in the women’s race today and men’s too.
Roche: Yes, excellent.
iRunFar: Can you talk a bit about your background with running because this is iRunFar’s first time watching you race? Are you a newly converted trail runner from road running? Are you recently racing on the trails?
Roche: Yes, exactly. Before, I ran on the road in marathons.
iRunFar: You have some pretty fast half marathon and marathon PRs. I think you’re a 2:38 marathoner?
Roche: Yes, exactly.
iRunFar: Did you finish with your road running career and switch to the trails, or are you going to go back and race roads, too?
Roche: No, I’m going back in the road, for sure, in the future.
iRunFar: When did you race your first trail race?
Roche: Not really trail before, but the race is in landscape. My first trail maybe probably the French Trail National Championships in 2015 in Le Saucy [at Trails du Sancy Mont-Dore.]
iRunFar: When you did your first trail, did you like it? Were you an easy convert to become a trail runner?
Roche: I like the trail because I like to discover the landscape and different worlds or different countries. I like to discover the world.
iRunFar: Earlier this year, you raced Trail du Ventoux which was the qualifier for the French team. Did you race that because you were motivated to join the French Team?
Roche: Yes, I won the Ventoux.
iRunFar: By a lot—it wasn’t even close.
Roche: It was a beautiful race, beautiful trail.
iRunFar: Did you enter that race because you wanted to qualify for the team?
Roche: Yes, it is the world championships and it was my objective since last September.
iRunFar: You saw the race happen and thought that you wanted to…?
Roche: Yes, after the French championships in [Saucy,] it was my objective.
iRunFar: So when you raced Trail du Ventoux and won by so much and joined the team, did you grow in confidence in your ability to race the trails?
Roche: Yes, the French team presenter is fantastic. There is a big atmosphere. It’s gorgeous. All the people are excellent, and the atmosphere is very, very excellent. I’m very thankful for all people, the medical and technical staff, because I think my victory is a victory of all the team.
iRunFar: It’s a group effort.
iRunFar: This course is interesting in that there are some sections that are really fast—you have to run fast—and then there are some brief but steep ups and brief but steep downs. Did you feel different parts of the course were better for you or worse?
Roche: In fact the profile of this race was perfect for me because of the distance of 50k is okay for me, and it’s not too long. The profile was perfect. The hills were good. My stomach was difficult during the downs. But, when you have a “France” uniform…
iRunFar: You just keep going.
Roche: Exactly. I give it all.
iRunFar: You were by yourself at the front of the race for a long part in the middle, by yourself with only men around you. Was it hard to keep motivated by yourself? When were you joined by Amandine [Ferrato]?
Roche: Yes, in fact in the beginning of the race it was difficult because I had an American…
iRunFar: Ladia [Albertson-Junkans], I think.
Roche: Sure, and a Hollandaise, [Ragna Debats,] and so the rhythm was very, very fast. It’s difficult to know what is the best solution. It’s difficult at the beginning to know. After, I saw Amandine, which was excellent because she’s my friend which was perfect for the French team. After, it’s difficult to fight with her because she’s my friend and with my stomach. It was difficult for this.
iRunFar: You and Amandine crossed the finish line basically a second or a second and a half from each other. How did you decide who was going to win? Did you sprint it out?
Roche: I think it was difficult with Amandine to win because we are friends. It’s difficult to win.
iRunFar: At the end did you agree to cross the line with you in first and her second? Did you sprint down? How was that decided?
Roche: Yes, I sprint because I give all for myself. You must run always fast for the team and to win with the team, so yes, I give the maximum.
iRunFar: So in the last seconds you were thinking about the team in running your hardest. You’re the Trail World Champion. What are you going to do now?
Roche: Yes. It’s perfect. It’s a good experience just to say thank you for my family and my boyfriend and my coach, Philippe Propage, and all the team, the French, yes, and all the runners who were here.
iRunFar: last question for you—do you have any other trail races on your calendar this year? Will you race any other trail races this year?
Roche: In the future? Yes, I think so. My next race will be the European Mountain Running Championships.
iRunFar: Then I suppose we will see you defending your title at the Trail World Championships next spring?
Roche: Yes, but the distance is a bit longer, so I will…
iRunFar: It’s quite long, isn’t it? You’ll have to practice the longer distances.
Roche: Yes, we will look after this.
iRunFar: Congratulations to you on your win at the 2017 Trail World Championships.
Roche: Thank you and thank you very much for the interview.
iRunFar: We look forward to seeing you race again.
Roche: Thank you.