Sylvain Court has won and placed third the past two years at the Trail World Championships. He returns to this year’s championships in Italy with hopes of another podium. In the following interview, Sylvain talks about how he injured himself during last year’s world championships, what his road back from injury looked like, how he thinks the 50k race suits him, and what he thinks of this year’s French team.
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Sylvain Court before the 2017 Trail World Championships. How are you, Sylvain?
Sylvain Court: I am fine. I am fine. Very good.
iRunFar: You are back at the World Championships again. Two years ago, you were the world champion. Last year you were in third position. How do you feel going into this year’s race?
Court: I feel very good. My objective is a new podium. Why not?
iRunFar: Last year the world championships, you finished third, but you had a bad injury with your ankle. How were you able to push through that to finish?
Court: I finish with the mental and for my French team. It’s very important to finish for the team rank and the world title for the French team.
iRunFar: That was for the team.
Court: For the team, yes.
iRunFar: I understand after the race you had to take a long time off from training?
Court: Yes, two months for nothing for training.
iRunFar: No cycling or skiing?
Court: Only trekking, light trekking in the mountains.
iRunFar: For ski?
Court: Skiing, no, just for my start of training Nordic skiing. This year, it’s my first year off of ski-mountaineering.
iRunFar: You started your training back at the beginning of this year in January?
Court: Yes, I started the training and skiing in January. I arrived in Trail du Ventoux with little form.
iRunFar: You weren’t in your best fitness for Trail du Ventoux, a very important race in France, in March which for many of your teammates was their selection race.
Court: First date in France in trail—a lot of runners of high levels. It was important for me to see where I am.
iRunFar: You finished seventh position there which is maybe not as strong… you beat many of those people at the World Championships in October. Has your fitness improved? Has your level improved since Ventoux?
Court: Trail du Ventoux was a little level. Now, I’m feeling very good. I’m feeling the same fitness of the other World Championships in Annecy. In Annecy, I felt good.
iRunFar: We’ve seen you run very strong for more or less 80k, the last two World Championships. How do you feel the shorter distance is for you? Maybe the race will be won in a little over four hours. Are you strong in that shorter ultramarathon?
Court: My preferred distance is 80k, but I won the two French titles for championships in short distances of 50-60k. I know this distance.
iRunFar: You’re not at a disadvantage at a 50k race? You feel comfortable? You feel as strong in a race of 50k as 80k almost?
Court: I prefer 80k, but I feel good in a 50-60k.
iRunFar: The French men’s team has won the last two years at the World Championships in very dominating fashion. Do you think the French men can win again?
Court: The objective is the new gold medal for the French team. We have a strong team this year with the new runners especially for short track—Cedric Fleureton.
iRunFar: He has been the three-time champion in short trail.
Court: Yes. Emmanuel David, Romain Maillard, Nico Martin…
iRunFar: We are more familiar with Nico Martin and Ludovic Pommeret and Benoît Cori, because they’ve run well at longer distances, but some of the new French team members you say are very strong at the short.
Court: The new French runners are strong as well.
iRunFar: Best of luck to you and the entire French team. Bonne chance.
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