Nathalie Mauclair is one of the women’s favorites going into the CCC, the 101-kilometer race that’s part of the UTMB festival of events. In this interview, Nathalie talks about how she feels racing a shorter distance here this year, her diverse 2017 of racing so far, how her recovery has gone since the Hardrock 100 in July, and her strategy going into the race.
Nathalie Mauclair Pre-CCC Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Nathalie Mauclair before the 2017 CCC. How are you, Nathalie?
Nathalie Mauclair: I’m fine. I’m happy to see you here.
iRunFar: You’ve already had quite a good season with second at Marathon des Sables, fifth at the [IAU Trail] World Championships, third at Hardrock. How are you feeling?
Mauclair: I feel well. I’m happy to do a ‘short’ race. It’s a good distance for me after the Hardrock.
iRunFar: Is that the reason you’ll run the CCC and not UTMB?
Mauclair: Yes, I think it’s difficult to do two ultra trails with only one month between each, so, I prefer to do a short distance. I have done TDS and UTMB, so I don’t know CCC.
iRunFar: You have a victory at both. Maybe you’ll have a victory at CCC? Next year you could go shorter and do the OCC?
Mauclair: No, it’s too short. So, I’ll do the race, and we’ll see after.
iRunFar: You know the CCC course well because you’ve run most of the trails, yes?
Mauclair: Yes, and it’s the finish of UTMB. So all the other times I’ve been tired when I do the finish, so I hope I will take more pleasure and run faster.
iRunFar: A new perspective—you’ll run that fresh, and your family will be there?
Mauclair: Yes, of course. They will be there at Champex, Triente, and Vallorcine, and the finish.
iRunFar: Do you think the arrival will feel the same? At UTMB, there are so many people at the finish. Do you think it will have the same people?
Mauclair: I think there will be less people because ‘the race’ is UTMB—’The UTMB.’ But I’m happy to do this distance. I think the important thing is to take pleasure of the short and the long and to appreciate the ambiance.
iRunFar: Not so much running at night?
Mauclair: No, and it’s good. I like that, but this time I prefer to run during the day.
iRunFar: Now that you’re in Chamonix, is there a little part of you that wishes you were running UTMB? Do you have a small desire to run UTMB now that you’re in Chamonix?
Mauclair: Not yet. I take a lot of pleasure in 2015 when I won it. I’m afraid to take less pleasure now. I think time must pass and maybe I will run it after, but now…
iRunFar: You were intentional in wanting to preserve and keep the memory of coming to the finish first at UTMB.
Mauclair: Yes. Yes, exactly.
iRunFar: I think Ludovic [Pommeret] is maybe doing the same thing.
Mauclair: Yes, maybe. Yes, it was so wonderful. Everybody… so many people… I don’t imagine winning this race. It was incredible for me, and all these people, it was very wonderful. Usually, I have goosebumps when I talk about that. I’m not ready to do it another time.
iRunFar: When you think of that, do you see your daughter next to you?
iRunFar: That picture is just in my mind still.
Mauclair: Yes, and all these people… it was very wonderful.
iRunFar: Now, you did run Hardrock 100 in July not so long ago. How is your recovery?
Mauclair: I think it’s good. My legs are good. My mind is good. I have a little matter in my back, but I think it will be good for 100k.
iRunFar: I think at the world championships it was your hamstring?
Mauclair: Yes, but after when I’m on the run, it’s good.
iRunFar: Perfect. Do you feel strong?
Mauclair: Yes, I did a little mountain. I hope it will be good.
iRunFar: Now, the season is long. You were already in good fitness for Marathon des Sables. Then yo had world champs and Hardrock. How do you still have the motivation to race CCC?
Mauclair: I do be careful for the recuperation. After the Hardrock, I didn’t run for two weeks. After, I took a block of preparation. I took the time to sleep and massage and make sure my body was well to run again.
iRunFar: When did you stop training hard before CCC? When did you start to relax?
Mauclair: Last week.
iRunFar: Two weeks of…?
Mauclair: Yes, I ran a little on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, and now, just a little.
iRunFar: What is special about the mountains here? Why do you run these races every year whether it’s UTMB, CCC, or TDS?
Mauclair: I think it’s the biggest trail race in France. There are many, many, but each year there are always better runners on the race of UTMB. There is a lot of spectators. It’s interesting for runners and for spectators to be here. There’s the race, but there’s also the events.
iRunFar: Today in 2017, the CCC is as strong as the UTMB was some years ago. The level of competition is great. Who do you think maybe is your biggest competition?
Mauclair: I don’t know really because there are a lot of names who have changed, so I haven’t looked this weekend. I don’t know really. I have seen American runners.
iRunFar: Yes, there are some American runners, and I think Azara García from Spain—you’ve raced her before.
Mauclair: Yes, and Maite Maiora… and I don’t know if the new… she won it two years ago… I forgot her name… she came from New Zealand.
iRunFar: Oh, Ruth Croft? No, she’s not racing.
Mauclair: Yes, that was the first time she was entered.
iRunFar: It is hard because it will be September in the race, and I think some people are tired. It’s amazing you still feel strong.
Mauclair: I hope.
iRunFar: Best of luck out there, Nathalie. Enjoy.
Mauclair: Thank you very much.