After taking third at CCC last year, Christelle Bard took third at UTMB this year. In the following interview, Christelle talks about how she only became a runner in the past few years, what the weather was like during the race, how her race went, and what her finishing experience was like.
Check out our in-depth UTMB results article to find out what happened at UTMB 2017!
Christelle Bard Post-UTMB Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m with Christelle Bard. She just finished third at the 2017 UTMB. Congratulations!
Christelle Bard: Thank you.
iRunFar: Wow! Did you exceed your expectations? Did you exceed what you thought you’d do at this race?
Bard: I didn’t plan to do third, no. For me, it was a dream to be in the top 10, so to be third is very good. To finish this race, it was very nice. It was a dream to finish.
iRunFar: This is our first interview with you, but we know you have some good results especially at CCC and TDS in the past. Can you talk a little bit about your background as a runner?
Bard: I didn’t run for a long time. I started to run four years ago. I didn’t like running before. I was just hiking in the mountains. My husband loves running going down. Hiking and hiking, I thought it was faster to run and to see a lot of landscape, so I began like that.
iRunFar: So running became a way for you to see more, do more, go a little further?
iRunFar: Did you find that you were quite good at it straight away? How did you learn you were fast?
Bard: I don’t think I’m very fast, but I love running now, so it’s just pleasure to run in the mountains. It’s a pretext to see a lot of mountains and to be outside.
iRunFar: This weekend’s race had pretty poor conditions. You didn’t see much of that—before and after, but not during the race.
Bard: No, when we were in the Val Ferret, we saw some mountains but not Mont Blanc.
iRunFar: The Grandes Jorasses, right? The view of that.
Bard: Yes, it was beautiful. The morning was quite beautiful after we had some clouds and rain.
iRunFar: In the nighttime, it was quite cold conditions like almost winter weather with a little bit of snow?
Bard: In the Col du Bonhomme, it was very, very frozen.
iRunFar: Can you talk about how your race played out? Early on you were outside of the top 10, but before the halfway point you came on into the top 10 and just kept moving up.
Bard: I had a very bad start because I thought it was the beginning of a 20k race. It was so fast! I told me to just do my race and not follow, but you have to follow a little, so you have to manage. I had some pain in the legs very soon. I managed to keep cool and to do my race. After the night, I had very bad problems with my eyes. I couldn’t see very well.
iRunFar: The first night?
Bard: Yes, in the night it was okay, but in the morning when I switched off my light, it was like I was in a fog. So I fell sometimes, and it was very, very difficult. When I came up, it was okay.
iRunFar: Because you couldn’t see your feet?
Bard: Yes, so I had to do my race. After the end of the day it was better like six or seven in the evening.
iRunFar: Do you think it was from the cold or wind?
Bard: No, because it’s the second time I’ve had this problem. I have to check that. I don’t know.
iRunFar: Well, you’re a doctor, so you’ve have a little expertise to start your research.
Bard: I’m not an ophthalmologist, but I will check.
iRunFar: You probably know some. At what point did you become aware of how close to the front of the field you were?
Bard: In Grand Col Ferret, I knew the third was just before me, and I passed her just before La Fouly. After, I knew I was third, but I didn’t know the time between the second. I didn’t know behind me.
iRunFar: La Fouly is 100k or 110k into the race. There’s 30 miles or 50k to go. In your head were you thinking, Oh, I want to defend my podium position? Or, I just need to do my race.
Bard: No, I was just doing my race. I knew there was three climbs, three like that [makes motion of climb and descent], so one after one.
iRunFar: Little by little and you’d see at the end?
iRunFar: When you arrived into Chamonix at the end of your run there are 1 or 2k of weaving through town. People are out celebrating. Did it start to hit you, or when did it start to hit you that you were finishing on the podium of one of the world’s biggest trail races?
Bard: It was like a dream. It was very quiet coming into Chamonix. Just 1k before Chamonix there were a lot of people. It was raining, so it was just beautiful.
iRunFar: What does a person like you think about doing now? You’ve had really good experiences at CCC and TDS and now an even better performance at UTMB. Do you think about what could be out there for you and how you could improve?
Bard: Yes, I think you can always improve. There are so many details that you can improve.
iRunFar: Do you think about using that in other races or coming back here next year and seeing if you can go faster?
Bard: For the moment, I just appreciate the moment. We’ll see after.
iRunFar: Congratulations to you on your podium finish at the 2017 UTMB.
Bard: Thank you. Yeah, it was a great edition, and I am proud to be there.
iRunFar: You should be super proud. Congrats.
Bard: Thank you.