France’s Julien Rancon is back on the podium at the 2019 Trail World Championships. In our first interview with Julien, he compares racing the 2013 and 2019 editions of the Trail World Champs, the challenges he experienced in the race’s most technical sections, how the runnable finish favored him, and his long background in various kinds of running.
For more on what happened at the race, read our results article.
Julien Rancon Post-2019 Trail World Championships Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar and I’m with France’s Julien Rancon. You’re the second-place finisher of the 2019 Trail World Championships. Wow and congratulations.
Julien Rancon: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: We’re just at the award ceremony right now. How are you feeling?
Rancon: I feel tired but very happy because I didn’t expect this place. I’m very happy.
iRunFar: You have competed for Team France at a lot of world championships, including this one. You have been on the podium before?
Rancon: I was on the podium in 2013. But I run more times in the World Mountain Running Championships–both the European and world championships. My speciality is mostly shorter distance but now I go to all the long distance.
iRunFar: So the Trail World Championships around 2013 were shorter and then they grew longer for a couple years and you didn’t compete for Team France?
Rancon: No. Eighty kilometers is too long for me. I prefer shorter. There are some better runners in France so I didn’t compete the last two years.
iRunFar: But then the Trail World Championships became shorter this year. Did you decide, “Well, I’d like to try to be on Team France again?”
Rancon: Yeah, when I knew it was around 40 kilometers, I decided to do the selection race in France. I was quite confident for the qualification. It was a good race for me. I finished second. It was two months ago and I have two months to prepare very well for the world championships.
iRunFar: Excellent. This is iRunFar’s first interview with you so I would love to learn a little bit about you. Who are you? What do you do for work and why?
Rancon: I am a sport coach.
iRunFar: Of what kind of sport?
Rancon: Running. And I run since many years. I like all types of running, mountain, flat, road, cross country…
iRunFar: You know what, they are starting some fireworks… In a true interview first for me, we had to stop the interview for a minute so they could light off some fireworks, but we are back. I was asking you about your life outside of running. You are a coach?
Rancon: I coach many types of runners, road runners, triathlon runners.
iRunFar: Adults or children?
Rancon: Adults. Yes.
iRunFar: Do you have a family?
Rancon: I have a wife but no children.
iRunFar: Is running also in your family? Does your wife run?
Rancon: Yes, yes, she is a mountain runner too. We train together many times.
iRunFar: Excellent. Let’s talk about the race today. Can you talk about how the men’s race went out?
Rancon: It started very fast.
iRunFar: Super fast.
Rancon: Yeah. But on the start line I was far [back] and I had to make an effort to come [up with] the leading group. But it was quite good as I picked up the leading group maybe two kilometers after the start and I stayed between fifth and 12th positions in the first part. I didn’t enjoy the first part because it was very technical and I prefer when it is very runnable. So I was patient during the first part until the first refreshment [station]. And after in the uphill, I pushed my effort and I came back near the lead of the race. I had very good sensations in uphill so I feel very good. I caught Christian Mathys at the top of the course and I managed to keep my second place.
iRunFar: There was a technical section after Gondramaz [the last aid station], right?
Rancon: Yes, but I think at the beginning of the race we were not very tired so the technical part was fast. At the end they can be a little slower. It was for me.
iRunFar: The last technical part was okay?
Rancon: It was not so long. It was maybe two kilometers so it was okay for me.
iRunFar: How did it feel to cross the line after a six-year break from this race, to come to the podium again?
Rancon: It was very emotional moment. Six years ago it was maybe less level and less density, so it was not the same race. Here it’s a race that I enjoy more than long distance–it was 70 kilometers in 2013. I was very happy.
iRunFar: Excellent. Congratulations to you on your second-place finish and congratulations also to Team France on an incredible day.
Rancon: Thank you. Thank you very much.