Talk about bring consistent, France’s Ludovic Pommeret has finished either fifth or sixth at the last four editions of the Trail World Championships. In the following interview, Ludo talks about how the men’s field is a real mix of longer- and shorter-distance specialists, how Team France has tailored its team to and otherwise prepared for this year’s race, and how he prepared during the winter and spring with short races.
Ludovic Pommeret Pre-2019 Trail World Championships Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. And I’m with Ludo Pommeret. It’s a couple days before the 2019 Trail World Championships. You are the fastest returning French man.
Ludovic Pommeret: No, I don’t believe so but… [laughs]
iRunFar: Well, you had the top finish at last year’s race, returning this year.
Pommeret: Yeah, that’s true, but there was some injury, and it’s not the same team this year.
Pommeret: And it’s not the same distance as well, so we’ll see. Could be different race.
iRunFar: But you have to be the most consistent runner at recent Trail World Championships. You finished either fifth or sixth at the last four [editions].
Pommeret: Yeah. That’s true.
iRunFar: What do you think about that consistency?
Pommeret: Yeah, it’s, I don’t know, I could not explain. We’ll see what could be the result for the next race but for the short race, it’s quite difficult for me to keep the same place. I hope for the same. It would be really great for me, but we’ll see on Saturday. As I said, there’s lots of fast runners in the French team, but as well in other teams. It’s shorter. The shortest race I think that we have ever seen in the world championships so maybe we will have some surprise and runners that not choose to run distances, but that will perform. We’ll see.
iRunFar: I think we are seeing a lot of mountain runners crossing over….
Pommeret: Yes. Right.
iRunFar: …To try this 45-kilometer distance.
Pommeret: Yeah. It’s correct and especially I think because the mountain running is famous in Italia [Italy] and I think Italia will be a strong team as well this year because it’s shorter.
iRunFar: Yeah so two years ago in Italy, team Italy brought good teams and they did quite well at the 50k distance.
Pommeret: Yeah and I think now it will be less [referring to the shorter race distance].
Pommeret: And they have as well because Marco [De Gasperi] was around but he didn’t take part of the race, so Marco is a good player I think. We’ll see.
iRunFar: Yeah, yeah.
Pommeret: And he’s used to doing more than 50k so for the distance it will not be a problem for him.
iRunFar: So talk to me about Team France. The faces are so many different faces this year. It’s, returning faces are you and Nico[las Martin] and…
Pommeret: …And Romain [Maillard].
iRunFar: Yes, Romain, sorry.
Pommeret: Several French last year, yeah.
iRunFar: And then all new faces after that. Talk about your team.
Pommeret: Yeah. New or not because Julien [Rancon] already did the Trail World Championship in 2015 and he’s used to race mountain running and he’s really good runners, good French runner, mountain runner. So that’s the older new and you have Alexandre Fine who is the youngest, young boy in French.
iRunFar: He’s just 22?
Pommeret: Yeah. He’s really young but he’s really fast as well. And he’s doing as well smaller race usually, especially mountain race, mountain running. So he would be fast I think. We have Emmanuel Meyssat who is a specialist I would say in mountain running as well.
Pommeret: But he does well at long race. He won some long race, more than 70 kilometers. He’s a good player.
iRunFar: He’ll be able to go the 45k distance.
Pommeret: Yeah. I believe yeah. And then we have Aurelien Dunand-Pallaz who is more on the long descent but he’s injured so he will not take part of the race. So it’s a shame but,…
iRunFar: …It happens.
Pommeret: I forgot someone or?
iRunFar: I think you got everybody didn’t you?
Pommeret: Okay. I hope so because if I forgot one, [laughs].
iRunFar: You’ll get in trouble later.
iRunFar: So Team France came here to recon the course. You’ve seen it.
Pommeret: Yeah, two months ago. Just after the selection race we came here for a weekend and we did two days on the race. We covered the full race.
iRunFar: And what did you think of the course?
Pommeret: So I would say it’s a special race because there’s some parts that are quite technical and some parts that will be really fast, so it should not be good for only fast runner. It should be quite technical in uphill and as well downhill, some parts are technical. But for the runner that are real technical, they should be fast as well especially for the end and in the middle of the race, there’s a long 10 kilometers that will be fast, so.
iRunFar: The high part around the wind turbines. Very quick section.
Pommeret: Yes. It’s the quickest section except the finish.
iRunFar: The very end.
iRunFar: Tell me what you think because what I thought was interesting about the course was how abruptly it changes from, you know you can run really fast and then all of a sudden boom technical, and then boom fast, boom technical.
iRunFar: The transitions are very quick.
Pommeret: Yeah. And I don’t know how to manage.
Pommeret: We’ll see. We tried to train because we know how is the terrain, and we try to train in this way, to imitate some, during the training do some climb and some flat so we try to train in this way, but we don’t know, and I don’t know how my body will react. I’m more used to doing more long climb and long descent.
Pommeret: But it’s even if the longer climb, there’s a short descent in the middle so it’ll break your cadence, I don’t know if you can say.
iRunFar: Yeah, yeah.
Pommeret: So, I don’t know. We’ll see in two days now.
iRunFar: We’ll see in two days. My last question for you is that I saw you at the Transvulcania Marathon about a month ago.
Pommeret: Half marathon.
iRunFar: Half marathon, sorry. And you have been doing other shorter distance races this spring in preparation?
Pommeret: During the winter I usually run small distances, except it was the shorter one because I was not allowed to run more in Transvulcania.
Pommeret: Yeah but it’s not the that distance I prefer. I prefer longer one. But it was a good preparation because it was, yeah, long climb. And it was fast but it will be different in two days so. But it was nice to fight, or fight [laughs], friend fight…
iRunFar: Yeah, yeah.
Pommeret: …With runners who are very fast in short distance.
iRunFar: Well for me as a follower and as the press, I think this set-up is fascinating. Like the middle distance to ultrarunners, to fast mountain runners. So interesting.
Pommeret: Yeah, it will be nice and I think we will have surprise, but let’s see.
iRunFar: Let’s see.
Pommeret: If we have no surprise it will be [Luis Alberto] Hernando who will be first. We’ll see. [laughs]
iRunFar: If we are not surprised, it’s Luis. And if we are surprised, then we see. Well best of luck to you…
Pommeret: Thank you.
iRunFar: …On finding fifth place again.
Pommeret: Oh, I hope. It will be good for me. I don’t believe, but maybe. It could happen.
iRunFar: Maybe. Well good luck to you.
Pommeret: Thank you.