This year, two-time defending TDS champion Audrey Tanguy turns her sights on UTMB. In the following interview, Audrey talks about what was tough about running Western States, how she’s enjoyed switching to more mountainous training since then, why she’s tackling UTMB this year, and what she’s learned from her two prior 100-mile efforts.
Audrey Tanguy Pre-2021 UTMB Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar with Audrey Tanguy before the 2021 UTMB. How are you, Audrey?
Audrey Tanguy: I’m good, thank you.
iRunFar: The last time I saw you, you ran Western States and finished sixth.
iRunFar: How do you feel about that performance?
Tanguy: I’m really happy because I finished the race and I think I did everything I could. So, yeah, for the first time. The first try at this race, I think it’s, yeah, it’s good.
iRunFar: What was challenging at that race for you?
Tanguy: The heat. The distance. More um, like, down.
iRunFar: More descents, yeah.
Tanguy: More down time, so this is really challenging for me. I don’t really like downhills so for this race it was really hard. And, yeah, there are many, many, many good runners.
iRunFar: Are you happy with that?
Tanguy: Yeah, yeah. I want to do a better result for sure but for the first try, yeah, I’m totally fine with these results.
iRunFar: How did your, your mind and body come out of that race?
Tanguy: Actually I was really surprised that the recovery was pretty fast. So, yeah, it was good. And, yeah, maybe a couple of weeks after I did the loop of the Mont Blanc with my sister. So, yeah, it was yeah, it was, was quite fast.
iRunFar: Did you enjoy switching from the fast training, of not only at Western States but Canyons 100k, to the mountains?
Tanguy: Yeah. [laughs] Yeah, definitely. First I did the Project Carbon X2 on the road.
iRunFar: So you ran 100 kilometers, that flat flat.
Tanguy: I know, I know. After the Canyons and the Western States, so I’m really happy to be back in my mountains now. [laughs]
iRunFar: Maybe some hiking up the mountains.
Tanguy: Yeah, I’m waiting for that. Very exciting.
iRunFar: That’s impressive. Like you ran really fast at 100 kilometers and obviously at Canyons and Western States, but you much prefer the,
Tanguy: Yeah, I’m not sure that “really fast” is the really good word. [laughs] I tried. I did my best, but definitely I prefer to go up.
iRunFar: Yeah. So you’ve run TDS twice.
iRunFar: And you won TDS twice.
iRunFar: Why, why move up? Why change what’s working?
Tanguy: [laughs] That’s the question! I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t. I don’t know because UTMB the dream for me. This is the race I would love to win one day. And this is the race I have in my mind since the beginning. So, yeah, I knew that I would like to do the UTMB one time. Why not this year? [laughs]
iRunFar: Yeah? Do you have the same perspective? Like you seem very happy to have finished Western States sixth in your first time, and you might want to go back and do better.
Tanguy: Mm hmm.
iRunFar: What is your approach to running this for the first time?
Tanguy: I would like to do everything good. To take to take the good decision at every point of the race. That’s my goal, and to do, yeah, to do everything I can. Having as less trouble as possible.
Tanguy: Like everyone. Yeah, to enjoy the moment, to share with all people and my family who will be here.
iRunFar: How do you think that will go with, you know, because you have won the TDS twice, the last two years. Do you think you’ll be excited and maybe very confident to run fast in front of the race?
Tanguy: Oh, no. Definitely no. Totally not confident. [laughs] I’m really, really scared. And you know, you can do better. I just won two times, so I know that the result must be not as good as the first one. So, yeah, I don’t know.
iRunFar: Yeah, you’ve run two 100-mile races, like 160 kilometers or more. You were second at Diagonale des Fous and sixth at Western States. What have you learned from those two really long races?
Tanguy: I think the first thing I learned is this is too long for me. [laughs]
iRunFar: Yet here you are.
Tanguy: That’s why I’m here. Yeah. Definitely 100 miles is really long. I think I won’t do a longer distance.
Tanguy: Yeah. 100 miles is enough really.
iRunFar: No Tor des Géants next year?
Tanguy: No, no. For sure no. No. I promise. This is the, these kind of races that you, yeah, you learn a lot of things about yourself, about your, I don’t know, your, your dark part. Because you, you’re alone for a long time and you have to, to fix a lot of troubles, all the way, so…
iRunFar: So what did you learn about yourself in those two events? Anything in particular?
Tanguy: I learned that I need people I love on the way. Because during the Diagonale des Fous I’ve been there alone, and this was really, really hard. For the Western States I was with my friend Ludo [Ludovic] Pommeret. It was really better. But still really hard because of the heat and like, ground, the thing you come from the ground.
Tanguy: Dust. Yeah. Last year, I had trouble to breathe. So I hope that here will be okay.
iRunFar: But here you will have friends and family.
Tanguy: Yeah, I have my family, definitely, and I have a lot of people will be following the during the race.
iRunFar: So is that what you enjoy most about the race, seeing them out there?
Tanguy: Yeah, yeah. I try to focus just on that. On all people I will see during the race and I don’t want to think too, “everything could happen.” I always thought that you could have a lot of problems and so I just, I just don’t want to think about it and think about people and the atmosphere and other runners. I have many friends. So yeah.
iRunFar: So you will enjoy your time out there.
Tanguy: I will try.
iRunFar: Alright. Well I hope you do.
Tanguy: Yeah, thanks.
iRunFar: Bonne chance.
Tanguy: Thank you, merci.