Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz Pre-2023 Hardrock 100 Interview

A video interview (with transcript) with Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz before the 2023 Hardrock 100.

By on July 10, 2023 | Comments

Frenchman Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz first caught our attention back in 2021, when he placed second at UTMB and won Transgrancanaria. A year later than first planned, he is here to race the 2023 Hardrock 100. In this interview, he talks about his journey to get to the start line, and what it means to him to race this iconic American ultra.

For more on who’s racing, check out our in-depth preview. Follow along with our Hardrock 100 live race coverage from Friday.

[Editor’s Note: We’d like to thank Simon Dugué for helping out with translation for this interview. Thank you, Simon!]

Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz Pre-2023 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Sarah Brady of iRunFar. I’m here before the 2023 Hardrock 100, and I’m with Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz. How are you?

Aurélien Dunand-Pallaz: [via translator] I’m very good, thanks.

iRunFar: Great. How long have you been in Silverton, and have you got to see much of the course?

Dunand-Pallaz: So I’ve been here for one week. I did three great runs here just to recognize the last part of the race, especially the night, from Ouray and up to Silverton.

iRunFar: Okay. So I think you were supposed to run Hardrock last year, but postponed because of the birth of your child. Congratulations. So how has the last year been, trying to manage training alongside parenting?

Dunand-Pallaz: So yeah, when I knew that it wasn’t possible last year to come because of the baby, it was very hard to refuse to come. But finally, in December, when I had the news that finally I was able to run this year, I was very happy and I focused on this race this year. This is the, really, main goal of the first part of the season.

iRunFar: Okay. And as someone from France, you’ve traveled quite far for this. What is it about Hardrock that made you want to run this race as opposed to a different American ultra?

Dunand-Pallaz: Actually, in France, it’s a mythical race and I knew that, there are only maybe 160 at the start, which is very different from a race in Europe. So the atmosphere is different, and I want to push myself on the high altitude. We don’t have this altitude in Europe, in the Alps. I want to see how I can manage to race for 20 hours or more at this altitude. And yeah, I’m lucky, I’m very lucky to be here.

iRunFar: It is super different to European racing in a lot of ways. And one thing is you have a pacer and that’s not common in the big Euro races. I believe, Ludovic Pommeret is pacing you. So, are you looking forward to having a pacer and what difference do you think having him with you will make?

Dunand-Pallaz: I am very happy to have Ludo on my side. I know Ludo very well. We prepared a lot of races together in the past, especially UTMB 2021. And yeah, I hope that Ludo can help me on the last part. I know I will be very tired, so I hope Ludo can push me on the last part.

iRunFar: And is there any particular part of the route that you’re most excited about?

Dunand-Pallaz: So yeah, actually Handies Peak, it’s at the top of the race, and it’s very amazing up there. And I’m looking forward to being there on the race and to recognize that tomorrow. And of course, Kroger’s Canteen too, the aid station up there. It’s a point, a mythical point on the race. I’m looking forward to this.

iRunFar: And the finish line, I’m sure.

Dunand-Pallaz: Yeah, yeah, with work.

iRunFar: Brilliant. And so, once the finish line is reached, what’s your plan for after? Will you holiday in the U.S. or do you go straight home?

Dunand-Pallaz: I will actually leave straight away after the race because I have a wedding in France. And I have my baby also in France, so I want to see him. And yeah, I will leave just after the race.

iRunFar: That will be an amazing welcome home, I’m sure. So, have you anything else in mind for the rest of the season then?

Dunand-Pallaz: So yes, the plan is to do the Diagonale des Fous in October to finish the season.

iRunFar: That looks spectacular as well. So, best of luck. We hope you have a fantastic race. We’ll see you out there.

Dunand-Pallaz: Thank you.

iRunFar: Thank you.

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is Managing Editor at iRunFar. She’s been working in an editorial capacity for ten years and has been a trail runner for almost as long. Aside from iRunFar, she’s worked as an editor for various educational publishers and written race previews for Apex Running, UK, and RAW Ultra, Ireland. Based in Belfast, Ireland, Sarah is an avid mountain runner and ultrarunner and competes at distances from under 10k to over 100k. When not running, she enjoys reading, socializing, and hanging out with her dog, Angie, and cat, Judy.