Beñat Marmissolle Pre-2023 Hardrock 100 Interview

A video interview (with transcript) with Beñat Marmissolle before the 2023 Hardrock 100.

By on July 12, 2023 | Comments

Beñat Marmissolle of France is racing the Hardrock 100 for the first time, following a win at last year’s Diagonale des Fous and a sixth-place finish at UTMB. In this interview, our first with Beñat, he talks about how his home mountains, the Pyrenees, make for the perfect training ground, his excitement at seeing the wildlife and beauty of the Hardrock course, and his decision to run without a pacer.

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 Guérard for helping out with translation for this interview. Thank you, Simon!]

Beñat Marmissolle Pre-2023 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Sarah Brady of iRunFar. I’m here just a few days before the 2023 Hardrock 100, and I’m with Beñat Marmissolle. Beñat, how are?

Beñat Marmissolle: [In French, through a translator] I’m doing great.

iRunFar: Great. Good start. So, you’ve been running trail for quite a while, but this is our first interview with you. So, we’d like to hear a little bit about your background. How did you first start trail running?

Marmissolle: Alright, well, first thing first, I’m very excited. I’m very excited to be here at Hardrock. Hardrock has always been a dream race for myself. I was lucky this year. I was drafted for the race. It’s really the kind of race that I favor in general. I live in the Pyrenees in France, where the mountains are very steep, and Hardrock is a great race for me. There will be a lot of steep climbs, steep descent. That’s going to be exactly my strength that I’m playing with in general. Yeah.

iRunFar: Okay, very good. And then just with your past history in racing you’ve been doing shorter trail races for quite some time before. In the last couple of years, you ramped up to the 100-mile distance. But your best results really have been at this distance. You were third at Diagonale des Fous, and then you went on to win it last year. And you were sixth at UTMB. Do you think that’s an accumulation of years of training and age and experience? Or do you think you’re just more suited to this distance?

Marmissolle: Yes, so I have a lot of experience from skyrunning where I developed very high technical skills on very difficult terrain in general, and I’ve gained a lot of speed racing these shorter distances. But my body is very comfortable in the longer distance, where it’s playing with my strength, where I can sustain a very hard effort for a very long time, multiple hours. And that’s where I can get so much success on these longer distances. While remaining very technical, which Hardrock will be very technical, and yeah, Diagonale des Fous, of course.

iRunFar: Okay, and then comparing to those other big 100s that you’ve done, how do you expect Hardrock to compare as a challenge? Are you expecting this one to be more challenging than Diagonale des Fous, or UTMB, or something similar?

Marmissolle: Yes. So, Hardrock, well when you look at the different races, so, the Diagonale des Fous, UTMB, and Hardrock, all three are probably some of the hardest 100 milers out there. The particularity for Hardrock will definitely be that this is a very wild environment. As soon as you leave the town, you’re in the wilderness, you’ll have to potentially deal with animal noises. And it’s a very austere environment in comparison to what I’m used to racing in general. So, the Pyrenees but also on the Île de la Réunion [Réunion Island.]

iRunFar: Okay, thank you. And I think you’ve been here for a while, haven’t you? So, have you got to see most of the course, and do you have, like, a favorite part so far of what you’ve seen?

Marmissolle: Yes, so I’ve been here for about three weeks. Scouting the course, running everywhere. It’s a gorgeous area in general. One particularity is that I’ve decided I wouldn’t race with a pacer. We’re used to not having pacers in Europe, and I want to live the adventure by myself and hopefully even meet some animals and deal with that. [translator referring to Marmissolle: “So, I think he said, he didn’t say directly, but he’ll fight a bear, essentially.”] But of course my family is here. So, I’m very excited to have them see me on the course in general, and even if that means being a little slower, that’s a great adventure that I want to live by myself with my skills in general.

iRunFar: Okay, it sounds like it’s going to be a lot of fun whatever happens. So yeah, since your family are here, is there anything else fun that you’ve done in the U.S.? Have you had any very American experiences outside of your training here?

Marmissolle: So, my family only joined about two days ago. So, we didn’t really have that much time yet. But after the race, I’m really planning to show them around and do very exciting things and live the American life a little bit.

iRunFar: Yeah, just to wrap up, so a little bit more than that. We’d love to hear what you’ve got planned for the rest of your trip.

Marmissolle: Yeah, so quite a few things. First thing first, I feed. If I don’t meet a bear on the course, I’m definitely going to go and look for a bear with my family. We also want to see moose, and just nature in general. And after quite a few weeks of eating pasta and white meat, I’m very much looking forward to real food and tasting American food.

iRunFar: Very good. I think you’re probably sure to see a bear at some point. So, I wish you the best of luck this weekend, and we’ll see you on the course. Thank you.

Marmissolle: Merci à vous.

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.