While France’s Camille Bruyas may be better known for her performances at mountain ultramarathons in Europe, like taking second at UTMB last year, she’s excited to try something new with the Western States 100. In the following interview, Camille talks about overcoming some early season challenges to find fitness this summer, what it’s been like living and training in California for the last month, and what she thinks will challenge her the most this weekend.
Camille Bruyas Pre-2022 Western States 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Camille Bruyas. It’s a couple of days before the 2022 Western States 100. How are you?
Camille Bruyas: Fine. I’m on holiday so it’s good, yeah, thank you.
iRunFar: Yeah, we are here at Folsom Lake and you are on a proper California holiday. How has your time in California been?
Bruyas: It’s hot, actually. It was not too hot a few days before, so we start to understand how would be the next adventure this weekend.
iRunFar: Now you have been in California for a month or for three weeks, or for how long?
Bruyas: Yeah, I think a little less than three weeks. To get to run on the Western States trail. So it’s been done, so now it’s again for the race.
iRunFar: Yeah. What has your experience here been like? When I think of you, I think of big mountains of the Alps. You’ve podiumed at UTMB. I think of you on Réunion Island and the very steep trails there. This place is very different.
Bruyas: Yeah, for sure. I was expecting this but it’s runnable, a lot. And downhill a lot. But it’s not easy. You can think it’s easy because okay, no very big hills but in fact, I think it’s yeah, more difficult than I expected.
iRunFar: What do you see as the main challenges for you on Saturday? And then, what do you think will be fun or easier for you?
Bruyas: The most challenging, it’s all the hills. Yeah, it’s a long distance, it’s 100 miles so for me, it’s my third 100 mile so it’s always an adventure, and always unexpected things, you don’t know. So this and yeah, the heat for sure actually. Here, you are on the floor; just go in the lake. Just, you rest and it’s super hot. So yeah. I don’t know what’s happened, but it’s cool.
iRunFar: So, after you podiumed at UTMB last year, you and I spoke, we did an interview, and I remember you saying that you train on the flat, you do speed work on the track and things like that. Have you found yourself to be able to acclimate to the very runnable Western States course?
Bruyas: Yeah, but not as I wanted because the beginning of the season was a little difficult for me. To have a good form and to feel good, so I listened my body, so I took some rest. And then I was just training as usual to long distance. So, we’ll see if it’s enough.
iRunFar: Now earlier this year did you have an injury or you just weren’t feeling right or what was happening?
Bruyas: Yeah, a feeling and tendonitis, ankle tendonitis, so yeah, it’s hard to trust in your body when you start the season like this. Yeah, I just want to discover this big event, this big atmosphere, and yeah, just for fun and try to enjoy this race.
iRunFar: One of the things that’s unique about Western States is that there’s such a community built around it. You train with some of the people that you’ll be competing with. What has that been like, to share the trails and train with the people who you’ll be racing with on Saturday?
Bruyas: Yeah, for me it’s not a race against the others, it’s a race against me first. So no, it’s super, I’m super happy to be there with the American and other girls. Now it’s so nice to share some training with the others and for me it’s not competition, it’s just yeah, it’s just a party.
iRunFar: I love it. It’s a trail party.
Bruyas: Yeah, for sure.
iRunFar: Now, my last question for you is about California. You said off-camera that you’ve been here before, your brother lived for some years in California. And now you’re back. What has been like something really cool about being here for a whole month?
Bruyas: Yeah, for sure, it was a plan I had in my head before COVID-19, if I return to the USA I don’t want to go just for the race for one week; I want to spend a lot of time here. When I came a few years before, I spent, I think, two months so it was super nice. I wanted to come back for a fun, new experience like this. So yeah, after Western States, I will go to Colorado to discover another state.
iRunFar: You’re coming to my home.
Bruyas: Your home, for sure.
iRunFar: Best of luck to you on Saturday and I hope you enjoy all of the hills, all of the heat and all of the running.
Bruyas: Thanks a lot, thanks to you.