We caught up with France’s Emilie Lecomte for the first time before her run at UTMB 2018. In the following interview, Emilie talks about her entrance and progression in sport, some of the trail races where she’s seen success, and how she’s looking forward to running around Mont Blanc.
Emilie Lecomte Pre-UTMB 2018 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Emilie Lecomte before the 2018 Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc. How are you, Emilie?
Emilie Lecomte: I am fine, thank you. How are you?
iRunFar: I’m well. It’s a beautiful day here in Chamonix.
Lecomte: Blue sky and good weather. For now, and hopefully for the race.
iRunFar: I hope so. We were talking earlier, and you’ve been at UTMB a few times: in 2010, when the race was cancelled, and in 2012, when the race was shortened, and you’ve been here one other time, correct?
Lecomte: Yes. I think I’ve seen all the weather along the way at UTMB, except for the sun [laughs]. So, this is a good year.
iRunFar: Maybe this year will be sunny. Before we get into your racing history, I’d love to know a little bit of your history with sports. How have you been a trail runner? Did you do other sports before that?
Lecomte: Before running? I start sports in general very late because I have, I like to say, two lives in my lifetime. My life before was all about working, being a working girl, you know. Then my boyfriend, now husband, showed me sports and I tried to mountain bike at first and it was fun. I tried to make more – more longer, more harder, more pushing.
Then we tried a multi-sport raid [adventure racing], where you do multiple sports as a team over four days. I started with this competition and it was really fun, really exciting. The thing is that to be good in this kind of racing, you must be good at running, mountain biking, orienteering, etc. So, then I tried to run because I had to be better on this point. That’s why I started running. It was in 2007, my first season of adventure races and, then, 2009 was my first season of trail running.
iRunFar: I think you had some good results, even in your first year. Did you do Grand Raid Réunion your first year?
Lecomte: Yeah. In my first year.
iRunFar: And did you win it that year?
Lecomte: Yeah, yeah. It’s funny, because I love this race. For me, Diagonale des Fous is the place where you can find what all the runners look for: it’s very wild, singletrack, it’s very technical and the weather is the kind of weather you can find on an island. So, I love the spirit and everything there.
iRunFar: And you’ve had great success there. You’ve won it a few times, you’ve been second a few times, and you keep going back.
Lecomte: Yes. I have: two wins, two losses – DNF, and two times finishing in second. So, I’m done. This year I’ll go one more time after UTMB and then we’ll see.
iRunFar: That’s it? That will be three 100-milers in one season. Have you done that before?
Lecomte: It’s a big season. Because I did the Western States Endurance Run in June, and now UTMB, and next Diagonales des Fous. It’s a big challenge, but I’m a specialist at long distances. I don’t race that much in a year if you compare me to the other runners. So, I know it’s a big challenge but I have a… [gestures]
iRunFar: You have a big race and then you recover afterwards?
Lecomte: Yeah. So, we’ll see.
iRunFar: You’ve also done raids, you’ve done Tor des Géants, which you’ve won. That’s a huge challenge.
Lecomte: Yeah, Tor des Géants is a huge challenge. I’m going to do the assistance [crewing] of Don from Trail Runner Nation and Bob [name unclear] who is part of the Western States organization. I’ll be there for them during the Tor des Géants next week and I’ll follow them. I’m so excited because I’ve never made the assistance before, I’ve always run. So, for me, it will be the first time, but it’s a fun experience to take part in the party of Tor des Géants and see the other side of the event, you know? It’s a good experience.
iRunFar: It will probably be a nice way to recover, because it will be one week after UTMB.
Lecomte: It will be close to UTMB, yes. Tor des Géants is in Aosta Valley in Italy, it’s a very beautiful valley, very open and wide. The people who live there are very welcoming, it’s a nice spirit.
iRunFar: And there’s very good food as well.
Lecomte: Yes, very good food. You know it! Did you ever run?
iRunFar: I haven’t run it, but Meghan Hicks of iRunFar has run Tor des Géants.
Lecomte: Did she like it?
iRunFar: Yes, it was a big challenge. So, this weekend is UTMB. You’ve had great success at Diagonale des Fous, Tor des Géants, but not quite at UTMB yet. What can you change to make UTMB a success for you.
Lecomte: First is to finish UTMB. In 2010 and 2012 the weather was not there, so it was unlucky for me – and for the others, of course. Last year, I made some different mistakes, doing the wrong things, and I had to stop at Courmayeur [80 kilometers/50 miles]. It was a very bad day. It was a very bad experience, but an experience. From there, I can learn from what happened, what not to do next time. So, it’s a new year, it’s different conditions and I’ll try to do my best. I’m very excited for this race. I think I’m ready now.
iRunFar: You’re fit, you’re strong?
Lecomte: Um, we’ll see. I’m happy to be here and I look forward to the race. I love this place, too, because I live close to Chamonix.
iRunFar: You do? How close are you?
Lecomte: I live in Annecy. It’s not so far, so Mont Blanc is our mountain. It will be a nice journey, I hope.
iRunFar: Excellent. Well, I wish you the best of luck. Enjoy the race.
Lecomte: Thank you so much.