Marion Delespierre of France won the 80k at that 2023 Trail World Championships. In the following interview, Marion talks about how her race progressed, when she found out she was in the lead, and what happened after that.
For more on what happened in the race, read our 2023 Trail World Championships 80k results article.
Marion Delespierre, 2023 80k Trail World Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Marion Delespierre after her win at the 2023 Trail World Championships 80k. Congratulations.
Marion Delespierre: Thank you, Bryon.
iRunFar: How are you feeling?
Delespierre: Tired. Excited. Very happy.
iRunFar: Very, you should be. That’s quite the accomplishment. During the race, the first 18 or 20 kilometers you were out of the top 10. You were not at the back of the field, but you weren’t up at the front. Was that your plan?
Delespierre: Yes, it was my plan. Not to stress, very calm at the beginning and the race was very long and hard. So I think it was a good choice to be patient.
iRunFar: So, in those first 20 kilometers, you’re happy that you’re running under control?
Delespierre: Yeah, under control.
iRunFar: And then for the first 50 kilometers, more or less, you were running with your teammate Manon [Bohard Cailler].
iRunFar: Was that also kind of a plan or a happy accident?
Delespierre: It was cool to run with Manon, because we are stronger, better together. So it was a good thing during the race because we can share a few words and cheering. “Manon, sorry, little tired.”
Delespierre: And after I did my race and first place was incredible.
iRunFar: Yeah, so you’re running together and were you still trying to be relaxed for those first 50k even?
Delespierre: Yeah, yeah.
iRunFar: When did you decide, was there a decision for you to leave each other, or for you to start pushing?
Delespierre: At 50 kilometers before Kranebitten, we had a long section 10 kilometers with a little uphill and flat running. So I like this part, so it was the moment to push it.
iRunFar: It was natural, that was an advantage for you.
iRunFar: So, yeah. And when did you start seeing Katharina [Hartmuth] from Germany? When did you like, know you were catching her?
Delespierre: I was very focused in my race. So I passed, and after I want to finish but my teammates say to me in the last downhill, I was first. Before this moment, I didn’t know.
Delespierre: Yes. Focus, focus, focus. And when they say you are the first, world champion. “What? Really?” Seven kilometers before the finish.
iRunFar: So was that almost an advantage? Good not to know that you’re at the…
Delespierre: Yeah. I think because very calm. Not stressful, stressful during the last uphill. So for me it was good. Not focusing with the other. Just me, my race, my strategy, very calm, and it was good.
iRunFar: So with those last seven kilometers, did you know you had a few minutes? You were in a good position to win.
Delespierre: Yeah, yeah. But I had muscle cramps.
iRunFar: In your quads?
Delespierre: In my quads. So very scared to have to stop my race because of the cramp. So it was stressful at the end.
Delespierre: Yeah. Just six kilometers but with cramp is not easy.
iRunFar: So with those last six kilometers, were you not fully on the gas? Were you again, not quite at your limit?
Delespierre: Yeah, uh.
iRunFar: Not relaxed but not pushing every.
Delespierre: No. Flat section? Yes. Two last kilometers. But during the downhill, relax and not pushing, pushing, pushing.
iRunFar: To be smart.
iRunFar: And how did it feel to cross the line and become individual world champion? Because you’ve been a world champion on the French team.
iRunFar: But individual is different.
Delespierre: It’s a dream.
Delespierre: I mean, in my cloud, so it’s an incredible experience and a dream to finish the world championships.
iRunFar: And then you are also again, the French women’s team also won the team championships. And it was like a re-enactment of Thailand. The three of you just hugging at the finish line.
Delespierre: Yes. Very, very happy with my teammates. All the teammates. It’s an incredible race.
iRunFar: Yeah. What’s next for you?
Delespierre: I don’t know yet.
Delespierre: I don’t know. I will see. Not UTMB this year. I will see during the summer with my body, physically, mentally.
Delespierre: My job, too. So I will say, this year is not finished. It’s not over.
iRunFar: Yeah. You’re not done. But you’re going to enjoy this and see what you feel like.
Delespierre: Yeah. I want to recover first.
iRunFar: Excellent. Well, congratulations.
Delespierre: Thank you, Bryon.