Via a steady start-to-finish performance, Nathalie Mauclair took third at the 2017 Hardrock 100. In the following interview, Nathalie talks about how she intentionally took a slower start in order to run strong later, the storm that she and other competitors weathered together, how the course’s high altitude affected her, and her late-race cat-and-mouse game with fourth-place finisher Anna Frost.
Read our 2017 Hardrock 100 results article to find out what else happened at the race and for links to other post-Hardrock interviews. Watch Nathalie and the rest of the women’s podium finish on video.
Nathalie Mauclair Post-2017 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Nathalie Mauclair after her third-place finish at the 2017 Hardrock 100. Congratulations!
Nathalie Mauclair: Thank you, Bryon.
iRunFar: How do you feel after finishing Hardrock?
Mauclair: A little tired and very proud.
iRunFar: Why is that?
Mauclair: It’s a race that is very difficult. The mountains are wonderful. The atmosphere around the race, all is good. I’m very happy to finish and to live this experience.
iRunFar: How is this atmosphere is different than other races?
Mauclair: There are few runners, only 150. I like when I race in the U.S. to run with pacers.
iRunFar: Who were your pacers?
Mauclair: I had two pacers—Amy [Sproston] at first, and Guillaume Calmettes in second. It’s someone who runs with us. The organization say that since this kilometer you can have someone.
iRunFar: If you wish.
Mauclair: Yes, I like the experience like with raid multisport (adventure racing).
iRunFar: With teammates.
Mauclair: Yes, we are a little team together. We have to make the best of us. They give me information. They say, “Be careful, there is a storm.” It’s nice. I like that.
iRunFar: And you get to meet new people if you wish. Let’s talk about your race. Sometimes in the past you’ve gone out fast, but in this race, you were in fifth runner and some time back very quickly.
Mauclair: Yes, since the first climb, the girls passed me and I [shadow] them a little and after, they were away. But I don’t worry. I tell in my mind that I can come after, and it’s what happens.
iRunFar: Were you thinking at all about your experience at the world championships a few weeks ago?
Mauclair: Yes, exactly. In ultra-trail, 100k is very long, and in my mind now with my experience, I know if I start more slowly, I finish better because on the Grand Raid de la Reunion, I start usually fast, but at the end it is difficult. I have more experience, and I try another strategy.
iRunFar: Yes. After you were going through this first part, were you amongst the many runners who had the very bad storm? What was that experience like?
Mauclair: Yes, I was in the mountain before Handies Peak…
iRunFar: Pole Creek before you descend to Sherman?
Mauclair: Exactly. I was with three other runners, three other guys. I was happy they were there because I’m not alone in the mountains. So we go together to Sherman. After, we do our race, but it was very important. I don’t know if I run one day behind a storm like that. There was ice (hail) on the ground. There was a lot of water and storm.
iRunFar: Lightning and thunder?
Mauclair: Yes. I think it made the race more difficult. I was cold.
iRunFar: When did you warm up? When did the weather become good or less bad?
Mauclair: I had only in my pack a rain jacket, so I put it on. I tell in my mind to run to have less cold. After the high point (Handies Peak), I go on the descent (to Grouse) and I was better.
iRunFar: When did you start feeling better? When did you start getting close to Anna Frost or Hannah Green?
Mauclair: When the warmth started really was when I saw Hannah stopped the race, I think?
iRunFar: Hanna Green is still coming!
Mauclair: Yes, but she was tired. So in my mind I said maybe I can win little minutes. So it was at Telluride, and I tried to come back in the race and to win minutes.
iRunFar: When did you see Anna Frost? Were you ahead of her at this point?
Mauclair: I saw her at Ouray. We were together at the aid station. I started in front. After, we play mouse and cat. We play cat and mouse.
iRunFar: You were the cat?
Mauclair: Sometimes. At the finish, I was…
iRunFar: But even with some of a few kilometers to go, it was not decided.
iRunFar: Did you have any times in the race where you had a big challenge or did not know you’d finish?
Mauclair: When I left Ouray aid station, I was very tired and wanted to sleep.
iRunFar: That was not late. That was in the evening.
Mauclair: It is the first time during a race that I was tired, so each time after I take coffee at the aid station and it’s good and I feel it. I think it was about the altitude. It’s different. My body wasn’t completely acclimated.
iRunFar: With the high altitude, did you have any elevation above where… was there a line? Where was the line for you?
Mauclair: Yes, 3,600 meters. When I was above, it was pfffffff. When I was below, it was better and I can run. When I was above… So, it’s difficult. I wanted to say there is a lot of the high points at the front of the race, so it was difficult.
iRunFar: Yeah, in Pole Creek, it’s flat, but you’re very high.
Mauclair: Exactly. I look at my watch and…[surprised]?? Whoa!
iRunFar: It’s flat, and you’re [panting]…!
Mauclair: Exactly, so I was jogging.
iRunFar: Not pushing. Not fast.
Mauclair: Not possible.
iRunFar: What was your favorite part of the race or what experience?
Mauclair: It’s difficult. It’s a big adventure. I like the start with the little (few) people in the road.
iRunFar: Not 2,000.
Mauclair: Not music.
iRunFar: You like the simple.
Mauclair: Exactly. And the same for the finish where there are a few people and to make the kiss on the rock. It’s great. The mountains, they are wonderful mountains.
iRunFar: Do you think you might come back if you have the chance?
Mauclair: Today, I say no, but after some time a few weeks from now, I don’t know. Today was so difficult. I’m tired.
iRunFar: What other races will you do this summer?
Mauclair: The CCC, yes, and I will do at the end of the year, the first MdS in Peru.
iRunFar: You’ve really enjoyed the Marathon des Sables the past few years. A new stage race?
iRunFar: The CCC this year, in the past it’s been strong, but this year the level is much higher. It’s not an easy win.
Mauclair: No, and the girls are faster and I am older a little.
iRunFar: Maybe you can teach the children.
Mauclair: [laughs] I think it’s better after the Hardrock to not do UTMB. When I did it in 2015, it was so wonderful. I’m afraid not to live the memory.
iRunFar: You keep the memory. The win is your last memory of UTMB.
Mauclair: Yes, exactly, and it’s good to make new challenges, too.
iRunFar: Congratulations on completing this new challenge. Excellent job.
Mauclair: Thank you. Thank you, Bryon.