Nathalie Mauclair is the defending champion of the IAU Trail World Championships and she is racing on behalf of Team France. In the following interview, Nathalie talks about how she recovered from her big 2014 of racing, her training and brief injury scare ahead of this race, and what she thinks of the course after running all of it in training earlier this spring.
Read our in-depth women’s and men’s and previews to see who else is racing. Follow our live race coverage on Saturday (and late Friday in the States)!
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Nathalie Mauclair Pre-2015 IAU Trail World Championships Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m here on the shores of Lake Annecy in France ahead of the 2015 IAU Trail World Championships with the defending champion, Nathalie Mauclair. How are you?
Nathalie Mauclair: I’m fine! And you?
iRunFar: Good. Thank you for speaking with me today. How are you doing?
Mauclair: I’m fine and am good for the race. I do a good preparation, both physical and mental.
iRunFar: Mental preparation—that’s important, too.
Mauclair: Yes. Last week I had little problem with a contraction on my leg, but now it’s good.
iRunFar: Now it’s good. Take enough rest, get a little work done on it, and now it’s okay?
Mauclair: Exactly. I stopped running for one week, and now it’s good.
iRunFar: Before we talk about Saturday’s race, let’s look back at your 2014. The last time we saw you racing in person was when you came in third at Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. Last year was your year of third places—third place at Western States, third place at UTMB, and third place at Diagonale des Fous. What a year for you! When you look back at 2014, what do you think of your year?
Mauclair: I [talk about] first Diagonale des Fous?
Mauclair: It was a very good year for me. I love ultra-trail. I love running during hours of the night and then the day and then the night… [laughs]
iRunFar: And then again… [laughs]
Mauclair: I like the nature. I love that stuff. So it’s a little different for the MaXi-Race because it’s short and it’s faster, so I don’t know how I can run fast, but we’ll see.
iRunFar: We’ll see. Talk about your winter and what you’ve been doing since Diagonale des Fous. Did you cross train this winter? What have you been doing?
Mauclair: I don’t understand.
iRunFar: Diagonale des Fous in the fall, after that did you have recovery or resting?
Mauclair: I stop during one month, just [walking] and bicycle, but nothing fast. I was tired. I started to run again in December and January. It’s important to recuperate.
iRunFar: I know you’ve done a little bit of training races in preparation for this one. What have been your training races?
Mauclair: I did a little race on Mont Ventoux [the Trail du Ventoux], but it was bad.
Mauclair: I finished sixth and my legs were hard and not good. I do a trip before and I was not in good condition.
Mauclair: We did a stage with the French team here and did reconnaissance on the trail, and I feel good now.
iRunFar: For a couple of days, you and the rest of the French team ran this course. You broke it up into stages. So, you’ve seen it all.
iRunFar: What are your favorite parts of this course? What do you like the most?
Mauclair: The trail is very difficult because there are down and up and down. I think when I will see the port…
iRunFar: When you’re up there and you can see down there…
Mauclair: I will feel good.
iRunFar: To me, that says something when a European woman who’s used to being on steep trails in Europe says, “This course, I’m a little bit nervous about the ups and the downs.” Is it really that steep in places, that it’s shocking?
Mauclair: It’s varied with lots of up and down and I live in the plains, so it’s difficult for me. I think it’s a race for women in the mountains who are used to using sticks. I don’t do that.
iRunFar: No sticks for you.
Mauclair: So, it’s different.
iRunFar: You are the IAU Trail World Champion from 2013, the last time this race took place. You’re the defending champion. The course in 2013 versus the course this time—so different, very, very different. What’s it like to be the defending champion but for a totally different kind of race?
Mauclair: It’s very, very different. I think two years ago it was a good race where we always can run. We went up but we could run up the hill and the same when we go down. Here, we can only walk as it’s difficult. It’s a mountain race. It’s good for trail because trails we can do in the plains and the mountains, so it’s good to do one year and the different year after. It’s good. Every woman has a chance to have a win.
iRunFar: My last question for you: another thing that is unique about this race is the start time—3:30 a.m. is when you start on Saturday. That could be the earliest race start I’ve ever heard of. What do you think of 3:30?
Mauclair: Fun! It’s mad to start at 3:30 in the morning.
iRunFar: How will you manage that? Will you try to go to sleep really early the night before?
Mauclair: Yes, I think I will take dinner about 6:00 p.m. I will try to sleep, and I will wake up at 1:00 a.m., and I will eat and change and go to the start.
iRunFar: And pretend that it’s 5:00 a.m. or 6:00 a.m., not 3:30, right?
Mauclair: Right, it’s very difficult to run in the middle of the night. It’s incredible!
iRunFar: It is incredible. Best of luck to you.
Mauclair: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: We look forward to seeing you out there.
iRunFar: I have a bonus question for you. One extra question. You’re now a Mizuno athlete this year. What shoes will you be wearing on Saturday?
Mauclair: I will try with the [Wave] Mujin.
iRunFar: The which one, sorry?
iRunFar: The Mujin.
Mauclair: It’s a good shoe with a good traction on the…?
iRunFar: On the mud and the soil?
Mauclair: Yes. I’m good in this shoe.
iRunFar: Best of luck to you, Nathalie. Thank you again.
Mauclair: Thank you.