France’s Nathalie Mauclair is the two-time defending winner of the IAU Trail World Championships, and she’s in Portugal to try to make it three straight. In the following interview, Nathalie talks about her success at the world championships, why we’ve seen her race less this year, what she thinks of the course, and how she thinks she’ll do.
For more on who else is racing, check out our in-depth women’s and men’s previews. You can also follow along with our extensive live race coverage on Saturday.
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Nathalie Mauclair Pre-2016 IAU Trail World Championships Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Nathalie Mauclair before the 2016 IAU Trail World Championships. Welcome, Nathalie.
Nathalie Mauclair: Welcome.
iRunFar: You have been here in Portugal for more than one week now, and you’ve run the course.
iRunFar: What did you think?
Mauclair: It’s difficult terrain. There are hard climbs and technical downhills. When I came in August, it was dry, and now there are many waters and rivers. It will be technical I think.
iRunFar: Not a fast course?
iRunFar: You’ve run the last two world championships. How would this compare to the course in Annecy? Is it faster or slower, do you think?
Mauclair: It’s different. The first one was in Britain. The second was a long way around the lake of Annecy. Here, it’s many little climbs, little downs, so many rollers to go on every time. It will be difficult all the race. The finish, we can think it will be easier, but there is all the time [rolling motions with hand].
iRunFar: There is a long way down to the end, but it’s not just down. It’s [rolling motion].
iRunFar: It’s very hard to get in a rhythm.
Mauclair: Yes. There is a large section of easy trail, and after, technical. It’s great.
iRunFar: You’ve won the last two world championships, and now you’re back. What do you think your success has been the last two times?
Mauclair: The two times before, it will be amazing. It’s difficult to say what will be the race. We have to run the race.
iRunFar: It’s not just luck. You’ve done it twice now. Is it something you concentrate on very strongly?
Mauclair: Yes, and there are many tough women like Emelie Forsberg, Ruth Croft, Anne-Lise Rousset, Caroline Chaverot. There are many people for only three places. It will be difficult.
iRunFar: Your French team, you won last year, and once again the French women’s team is very strong.
Mauclair: Yes, but this time, there are other good teams like Italy, Spain, England, so we have to make the race to know what will be.
iRunFar: In previous years, you’ve run many races each year. This year, one race maybe on the world stage at Marathon des Sables.
Mauclair: Yes, I was tired. I was very tired. When the date for the world championships was known, I said, “I can’t run all the weekends and do the world championships.” So I do this choice to run less and to be fresh and to make other races next year. Yes, I was tired physically and mentally.
iRunFar: You decided to rest for most of this year. How did you enjoy the Marathon des Sables?
Mauclair: it was a good adventure. During the week, we do only run, sleep, eat—it’s fantastic!
iRunFar: Vacation! Then you’ve run a few races with your sponsor, Raidlight?
Mauclair: Yes, I’ve discovered new parts of the world in Mauritius and Turkey. I go to China in November, so it will be a good trip.
iRunFar: But this is the main goal?
iRunFar: How do you feel? Do you feel strong? How has your training been?
Mauclair: It’s difficult for me when I do this race with less people, so I am comfortable [in those races]. [The competition], it’s not the top. It’s different. I need competition to do well.
iRunFar: Do you feel you’ve had good training?
Mauclair: Yes, good training, and no boo-boos, so it’s good.
iRunFar: Best of luck, Nathalie. Enjoy.
Mauclair: Thank you very much, Bryon.