Peter Fraňo Post-2023 Trail World Championships 80k Interview

An interview with Peter Fraňo after his third-place finish at the 2023 Trail World Championships 80k.

By on June 16, 2023 | Comments

Peter Fraňo of Slovakia finished third in the 2023 Trail World Championships 80k in Innsbruck-Stubai, Austria. In this interview, conducted in writing the week after the race, he talks about how the day went, a little about the trail running scene in Slovakia, and what it meant to race as part of a team.

For more on what happened in the race, read our 2023 Trail World Championships 80k results article.

Peter Fraňo finishing the 2023 Trail World Championships 80k

Peter Fraňo finishing the 2023 Trail World Championships 80k in third position. Photo: iRunFar/Bryon Powell

iRunFar: Congratulations on your great run. What’s your history with sports? How did you get into running?

Peter Fraňo: I played football until I was 18 and then I had plenty of time, nothing to do, and due to living close to the mountains I started to do ski mountaineering. In the summer when the snow melted running was a natural movement, so I started running.

iRunFar: What’s the trail running and ultrarunning scene like in Slovakia? Tell us about the community, the trails, the races.

Fraňo: The trail running community is growing really fast and we have a lot of local races every week in all distances. I think the trail running community is like everywhere, all know each other, and the atmosphere is very friendly. We have very beautiful trails, similar to Innsbruck. We are a small country but with the perfect conditions for training for trails. We have steep uphills, technical ridges… so I think it is the perfect place for running.

iRunFar: Of the men who ended up on the podium at this race, you went out the most aggressively on the first 18-kilometer loop. Was it your plan to run near the front early in the race?

Fraňo: I had no plan for the beginning. I just wanted to stay in my comfort zone, ideally close to the front of the race, but I was also prepared for the situation that I could be somewhere in the middle of the starting field. I was surprised that I was close to the front from the beginning so sometimes I had to calm down a little bit and slow down to stay in the group because I was close to the biggest favorites that have much more experience in ultra than me.

iRunFar: You fell back a few positions after the first loop. Were you worried that you were falling back in the race field, or were you simply relaxing into your own race?

Fraňo: I wanted to do my own race and after the 18k loop, I saw that the race started and runners started to push a little bit more. I tried to stay in my comfort zone for the first half of the race, so I didn’t care about my position.

iRunFar: By 50k, you had moved into third position. Did you make a strong move somewhere on the course? 

Fraňo: The plan was to keep calm until aid station number three and from there start competing. I ran really well uphill around kilometer 45. I was able to run almost the whole uphill without walking, and there I passed Thibaut [Garrivier]Zach [Miller], and Aritz [Egea]. At that time, I felt really good.

iRunFar: What was it like running in third position for so long? Were you nervous? Excited?

Fraňo: It was nice, but I didn’t feel anything special. Sometimes I saw a cameraman run with me, but the feeling was the same as usual.

iRunFar: What’s your best memory from these world championships?

Fraňo: Probably when I saw the Slovak team at the finish line — they were really happy, maybe more than me. Usually I run alone, maybe with one person who provides support but here it was really nice that we were a team and we supported each other. And for a small moment I felt that it isn’t an individual sport, but I had a crew there.

iRunFar: What other race or races will be your focus for the rest of this year?

Fraňo: I want to qualify for the CCC so I will do Val d’Aran [by UTMB] and if I succeed, I will do CCC. Besides that, shorter races from the Skyrunner World Series.

iRunFar: Congratulations on your third-place finish!

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.