The 2017 champ Rémi Bonnet heads into Sunday’s Pikes Peak Marathon with the fastest personal best on the course. In the following interview, Rémi talks about why he thinks he’s running for second, where he can improve at this race and overall, and what he thinks he can run on Sunday.
For more on who’s running the race, check out our men’s and women’s previews, and, then, follow along with our live race coverage on Sunday!
Rémi Bonnet Pre-2019 Pikes Peak Marathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Rémi Bonnet before the 2019 Pikes Peak Marathon. How are you, Rémi?
Rémi Bonnet: I am fine, thank you.
iRunFar: Yeah. Not to put any pressure on you but you are the fastest returning runner at Pikes Peak this year.
Bonnet: Yeah, but I think one Catalan guy’s [Kilian Jornet] a bit faster than me this year. We’ll try to fight for the second position I think this year.
iRunFar: Come on, you might be able to give Kilian a run for his money.
Bonnet: Yeah, we saw that the last days, I run with Kilian yesterday to the peaks and during training he was like, we saw that he was really in shape. So yeah we will try to follow him as long as possible and see what happens.
iRunFar: Yeah. And then it will be a good race and a lot of competition this year.
Bonnet: Yeah, that’s really good for the race, also for the time; to have a good time I think you have to have competition. Because when I did three years ago I was alone on the course, it was hard to really push hard so this year will be better for –
iRunFar: And you still ran a strong time of 3:37. But how?
Bonnet: Yeah, but I think I can go much faster in the uphill.
iRunFar: Yeah? Like how much, what?
Bonnet: I think maybe five minutes faster.
iRunFar: So maybe overall you could go for 3-and-a-half hours?
Bonnet: I will try, yeah.
iRunFar: Who do you – I think it’s clear that you think Kilian is a favourite for the race.
Bonnet: For sure.
iRunFar: Who do you think you are most likely to be challenging?
Bonnet: I think a lot of people can fight for the two other spots on the podium but Thibault Baronian, I think will be good. There is the young Jacob Adkin can be also strong; he proved that in the European Championship. He became the European Champion this year in mountain running. So yeah, it will be really open I think like maybe 10 people can do the podium so that’s really exciting.
iRunFar: Now, it’s fun on the race like this because some people are better uphill runners and some are better downhill runners and you have all uphill and, then, all downhill. So where is your strength?
Bonnet: Yeah for me for sure I will try to make a gap in the uphill and then be safer in the downhill, because I know that I am a bit slower in the downhill then the others. So yeah I will try my best in the uphill and see what happens.
iRunFar: That’s your strength?
iRunFar: You’re only 24 years old and you’ve had a lot of success, where do you think you can go from here?
Bonnet: Yeah, you can always improve when you know a bit more about your body, how you feel during the race and how you manage the uphill. Because I saw this year in the Marathon du Mont-Blanc for example I think I went to fast and then and the last 2 kilometers of the way I completely blew up. And I was second there and then I finished four – yeah five at the end, so I lose three positions in less than 2 kilometers. That is because I maybe hit not the right things during the race. I have to learn.
iRunFar: Still a lot of experience can help.
iRunFar: And you just said that you are maybe not the best descender is that something you might work on in the future?
Bonnet: Yeah also but for trainings I prefer to go up so yeah, but I have to improve that if I want to win some races.
iRunFar: Last year you won Zegama Marathon, which is very technical. How did that happen?
Bonnet: Yeah, I think I was like other minded during the race, because I know that I can win so in the downhill I just go for the win. I think when you are in first position it is easier to go fast.
iRunFar: Yeah. And this year you stopped at Zegama, what happened?
Bonnet: Yeah, I had some cramps in the first down hill so I try to keep until the 30 km and then it was like it was impossible to work so I don’t know why I get these cramps but yeah.
iRunFar: It was a one-time thing?
iRunFar: How do you feel your fitness is this year compared to previous years?
Bonnet: Yeah, I feel really good, the trainings goes well the last day so I am pretty confident for the race and we will see on Sunday.
iRunFar: And you’ve been here for 10 days.
iRunFar: So where have you visited in Colorado?
Bonnet: We stay here and do some training up Pikes. So yeah we focus on the race. Yeah we will see.
iRunFar: Excellent. Well good luck Rémi, enjoy it this weekend.
Bonnet: Thank you.