Xavier Thévenard has twice won UTMB, while also finishing fourth last year. In the following interview, Xavier talks about what brings him back to the UTMB races once again, how he’s moved on after Hardrock, and what he thinks about he fourth-place finish at last year’s UTMB.
Read our men’s and women’s previews to see who else is racing before following our UTMB live coverage starting on Friday.
Xavier Thévenard Pre-UTMB 2018 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Xavier Thevenard before the 2018 UTMB. How are you, Xavier?
Xavier Thévenard: Good, good. Thank you.
iRunFar: You are back at UTMB one more time. Why do you love these Mont Blanc races so much?
Thevenard: I love all the atmosphere, the route of the race, the mountain. I love coming back again around the Mont Blanc, because I feel so many beautiful emotions around the race.
iRunFar: You’ve had so much success here—many, many, many wins and a fourth place here last year. It’s all good memories here, yes?
Thevenard: Yes, sure, I have so many beautiful memories in this place. Every year, each time I’d like to do it again, but it’s difficult. I’ll try.
iRunFar: You’ve won UTMB here two times. Last year you were fourth. Are you still happy with your race here last year?
Thevenard: Yes, I couldn’t be sad to be fourth because just before, I had some problems. So if you finish the race it’s already a success.
iRunFar: The finish was a success, but you felt like you had a good race?
Thevenard: Yes, it’s a huge race and a hard one.
iRunFar: This year, you ran the Hardrock, and there was a difficult situation at the end. How have you mentally moved past that situation?
Thevenard: I had many, many questions, and I realize there is a difference between the US culture and the French culture, but I keep the good feelings and I’m still strong even after the problem at the Hardrock.
iRunFar: You found the motivation to continue and to train hard?
Thevenard: Yes, yes, it gave me strength for the new race because I didn’t want to say they are right.
iRunFar: Yes, of course. You have your opinion. People can understand it would be difficult.
iRunFar: You still ran 150k. How is your physical recovery?
Thevenard: The recovery is good because the speed is less than the UTMB, but I must take care.
iRunFar: Have you ever done two races that are so difficult and so long that are this close together—races that are 100 miles in the mountains that are one month apart?
Thevenard: No, I ran a race at the beginning of the month [race name?] that was 45k.
iRunFar: Do you think it will be a big challenge to run a race like Hardrock and then one month and one week later to run UTMB?
Thevenard: Yes, it’s the first time I’ve run a 100 miles at the end of July and again at the end of August, so I will see on Friday.
iRunFar: There’s no Francois D’haene, but there’s Kilian [Jornet]and Jim Walmsleyand yourself and Luis Alberto Hernando. Are you excited for the biggest match up of the year?
Thevenard: Yes, that’s all? I don’t know how the race will go on, but I hope I will be able to run a very long time.
iRunFar: How do you think you can improve upon your race last year at UTMB? How can you do better?
Thevenard: Maybe I can improve the time on the CP during the assistance. Maybe that’s the only way to not be fast enough. Maybe also on the nutrition.
iRunFar: Good luck! Enjoy the race!
Thevenard: Thank you.