Xavier Thevenard: « This partnership stands to reason »
The last Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® winner is from the Jura and he is almost 28 years old. He has also signed a three-year agreement with JULBO. Let’s interview this outdoor sports fanatic who is really proud of his region, the Jura.
You are emotionally attached to the Jura area, therefore, what does this three-year partnership with JULBO mean for you?
Xavier: Everybody knows my affection to my department. I even crossed Chamonix finish line with my “Made in Jura” flag. I grew up in those mountains. The Jura is my personal playground and my training place as well! This is why this partnership stands to reason and I am very pleased to start this new adventure with JULBO. I also love other outdoor sports like mountain-biking and cross-country skiing. It completely fits with JULBO brand image. Therefore, it is a logical partnership.
Why is it important to wear high-performance sunglasses during a twenty-hour long Ultra Trail?
Xavier: Above all, it is more comfortable. When the sun is shining bright, just like this summer during the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®, your face’s muscles tense up. In the long run, you tend to tire easily. I have bright eyes and I am more sensitive to light than others. In really tough moments, you can also hide your emotions and nobody knows how exhausted you are (laugh)! Then, you go back to your own world and you keep running whatever happens.
Xavier, last season was unbelievable, especially when you won for the second time the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB®). What could you say about it?
Xavier: It was my season main objective. The UTMB® is internationally renowned and, obviously, this race matters to a lot of trail runners. Therefore, this second victory was a great satisfaction to me. This time, it was a little bit more stressful because I was expected to be among the leaders. We definitely proved we could handle the pressure well. If you win the UTMB® it is a successful season, whatever your other results are.
You are the only one trail runner who won the three main races from Chamonix*? What do you want now? Win again here or would you like to move on?
Xavier: From now on, I have the opportunity to run famous ultra-trails abroad. I do not want to limit myself to French races. This year, I will be able to run in the United States, in Japan and in New-Zealand. I plan to make the most of it. These are great destinations even if I have no preference whatsoever. I am pleased to have the possibility to run these new races. The race of my dreams is the UTMB® and, clearly, it will always be that way.
Last November, you made a 16.20 hour long trek cycling, kayaking and trail running between Jougne (Doubs) and Chamonix. What is the role of this kind of adventure in your life?
Xavier: Competition is important, but firstly, I have a great passion for sports and I need these moments of personal adventure. Regularly, people ask me what I plan to do after my career but, honestly, I do not have a proper “career path”. One day I will be less competitive in order to do sports I love. Adventure is part of my life and I need it for my well-being. Even if I stop professional competition, I am not ready to stop waking up at 5.00 am to go running. When I was a kid I was already attracted by this kind of trek. For instance, in middle school I was obsessed by the Grand Colombier pass (HC pass) and I decided to climb its fourth faces in the same day. I was only 14 or 15.
*Courmayeur – Champeix – Chamonix : 100 km
Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie : 119 km
Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® : 170 km
Date of birth: 06.03.1988
Facebook: Xavier Thevenard
He has 7 wins to his name
Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®: Two-time winner in 2013 and 2015
Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie: Winner in 2014
Transju Trail: Two-time winner in 2011 and 2013
Endurance Trail des Templiers: Winner in 2011
Courmayeur – Champeix – Chamonix: Winner in 2010.