"The important thing is to blend in with the surroundings"
Pépino isn't very tall, but he runs fast and, most importantly, for a very long time! Pépino, also known as Xavier Thévenard, is the darling of the French public. The former biathlete – he was a member of the French junior team – is now one of the best ultra-trail runners on the planet. Passionate about sport, he trains in his homeland of the Jura by running, biking, skiing and kayaking. This hard-working athlete likes to mix his disciplines to keep motivation levels high. The secret perhaps to an amazing track record.
Cham' through and through
The "Little Prince" of Chamonix, his favorite playground, is capable of performing over all distances. He's also the only person to have won all the UTMB® races: OCC®, TDS®, CCC® and of course the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc®. In 2018, equipped with his Julbo Aero UTMB® sunglasses, he won this iconic race for a third time (171k, 10,000 meters of elevation gain) in 20 hours and 44 minutes, equalling the record of Spaniard Kilian Jornet and his compatriot François D'Haene. Two legends that he can now look right in the eye.
Battling exhaustion, overcoming pain, facing the elements, whether cold, wind, rain or snow, fighting against himself and the deep inner journey this requires – Xav loves it all. He's not running after victories, even though they come thick and fast (90k Marathon du Mont-Blanc and Ultra-Trail Mt. Fuji in Japan in 2019). With energy and generosity, he's running after time, day and night. His friends confirm it: the man's a machine!
At the start of each of these extreme races, where fear and doubt mingle with excitement and desire in his head, happiness is the primary emotion felt by the straightforward and unassuming Xavier Thévenard. He manages to push his limits to the max thanks to the sheer pleasure and joy that nature gives him. Working as a ski instructor, the mountains are his life. An environment he wants to protect so that he can continue to enjoy all of these wild spaces for years to come and the things that make ultra-trail so magical – the forests, glaciers, rivers and mountain pastures. So that he can carry on sharing intense experiences with his supporters. And above all so that he never stops running, his eyes focused on the next challenge.