Francesca Canepa won in the 2018, at the end of an extraordinary race, UTMB; she was the the first Italian women to do this! Before winning the “Sommet mondial du Trail” Francesca won also in BUT Formazza: we have to interview her!
- The UTMB triumph, the two victories at the Tor Des Geants, victories in trail and ultra trails all over the world; you’re one of the tips of the international trail movement, yet you started running late … maybe that’s the secret to your success?
Well, I think it contributes; those who have been running for a long time can be worn out; I am however always been an athlete (before dedicating herself to trail running Francesca was a snowboard champion, ed) and this has certainly had a positive impact when I approached running. Furthermore, I have a conservative approach, I don’t “kill me” in training, first of all I listen to my body.
- You defined yourself “White Wolf”: how much and how did this desire not to conform, to follow your instincts, not to take anything for granted, affect your career?
It certainly had costs, It asked me for more energy, more attention, more strength to get my results; if You are not part of a pack, You have accounts to pay. But I am like this, I dont’ do what I think is not suitable for me. I am not part of any group, I don’t like the inside dynamics, I prefer to act following my thoughts, my instincts: in this way I can better manage the hardships and the sacrifices and I can finalize the energies where needed. If You don’t conform You can expand yourself and grow, which is what interests me: I also play sports to improve as a person. I mean, I want to have control! For example, I at last decided to participate in BUT in 2018. But when I put it into my head I do it! Otherwise, there’s no fun!
- During your sporting career did you have moments when you said: enough? And where did you find the strength to react?
Basta al fare sport non lo direi mai: io sono nata atleta e voglio fare l’atleta, l’allenamento quotidiano è il mio pane da quando facevo scuola di danza da piccola. Dico basta alle situazioni, quando non hanno più nulla da darmi, come accaduto allo snowboard: nonostante lo meritassi ampiamente, e i risultati sono lì a dimostrarlo, non sono stata selezionata per le Olimpiadi, e io ho deciso di cambiare, prima con lo sci di fondo e subito dopo con la corsa.
Anche nella corsa, chi lo sa, se arriverò a un punto in cui mi sentirò stufa, smetterò; di sicuro non smetterò di fare sport.I would never say enough to sport: I was born as athlete and I want to be an athlete, my daily training has been in my dna since I was a child dance school. I say enough to the situations, when they no longer have anything to give to me, as happened to the snowboard: although I deserved it widely, and the results are there to prove it, I was not selected for the Olympic Games, and I decided to change, first with nordic ski and then after with running. Even in trunning, who knows, if I get to a point where I’ll feel tired, I’ll stop; I certainly won’t stop playing sports.
Instead you find in the motivation: the strength to go forward if I chose to do an activity and I feel it inside me, it vibrates with me, I go on anyway!
- What advice would you give to those who want to enter the Ultra trail world?
Don’t listen to the clichés, from long training to shoes, not following the masses in preparation; many people say: I’m afraid. TRY and see what happens, with an open mind; follow your rhythm, so that your experience gives you something good; you have to LISTEN to yourself! I started like this: I first did a 26 km, then immediately after a marathon: I jumped and saw that I could do well. Clearly the results may be different, but it is the approach that counts.
- Last year you were a great star on the tracks of BUT Formazza,, what did Val Formazza leave in Your heart?
È sicuramente molto bella! Il percorso mi è piaciuto molto anche se, per essere sincera io non ho molto idea di quello che c’è sopra al di sopra del mio ginocchio, sono sempre concentrata sul percorso! Comunque è ben organizzata e ben segnata, poi io mi trovo a mio agio nelle comunità Walser, e anche il clima che si respirava in zona partenza/arrivo mi è piaciuto.
Tornando al percorso, l’ho trovato un ottimo allenamento, è corribile ma alterna tratti diversi in cui devi anche camminare. Io la consiglio! It is certainly very beautiful! I really enjoyed the journey, although to be honest I don’t have much idea of what’s above my knee, I am always focused on the course! However it is well organized and well marked, then I am comfortable in the Walser communities, and I liked the atmosphere in the start/finish area. Going back to the course, I found it to be a great workout, You can run on it but alternates different sections in which you have to walk. I recommend it!
- During the winter you enjoyed snowboarding, your first great love, with excellent results, but what will your 2019 goals be in trail running?
I movimenti dello snowboard sono parte di me, qualcosa che il mio corpo ha imparato e che mi da ancora una grande soddisfazione, più della corsa, che non sempre è così divertente…
Lo snowboard prevede un gesto tecnico che mi fa concentrare e mi diverte, e tutto si risolve in pochi minuti.
Obiettivi: sto andando a braccio a causa di un problema al tendine che dovrebbe essere finalmente in via di risoluzione; nell’immediato dovrei correre alla Jiangle 100 Trail Challenge 2019, in Cina, se riuscirò a ottenere il visto, poi a fine giugno ci sarà la Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, dove so già che soffrirò le pene dell’inferno, letteralmente: farà caldissimo ed è troppo corribile per le mie caratteristiche, ma non potevo non accettare l’invito!
Vorrei anche tornare all’UTMB: lo scorso anno è stata un’esperienza magnifica, ho corso in uno stato di grazia, ma… c’è un ma: voglio vedere se riesco a migliorare il tempo perché nel 2018 tra Vallorcine e La Flégère ho fatto tantissima fatica e ho perso tempo.
Magari correrò di nuovo la BUT… ormai lo avrete capito, deciderò all’ultimo! The movements of the snowboard are part of me, something that my body has learned and that still gives me great satisfaction, more than running, which is not always so funny… Snowboarding involves a technical gesture that makes me concentrate and amuses me, and everything is solved in a few minutes. Trail Running Objectives: I am deciding day by day because of a tendon problem that should finally be resolved; in the immediate future I should run at the Jiangle 100 Trail Challenge 2019, in China, if I can get a visa, then at the end of June there will be the Western States 100-Mile Endurance Run, a race where I know that for me it will be like running through hell, literally: it will be very hot and a too much fast course for my skills, but I could not refuse the invitation! I would also like to return to the UTMB: last year it was a wonderful experience, I ran in ecstasy but I want to see if I can improve my chronometric result because in 2018 between Vallorcine and La Flégère I made a lot of effort and I lost time.
Maybe I will run the BUT Formazza again… As usual I will decide at the last moment!