Xavier started running as a seven-year-old, using long-distance races in the summer to train for cross-country skiing and biathlon events in the winter. But as he grew, his focus switched. In 2009, he entered a 70km trail race close to his home. The following year, he won the Ultra-Trail Courmayeur-Champex-Chamonix (CCC). He is now a three-time winner of the UTMB.
Xavier – why running, and how did you get started? At the beginning, it was about getting ready for the winter ski season and escaping from the world. There’s nothing simpler than running. Trail running took me off the beaten path, reaching incredible places in nature.
When you don’t feel like training, what inspires you to get out there? If I’m tired, I still go – just slowly. Every day counts. Every run counts. However bad you feel before, once you’ve been you’ve always got that satisfaction.
Can you tell us about a race you’d like to relive? Winning UTMB (Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc) 2018 was fantastic. It was a great revenge after my disqualification at the Hardrock 100 just a couple of months earlier.
And have there been any that taught you valuable lessons? Yes! On the Hardrock 100 in 2016, I got hit by the heat. I only had a visor, while the two in front of me had a cap. The visor wasn’t enough. I finished third, almost one hour behind the top two.
Do you have a special pre-race ritual? I’m not superstitious, but before every Mont Blanc race I go up a mountain close to my house. From there, I can view Mont Blanc and visualize the climb.
Is nutrition a big focus? What’s your go-to meal after a tough run? It’s super important: the key to performance, in fact. After a tough race, I love Cocoa-pistachio-choc ice cream.
What are your top tips for a speedy recovery after training? It’s about combining several things together. Stretching, auto-massage, Compex electrostimulation and Amino drinks are all part of the mix.
Who is your ‘team’? My parents; my coach Ben; Amélie ma chérie; my manager Thomas and, of course, everyone at On!
What’s the best running advice you’ve received? To be relaxed and to build up with strong abs.
Apart from running, what are your passions? I love nature, the outdoors and taking photos in simple moments. Cross-country skiing, too. And if I’m stuck indoors, I’ll play the guitar.
Finally, why On? For the effort it puts into sustainability and its future projects putting the environment first.