Fr Xavier Thévenard

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® Mont-Blanc.

 

A Fork in the Trail

 

Trail runner Xavier is a superstar with a global following. His connection to nature and commitment to a sustainable lifestyle is evidenced by his not flying to races. He has the platform and credibility to encourage others within the trail running community to follow his lead.

 

Xavier and On have embarked on a new project – A Fork In The Trail – highlighting Xavier’s personality and passion and combining all the elements he loves: nature, trail running, and sustainability. 

 

The goal is simply to get people in the trail running community to think about embracing a more sustainable lifestyle, and spreading the message that we are all at A Fork In The Trail. Find out more.

     

 

UTMB® Mont-Blanc

 

171km in distance, over 10000m of elevation, every type of terrain, changeable mountain conditions, and running through day and night. This is the UTMB®.

 

The UTMB® is the final race in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, a week-long seven race series held on the majestic Mont Blanc. It is considered to be Europe’s most challenging ultramarathon competition. The race route, which follows the Tour du Mont Blanc, takes the very best elite runners around 20 hours to complete as they navigate lung-busting climbs and quad-busting descents mixed with high altitude, extreme weather and night time trail running. Despite the sheer physical challenge, more than 2500 competitors line up in Chamonix to start the race every year, and Xavier is one of them. 

 

 

Xavier is no stranger to the UTMB® or the other races that make up the week-long event, having taken part in the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc festival since 2010. Already known as a legend of the UTMB® he is currently the only athlete to achieve the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc Grand Slam, pushing himself to victory in the CCC (2010), the TDS (2014), the OCC (2016) and three separate wins of the UTMB® itself in 2013, 2015 and 2018. He also clocked 4th and 2nd place finishes in the UTMB® in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

 

 

Q&A with Xavier Thévenard

 

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.

 

What’s your favorite On gear? It doesn’t matter if I’m tired and out on trails, I always feel great in The Cloudultra. And the Lightweight Shorts are super well-fitted.

The Cloudultra
The ultra cushioned, ultra comfortable, ultra versatile trail running shoe. No distance is off-limits.
See Xavier's shoe

Finally, why On? For the effort it puts into sustainability and its future projects putting the environment first.