Empowering women – Nathalie Mauclair

Nathalie Mauclair is one of the most iconic trail runner with some victories on the most famous races in the world, winning the UTMB® in 2015 and the Diagonale des fous in 2013.

She started running at 40 years old as a challenge on a marathon race with a friend and never stopped since. She is also a nurse and a mother and managed to get a carrier into trail running along with her family and work life. She is a real giver, always taking care of everyone and making sure everyone is feeling good.

How did you start running?

On the 31st December 2019 I was celebrating new year eve with my friends and one of them asked me to run a marathon with him. At first, I wasn’t very excited about going running, especially a marathon (long distance for me!), however I learnt that it was happening on the 9th of May, the day of my 40th Birthday and that seemed like a great challenge. Moreover, it was around the Mont Saint-Michel, a beautiful place! I was surprised when I ran it in less then 3h … It is where it all began!

Why did you keep on running?

With this first experience I discovered that my body and soul had resources that I wasn’t aware of. It gave me the eager to keep running. I became second of the trail du bout du monde the same year in July and won the French championship in my category in half marathon (1h21) and marathon (2h49) in autumn. Within 10 months I was one of the best French runners on those distances. This pushed me towards trying trail running.

What does sport bring you in your everyday life?

It gave me freedom, a way to get rid of the stress and escape from my everyday life. While running, I don’t think about anything special, I observe nature, listen to my feelings, body and above all, I feel free.

What does it mean being a woman in your sport?

I feel like today being a woman practicing sport is still a chance. Even if things are evolving women don’t allow themselves to have an activity or a leisure. I receive a lot of messages from women telling that I am a “model” for them. At first, I founded it weird and felt very unconfortable, however I now feel like if I can be of any help towards helping some to flourish in their sport practices, it is for the best!

Do you feel any difference from being a women in your sport?

Differences from being a man and a woman are numerous, but I would like to highlight the differences from a race point of view and media opinion that are to me the most striking.

The main difference to highlight is regularity, especially while racing. I often start at my own rhythm with numerous men running ahead, then in the mid-race I start to pass some runners, some were telling me “There you are! I knew you were coming …”. This is thanks to race management that I usually finished within the 15th scratch either on UTMB, MDS or Western State.

The other difference is in the media coverage of women’s performances. I feel like we don’t highlight as much women’s race performances as we do with men. I remembered doing a great result in both scratch and among the feminine and none of those results were quoted. Someone told me “I believe you did a man race, on TV they didn’t even speak about women”. I truly believe that speaking about it and spreading the message that a woman can grow by practicing sport as she does in her everyday life is what will increase the proportion of women in races.

Why RaidLight?

It is a brand designed by runners for runners. The team is relying on user’s feedback gathered in workshops to make the products evolve. As an example, I was completely involved within the development process, tried prototypes, visiting the factory in Montebelluna to exchange with the team… This is how we usually work!

Another important fact to me, RaidLight is a French brand. I wanted to run under my country’s colors as I run for the national French team. I feel like it is more than simply being labeled and promoting product, I carry along with me a philosophy and values that I deeply share.

What’s your favorite products?

My favorite shoe is the Responsiv Dynamic, light with a good grip and versatile for my trainings on land. Concerning the race vest, the lightest of the range is the one suiting me best!

the Revolutiv 3L for only 65g I love it! This minimalist race vest allows me to carry the flask plus some material, I did the Transgrancanaria and Ultra Marin with it.

Concerning apparel there are many! The hyperlight jacket is waterproof, breathable and super light. I love the tank, especially the Revolutiv super light (40g) with a short cut.

What are you the proudest of in your life?

I am mostly proud of what give my life a true purpose, my family. Being a mother is an adventure way more challenging and rewarding than running where I am in constant questioning and looking for solutions to perform better.

Concerning running, I am mostly proud of what I accomplished after 40 years old, showing that everything is possible if you really want it and believe in yourself.

Which women inspired you the most? Who do you consider as a model?

In life in general I would say that I look up to Simone Weil and Marie Curie, they both lived difficult lives but have showed tenacity, perseverance and abnegation to reach their goals.

About running I looked up to Maud Gobert, Karine Hery or Corine Fabre. I even had the chance to meet them in real life and some of those exchanges helped me improve my self-confidence.

What was your hardest challenge?

My hardest challenge was to leave my job in order to become entrepreneur creating my own society: https://www.5ynchro.fr/ a society providing advice to improve your performance through physical activity. This challenge pushes me to learn more about myself.

On a sport level it was to dare to subscribe and take the start of the Hardrock, this American race is taking place in the in the Rocky Mountains at more than 3200m of altitude as an average. I lived at 100m of altitude, it has been a real challenge!

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