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Mountain Running: Benat Marmissolle is the new member of the La Sportiva Team
La Sportiva Mountain Running Team expands its ranks to welcome French athlete Benat Marmisolle.
La Sportiva announces a new arrival: Bernat Marmissolle, an ultra-distance athlete and former skyrunner who, from this summer, will wear the La Sportiva colours on the paths of the main world competitions.
Originally from Soulet, in the heart of the Basque Country, Bernat started racing in 2008: at the age of 28, he discovered that passion and talent which, just six years later, led him to win his first skyraces. He soon became one of the top athletes on those race courses, with a minimum gradient of 30% and an altitude of more than 3000 metres, participating in several World Cup events, as well as two World Championships (2016 and 2018).
After several seasons spent as an elite skyrunner, he decided to devote himself to ultra-trails: 2020 thus marked a new turning point for the French athlete's career, along a path that would lead him to win - in 2022 - the legendary Diagonale des Fous, on the island of Reunion, a race for which he signed up at the last minute, despite being tired following a Mont Blanc sixth place. This year, after the gold medal at the Euskal Ultra Trail last May, Bernat celebrated a second place at the Hardrock and, with all the La Sportiva family supporting him, he will tackle the UTMB on September 1st.
We went to interview Bernat, to get to know him and to discover what trail running means to him:
Hi Benat, can you tell us a bit about yourself away from the world of running?
When I'm not racing, I live in Tardets, in the French Basque Country, at the foot of the Pyrenees: a beautiful mountain area. I am a father; I take care of my son and my family, together with my wife, Cendrine. I spend the rest of my time working on the family farm, raising cows, sheep, donkeys, chickens, pigs, rabbits, dogs and cats.
You started running when you were 28. How was your passion for running born?
From an early age, with my parents, we would visit the mountain pastures with our animals; it was summer transhumance. During my adolescence, I played handball up to the age of 18, but still making frequent excursions to the mountains: in the Pyrenees and here in the Basque Country. I've always been passionate about nature and the mountains and when, like so many people, I started running to keep myself physically fit, my passion for hiking quickly turned into one for trail running... When I stop running, if I ever do, I will still continue hiking.
How do you feel when you run? What does running such long distances mean to you?
When I run, I feel free, in total communion with the natural surroundings around me. I feel at one with nature...all my senses awaken! I want to feel every rock under my feet, to listen to every sound, to smell every smell and, of course, to admire the wonders of the landscape... I thank life and Mother Nature for letting me live all these unique and magical moments... Running UltraTrails, for me, means living and sharing human and sporting adventures with all the people and partners who accompany me, support me and who are part of my team. Without them, I am nothing. These sensations and emotions are amazing... My motivation to train every day is stronger and stronger... to run important and beautiful races... for many years to come!!!
After the successes of this season, after the UTMB, what do you think the future holds for you?
For me, the season has just begun: there are still the UTMB and the Diagonale des Fous, where I hope to take part. But it's true that we need to start thinking about next season, and the ones that come after that, which I hope will still have great and wonderful surprises in store for me. I have many sporting ambitions that I hope to achieve, accompanied by my new La Sportiva family. I dream, for example, of going back to racing in the United States, of racing in Asia, I hope to participate in the most prestigious and contested Ultra Trail races on the planet in Europe, France, Italy, Norway, Spain... I want to run wherever there are beautiful mountains and share thrilling moments with runners from all over the world. I don't set myself time limits, my motivation is endless.
Once more, a warm welcome to Benat. See you at the next starting line!