Ian Sharman and Nick Clark Post-2013 Leadville 100 Interview
Before the 2013 Leadville 100, Nick Clark boldly predicted that he and Ian Sharman would take the race’s top two spots… and right he was! The pair of Brits more or less patiently ran with one another for the first 40 miles before moving up in the field and pushing one another. In the following interview, Leadville champ, Ian, and runner-up, Nick, talk about their races and the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning while generally providing good entertainment.
For more on this year’s race, check out our 2013 Leadville 100 results article.
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Ian Sharman and Nick Clark Post-2013 Leadville 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Ian Sharman and Nick Clark after your one-two finish at Leadville. I didn’t predict that, but you guys did.
Nick Clark: I think I actually predicted that.
iRF: Do you have any ponies you’d like me to bet on this weekend?
Ian Sharman: It was more in jest, but we saw there could maybe be some carnage. We were thinking more in terms of pacing four races I think, so not going out too hard. Some of the guys did go a bit too hard.
iRF: You guys ran together for a good bit in the beginning—40 miles?
Sharman: A good bit, on and off, yeah.
iRF: Did you guys work together?
Sharman: No, we were just chatting. We tried to keep it easy early on. In a 100 miler, you don’t want to push too hard early.
iRF: That is working together. It’s taking your mind off the work and just relaxing. What do you guys talk about?
Sharman: A little banter more than anything. I asked him what beer he wanted me to have ready for him at the finish.
iRF: What was it?
Sharman: Old Speckled Hen.
Clark: Old Speckled Hen. It’s a favorite brew of mine from England.
iRF: Did you find any in time?
Sharman: I thought he was right behind, so I didn’t have time to get it. Otherwise I would have.
iRF: You probably did though.
Sharman: I did, but I didn’t know that.
Clark: He had to wait too long for me to finish.
iRF: Would have been warm, but Brits drink warm beer, right?
Clark: That’s true—room temperature. Yeah, it was a good day. We ran together for the first 40 miles pretty much. We had a lot of people down Powerline—people were just flying by.
Sharman: They flew down and then we caught them a couple miles later and they weren’t anywhere near the top ten.
Clark: I did that last year and kind of paid for it, so I said, Yeah, I’m going to stick with the pacing plan. So it was good. We were both pacing, as Ian said, for four races, and it worked out well, one-two.
iRF: Ian, you started pulling away from Nick at some point. Were you trying to make a move?
Sharman: It wasn’t really making a move. I was just doing what felt comfortable to run a 100 miler the best time I could, and whatever position I ended up in, I ended up in. At the end, if Nick and I ended up close together (and we were), then that would be a race. But until then, I was just trying to look after myself, trying to keep my heart rate down especially on those climbs at altitude, and it paid off. I was totally focusing on my race and not caring what other people were doing. I only took the lead about mile 67, and I was making no effort to try to catch him. I was just doing my thing. If he slowed down, I’d catch him; if not, then well done to him.
Clark: Mike Aish.
Sharman: Mike Aish, who ended up third.
Clark: Yeah, so at Twin Lakes, we came into Twin Lakes together. My crew was down out of the aid station, and I took a bit of time there. Ian went by for about a minute or two got on the trail before me. Then we pretty much… I was chasing you up Hope. I think we passed Andrew Catalano who I think was second or third.
Sharman: He was second at that point.
Clark: Ryan Sandes—caught him as well. Ian was up 20 to 30 meters?
Sharman: I think it was one minute at the top. I could see behind me and I saw Nick right behind him, Ryan Sandes.
Clark: I wanted to catch him by the top and I couldn’t quite…
Sharman: I wanted to not let him catch me because I knew he wouldn’t like that.
Clark: Yeah, you did kind of tick me off on that. I knew that he’d be quicker going down the hill. He was. I think he had five minutes at Winfield.
Sharman: At half way that meant nothing.
Clark: You had a strong climb coming back over Hope. I think, actually, you put time into me up there. From there it was 20 minutes at Half Pipe.
Sharman: Not even that, I think 18 minutes or something. It was never too much time. I was thinking you’d have a bad patch and that’s when I’d gap you. We weren’t flying along, I think we were, again, pacing things.
Clark: Steady. Then it was the last throw of the dead at Fish Hatchery to see if I could put some time into him by the time we got to May Queen, and I chopped some time there. I pushed a little too hard. It was a painful last 14.
iRF: I believe I heard you say, Nick, “This is officially the worst I’ve ever felt in a hundred.” How bad did those wheels come off?
Clark: Well, I hadn’t really taken any calories in going over Powerline. I’d maybe gotten a few sips of Coke. So I tried to fuel desperately at May Queen, and I did fuel. I got a lot in. But it exited about 100 yards out of May Queen.
iRF: Classic rejection.
Clark: Classic rejection. My poor pacer, Brian, was just kind of standing there because he really wanted to push it. He was excited. “Hey, you’re making up time! Let’s go get him.” “Well, let me just puke and we’ll go from there.” You get that 10 to 15 minute window after you’ve puked where you feel alright, but there’s nothing you can do with that kind of calorie deficit.
iRF: Then you puked again.
Clark: Well, I got to the bottom, right before you turn onto the Boulevard and emptied again and then another three or four times going up the Boulevard, yeah.
Sharman: See, that’s not what I was thinking was happening. All I knew was, at the last aid station, he’d caught me up quite a bit. I was feeling very bad. I’d been feeling very dizzy and stumbling on the trail. At that point I was thinking, Okay, he’s catching me. I’ve got to just go as fast as I can.
iRF: That’s pretty fast.
Sharman: I really sped up. I think the knowledge that he was catching me and the fact that I really did not want to lose the race, especially in the last mile, so I just dug in and actually dropped a couple of seven and eight-minute miles.
Clark: Yeah, a 1:57:10 from May Queen, which is right on Matt Carpenter’s course record split.
Sharman: All because I was scared of you.
Clark: That may even be the fastest May Queen-Finish split, Ian.
iRF: Zeke [Tiernan] was up there, I think, last year.
Clark: Was he? But you’ll pay for that at Wasatch.
iRF: So that leads me into my final question. Ian, you’ve got an hour and six minutes?
Sharman: An hour nine minutes.
Clark: That is nothing.
Sharman: It’s the longest one in terms of toughest, most climb, takes the most amount of time, but I’d rather go into it with an hour lead than a deficit. So I’m pretty happy with that scenario.
Clark: You’re in a good spot, but all it takes is a bit of a rough day.
Sharman: One bad section between aid stations is an hour. So it’s game on, I’d say.
Clark: I’d say so.
iRF: You’ve run Wasatch before, Nick?
Clark: Yeah, man, I won it in 2010.
iRF: And this is your first go, Ian?
Sharman: This is my first one. It certainly seems to be Nick’s style of race with real mountains and a lot of climb.
Clark: Well, actually, you were asking what we were talking about while we were sharing miles. I was giving him intelligence on the Leadville course. He was asking me all these questions. “Yeah, so what’s going to happen? What’s the course going to do next?” I’m giving him advice on how to run it.
Sharman: It’s all down to you, Nick.
Clark: There will be none of that at Wasatch.
iRF: Game face?
Clark: Game face.
iRF: You’d better because there are mountain tigers out in those hills.
Clark: There are mountain tigers out there.
iRF: So you’ve got an hour; it’s a big race. Here at Leadville, you were running the race, and Ian, you were trying to win Leadville.
Sharman: After awhile, it just came down to trying to win this and the Grand Slam was out the window, especially when we were in one-two. That’s all that mattered.
iRF: Wasatch—same deal? Are you trying to win Wasatch or are you focusing on…?
Sharman: I don’t think it has as deep a field. I’d guess we will be again around the front, but it comes down to…
iRF: So what plays a bigger part of the equation?
Sharman: I’d rather win the Slam than just Wasatch. Both would be nice.
Clark: Why don’t you let me win Wasatch?
Sharman: So you could hold the Grand Slam trophy for a half an hour?
iRF: The same thing happened with the Leadman trophy last night.
Clark: That’s right—Bob Africa.
iRF: The very brief holder of the Leadman…
Clark: Really impressive run for Bob, I thought. I was stoked for him.
iRF: Well, great running, guys, and congrats on first and second. I look forward to watching you guys battling it out at Wasatch.
Sharman and Clark: Thanks.
Sharman: Right now, I don’t look forward to it, but I’m sure I will soon. I just want to stop running. Everything hurts.
Clark: I think you should run a ton for the next three weeks.
Sharman: No, that’s your tactic.
Clark: Nineteen days left until Wasatch.
iRF: I’m pretty sure we don’t need a bonus question for this one, but better pacer—Alistair [Clark] or [Sean] Meissner?
Clark: Alistair, come here. Tell Bryon what a great pacer you are.
Alistair Clark: Pretty good.
iRF: Look at this guy. He’s got his pacer bib on and everything. You ready for Wasatch?
Allistair Clark: Yes.
iRF: You’re not bringing Meissner to Wasatch are you? Or is he your good luck charm?
Sharman: No, but he is a good luck charm.
iRF: There he is. C’mon, “Fat boy,” come on over here.
Sharman: Sean definitely helped me hold it together. Basically, when I took the lead, I told my pacers, “Don’t let me screw this up. I’m winning Leadville. This would be massive for me if I can do this.”
iRF: Come in here Meissner. Come stand next to me. We were just talking about pacers, and serendipitously here you are.
Sean Meissner: My arms are really tired after carrying that trophy. My arms are super tired right now.
Sharman: Yeah, it’s like a 70-pound trophy. I don’t know how I’m going to get that home.
iRF: When you’re talking about pounds, you’re talking about weight.
Sharman: We’re talking about weight. I think it cost more than that.
iRF: So, Sean, how did you get him to win it?
Meissner: For the most part, I just ran with him and carried a few things. Going up Hope Pass, he hiked like a mad man. I had to jog every once in awhile to keep up with him. Coming down it was fine. He got a little bit ahead of me, but I caught up to him on the flats.
Sharman: I didn’t want to drop him because he was carrying stuff for me. I kind of needed that.
Meissner: Although at the top, I stopped to fill up his bottle and he didn’t stop and it took me about 10 minutes to catch him then on the way down.
iRF: I’ve seen you descend Hope Pass. That’s not very good.
Meissner: I know. I was like, Oh no. It took them a minute to fill up the bottle. I finally caught him.
iRF: He didn’t drop you coming around Turquoise Lake.
Meissner: No, he definitely didn’t drop me there. On the flat parts I was fine. Definitely fine on the flat parts. We were moving well on the flats.
Sharman: It definitely helps to have some good people to rely on.
iRF: It really can be a team sport and a family sport. It’s a pretty special aspect. And a friend’s sport. You guys have raced your butts off—Grand Slam, Leadville.
Sharman: Yeah, three races. So far it’s just an epic summer for us and hopefully we can have one more race that’s just like that for me winning.
Allistair Clark: Hopefully my dad wins.