Last summer, Darcy Africa had a string of great runs with the Rocky Mountain Slam. This year, she’s having another busy summer, having won Hardrock and set a Wonderland Trail FKT with Krissy Moehl. Now, she’s a last minute entrant in the Run Rabbit Run 100. In the following interview, Darcy talks about what went down up on the Wonderland Trail, why she decided to race RRR100 on a whim, and what she thinks of the pacer-less rule for the Hares this weekend.
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Darcy Africa Pre-2013 Run Rabbit Run 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Darcy Africa before Run Rabbit Run. How are you Darcy?
Darcy Africa: I’m good, thanks. How are you?
iRF: You’ve had a good summer. You had a win at Hardrock and that’s the last time we chatted. Then you went up and did the Wonderland Trail with Krissy [Moehl]. How did that go?
Africa: It was beautiful. It was really fun. I’d never been on the trail. We had a blast. It was kind of one of those days where it was seamless. We didn’t really have to say much, but everything just went really well.
iRF: What’s it like changing modes after all these years of racing? You go out for fun runs all the time, but there was a purpose to your adventure.
Africa: Yeah. I really enjoyed it. We didn’t even really think about time most of the time we were out there. It was literally only with five miles until we were finishing that we realized and looked at our watches. We’d thrown the number “24” out there before starting the run, so I guess we were kind of shooting for 24 hours. We realized after 80-some-odd miles that we were actually going to go closer to 22 hours. So we didn’t really… it just sort of happened.
iRF: How do you meter out your effort on that? It’s still almost a full day of running, but there’s no splits in the way you have in a race and there are no competitors. How do you choose, especially the pair of you, how fast you’re running?
Africa: We just… that’s what I mean when I say it worked out so seamlessly. We never spoke about pace. We never spoke about what happens if one of us doesn’t feel good. When one of us slowed down, the other one would go in front and try to pull the other one. It just worked. We never spoke about it. It just happened. We both had times where we weren’t moving as quickly or weren’t feeling as good or something was hurting. I don’t know. Everything just fell into place, and we just kind of paced one another.
iRF: Krissy had paced you at Hardrock. Did you guys have much running experience together other than that?
Africa: We’ve paced each other on and off throughout the years. I think I’ve paced her at Western. Maybe she’s paced me at Western. We’ve sort of swapped back and forth. Now that she’s in Boulder, we’ve had a chance to do a little bit of training together which is really nice.
iRF: Do you think having had those dual roles of pacing one another really prepared you guys to have that experience at Wonderland?
Africa: I think so. I think we’re both sort of in the same place in our running. We’ve both been at it for the same amount of time. I think we had the same goals and we’re both sort of seeking something else besides just doing 100-mile races—just sort of watching our careers evolve into something different. It was really fun.
iRF: Here you are. There’s a big 100 mile starting tomorrow at noon. What keeps you running the races? This is not your first 100 miler of the summer.
Africa: Yeah. I don’t know. Yeah. It was a last-minute decision clearly. I only decided a week and a half ago. I don’t know. I just thought, “What the hay?” It just seemed like it was a good idea. It’s pretty close to home. There’s a good-sized purse, so there’s a little incentive. I was feeling good after doing the Wonderland Trail. My body seemed to recover okay. I’ll find out tomorrow.
iRF: You had a pretty good–I don’t want to say luck–but you had a pretty good deal with the Rocky Mountain Slam last year. Your performances didn’t really degrade after multiple long days.
Africa: Hopefully that will be the same. I don’t know. We’ll see.
iRF: One aspect that’s going to be different than probably any 100 you’ve run is that there are no pacers this weekend. You’ve run team races before that and the adventure racing, right? Have you done a long race or adventure by yourself, overnight?
Africa: Yes. Both times I’ve run the Bighorn 100 I was solo—no crew, no pacers. I actually had two of my best runs at Bighorn; so I actually kind of look forward to it. It sort of keeps things simple. Logistically there’s really nothing to stress about. You just put your drop bags out there, and that’s kind of what I’m doing tomorrow.
iRF: Really. Drop bags, no pacers—just you and 103 miles of course.
Africa: Yeah. Exactly.
iRF: So you’re looking forward to that simple…
Africa: Yeah, I am.
iRF: Enjoy that simple run out there, Darcy.
Africa: Thank you. Thanks.