Maria Semerjian of France was the third woman at the 2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji. In her first interview with iRunFar, Maria talks about some of her previous racing experiences, what she thought of her run around Mount Fuji, and where she plans to race next.
[Editor’s Note: Have a look at our results article for the race’s full story.]
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Maria Semerjian Post-2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Maria Semerjian after her third-place finish at the 2014 Ultra-Trail Mount Fuji. Congratulations, Maria.
Maria Semerjian: Thanks so much.
iRunFar: I did not know you before, but you’ve had some very strong performances in long ultra-trails. How long have you been a runner?
Semerjian: Since I started running? Five years ago.
iRunFar: You were a swimmer before that? For a very long time?
Semerjian: Yes. I started to swim when I was six years old or something like that.
iRunFar: So you have a very long history with endurance sports.
Semerjian: Yes. I’m a sport teacher, too.
iRunFar: Oh, you are?
iRunFar: Okay. Why did you start running? What made you become a runner five years ago?
Semerjian: I don’t know. I start to run in the woods to continue to train only for me and friends said to me, “Why don’t you try to race?” Okay. I start 25k and after, 42k, and next year, 150k on Réunion [Diagonale des Fous].
iRunFar: Yes, one year after you started running you ran Diagonale des Fous.
iRunFar: How was that experience—your first…?
Semerjian: It’s very hard. It’s beautiful, but it’s very hard and I had no experience. The end of the race is very, very difficult because I hurt my knee and I’m alone on the race without a team, and it’s difficult to finish, but I finished.
iRunFar: Since then you’ve run other 100-mile races, approximately. You’ve run UTMB…
Semerjian: UTMB, GRP…
iRunFar: Grand Raid des Pyrénées and last year you were at UTMB again and you were the first French woman in seventh position?
iRunFar: And yesterday, another great performance with a third place at Mount Fuji. Why did you come to Mount Fuji?
Semerjian: I like to go to visit Japan, and it’s a good way to visit and to make my hobby and passion. The first edition was cancelled because Fukushima. Next year, it was not good dates to come and run. This year it was perfect with holidays. It’s so different from Europe and so different…
iRunFar: What was different about this race? What was most different?
Semerjian: There are a lot of roads, yes, it’s a little bit boring. After that it’s so difficult. It’s very short and very hard to climb and to go down. It’s difficult because it’s opposite.
iRunFar: Did you feel okay the entire race yesterday?
Semerjian: Yes, the first 100k, all is okay. I run fast. After, it’s a little bit more difficult, but I progress in my placement.
iRunFar: You improved your position.
Semerjian: Yes. I passed five and four and it’s a good thing for my mind.
iRunFar: Do you have any other races this season? Races you are focused on?
Semerjian: Maybe UTA in Morocco in October.
iRunFar: Ultra Trail Atlas [Toubkal], yes?
Semerjian: Yes, 100k about in October.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your run here. Nice to meet you.
Semerjian: Thank you. Nice to meet you, too.
iRunFar: Good luck with the rest of your season.
Semerjian: Thanks a lot.