Italy’s Tadei Pivk made a great leap forward with his win at the 2015 Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon. In the following interview, Tadei talks about how he’s added trail running to his ski-mountaineering background, how his breakout race unfolded, and what it was like to run with and beat some of the greats of the sport.
Make sure to read our results article for the whole story on how the race played out.
[Editor’s Note: We apologize for the audio quality. We tried to choose a quiet location, but the background noise from the finish line is still quite intrusive.]
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Tadei Pivk, 2015 Zegama Marathon Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Tadei Pivk after his win at the 2015 Zegama Marathon which is the European Skyrunning Championship. Congratulations.
Tadei Pivk: Thank you very much for that. I usually go very cautiously. I still can’t believe my win. I really sort of recovered on the last section and am really happy with the results.
iRunFar: Last year you ran here and you were ninth. It’s such a big improvement this year. What did you… was there a big change in your training or was it just experience? What was the reason for your improvement?
Pivk: I don’t believe it was anything in particular that was different from last year. I’ve just done the ski-mountaineering season. I also have a job. I’ve been doing some training, of course, but nothing out of the ordinary. I still can’t really believe that I won. I’m incredulous.
iRunFar: You’ve raced against great runners before. You took part in the Skyrace series last year. What does it feel like to beat Kilian [Jornet] and Marco [De Gasperi] and all the other greats?
Pivk: I was really pleased to beat Marco in this race. This is the first time this has happened. For example in this race and discipline, there’s only one champion. In this case today, Kilian having come back from Nepal with his problems and so on, I wasn’t really counting it. I was really pleased anyway to have this great result.
iRunFar: Did you go into the race thinking about winning it or just running your best race?
Pivk: Yes, I was very honored to be amongst the top 10 in the world. This race just went well for me. I was very satisfied with the result.
iRunFar: When did you think during the race, I may win!
Pivk: I was running together with Kilian at one point and it was just the two of us. I said to Kilian, “Who’s ahead of us?” He said, “No, no, it’s just the two of us.” At a certain point, Manuel Merillas joined us and there were actually four of us at the last summit. It was on the way down that there were three of us and then there were two of us. It was really in the last stretch where I was feeling quite comfortable and I moved away as I was still feeling good. So I went for it and looked behind before I came around the last bend and saw that I was alone. Then I knew it was mine.
iRunFar: You also do skimo, yes?
Pivk: Yes, I run all the [skimo] races with Kilian as a partner. So I had the first experience of running with Kilian and we actually came in third. It was a great experience running together and especially today, the parts where we were running together, you have all the emotions from the crowds yelling, “Kilian!” He’s a great person, and he’s great for the sport. It’s really positive.
iRunFar: One of the defining characteristics of Zegama is the descents. Do you think your skiing background helps with that?
Pivk: No, I don’t think ski mountaineering has anything to do with it. It’s different. Either you have these skills or you don’t. Sometimes when you see the videos, it’s amazing how fast it shows me running down. I can’t believe myself.
iRunFar: Last year you took part in the Skyrunning World Series Skyraces. Is that your focus again this year?
Pivk: Yes, I’m aiming to do the Skyrunning World Series Sky discipline. My next race with be in the Dolomites. One of the things I really appreciate in this sport is the spirit and the participation of the spectators. For example, like today, Sancti Spiritu, it really pushes you forward. It being the European Championships today, I’m happy about that.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your great race. Good luck with your season.
Pivk: Thank you.