A resident of Mora, Sweden, Jonas Buud is the defending champ at UltraVasan and looks to once again be the first person to reach his hometown’s finish line on Saturday morning. In the following interview, Jonas talks about how last year’s race went down, how he’s recovering for a hip stress fracture, and what his plans are for Saturday’s race.
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Jonas Buud Pre-2015 UltraVasan Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Jonas Buud before the 2015 UltraVasan. How are you, Jonas?
Jonas Buud: Fine, I think.
iRunFar: You haven’t had to travel very far for this race.
Buud: No, it’s in my hometown, so it’s really close.
iRunFar: Yeah, you live a 10-minute bike ride from home where we are?
Buud: You can almost see my home.
iRunFar: Last year was the first UltraVasan, and you won it. Walk me through the race a little bit because it was fairly dynamic. Somebody went out hard?
Buud: Yes, yes, it was. Right from the start it was really hard. My time schedule was 6:40 or something but right from the start it was running faster all the way. I was quickly 14 minutes ahead of schedule when we came to water. I think the race was one of my best races ever. To do 6 minutes each kilometer on this course is really good.
iRunFar: Pretty strong. It was Elov Olsson who took it out?
Buud: Yes, in the beginning for the first 20k he was running ahead of us.
iRunFar: Trying to get that first prem?
Buud: Yes. Right after that he stopped and waited for us. I thought he would continue to the finish, but he was top 10 or 11. That’s pretty good.
iRunFar: Then Steve Way tried to go for the big prem in the middle of the race?
Buud: Yes, and one guy from Poland also was running really fast up to Evertsberg, but just before Evertsberg, Steve went away running. He was running, I think, the last two or three k before Evertsberg, and it was up, and was maybe the fastest part of the whole race.
iRunFar: Then you took off after that point?
Buud: Yes, just after Evertsberg, Steve stops and eats and drinks something. I thought, Okay, I will not rest now. I will continue now in the same speed as he did before. After four or five k after Evertsberg, he disappeared. I just continued all the way to the finish.
iRunFar: Do you think having those prems along the way made your time faster?
Buud: No… maybe?
iRunFar: In terms of it really pushing the pace early?
Buud: Yes, it can be.
iRunFar: You’re normally, I would characterize you as a pretty conservative racer. You run your own race.
Buud: Yes, I try to, but I don’t know, it was a little bit faster than I expected last year.
iRunFar: Is it in part because it’s your hometown and you wanted to make everybody proud here?
Buud: Yes, maybe, but I felt very strong last year also, so I just followed the others.
iRunFar: But it wasn’t necessarily the fastest conditions?
Buud: Yes, it was raining and really wet, so it was tough conditions and a little bit slippery on the bridges, but it was not so hot at least.
iRunFar: There are a lot of wooden plankways along the course, and if you’re not careful…
Buud: It’s okay. I’m used to running on those.
iRunFar: But it should be very dry.
Buud: Yes, I think this year it should be very dry. I don’t think it will be wet on the shoes anyway.
iRunFar: Do you think with that and having people like Max [King] and Matt [Flaherty] and Didrik [Hermansen] here it could be a fast race?
Buud: Yes, and there have been some new changes in the course, so I think those changes have made it at least five or 10 minutes faster. I think under six hours is possible.
iRunFar: Under six hours for 90k. It’s not all trail, but most of it’s off pavement. Early this year, you were injured.
Buud: Yes, I had some problems. I think I had a really long season last year. It started in the middle of April with the Paris Marathon and it continued all the way to Doha at the end of November. Normally I stop racing in the middle of October. I think the season was really long. Then I think the surface in Doha was not really good to run 100k on. I think my body was a little bit on top right after Doha. Then I went to Gran Canaria for a training camp. It was a training camp, lots of running but it wasn’t hard. On the last training, I started to have a big pain on my back. I went home, and I knew it was a stress fracture in my hip bone back there. From the middle of December until my first running was the beginning of May. I didn’t really know if it was possible to run UltraVasan this year.
iRunFar: Beginning of May? So you couldn’t run Comrades. It also means you might be fresh as compared to other people this time of year. How has your training gone?
Buud: Really good, I think. I don’t run as much as I did before. The week I run most, I’ve been running 150k, and that’s a low week before. But I’ve done some bicycling and other trainings this year.
iRunFar: You’ve had some good results in some local races?
Buud: Yes, really good. I’ve set some course records and personal bests on some courses.
iRunFar: On courses you’ve run before, so it’s a good test of your fitness. There’s been some suggestions that you’ve been following Max on Strava a little bit?
Buud: Yes, [laughs] of course.
iRunFar: Observing how his training has been going?
Buud: Yes, it’s too slow I think.
iRunFar: His training is too slow! He obviously won world 100k’s last year, and you were second. So maybe you’ll key off him during the race or focus on him a little bit?
Buud: Yes, maybe, but I think I’ll try to do my own race as always, but, of course, I will not let him beat me anyway. I will try to follow him.
iRunFar: Is it different in a race like world 100k where there’s a large group of really strong runners or like Comrades, versus this where there’s really just a couple people competing for the win. Do you approach that differently?
Buud: Yes, and this course is so different. It’s some different parts. The 100k, it’s almost the same. You can keep the same speed the whole race. Here, it’s so different terrain and different up and down. I think it’s a little bit more… you’re good on different parts of this course, so I think it can change a little bit.
iRunFar: Obviously, you know the course very, very, very well. You have splits for every 5k or maybe less?
Buud: Yes, I know the course. I have a big support team that will help me on Saturday also.
iRunFar: Do you have a favorite part of the course?
Buud: Yes, I think the most technical part is the best and most fun parts for me. It’s the best.
iRunFar: You said you’re going to have a big crew. Is it true that at this race… I know that in Vasaloppet, you can have aid and people can help you anywhere. Is that the same in UltraVasan?
Buud: Yes, it’s not allowed just in the controls but everywhere.
iRunFar: You could have somebody every kilometer if you wanted?
Buud: Yes, if you wanted.
iRunFar: That would probably slow you down, but… That’s different than almost every other race. Will you carry water on the course, or will you just get a bottle for somebody and get a drink and then…?
Buud: No, I’ll not carry anything.
iRunFar: Any food?
Buud: No, I have my own checkpoints everywhere, so it will not be a problem for me.
iRunFar: This is what you’ll be having?
Buud: Yes, I think so.
iRunFar: Is that fun to almost have… as if you go out for a 15 to 20k run with just this, is that fun to have for so long?
Buud: Yes, it’s faster.
iRunFar: Do you have any personal goals for Saturday?
Buud: Of course. Run six hours, or some minutes faster than last year.
iRunFar: Or faster?
Buud: Yes, or maybe 5:59.
iRunFar: Were you thinking that at the end of last year’s race?
Buud: Yes, no, with 5k left I thought maybe six hours, but it was with two or three k left, I couldn’t run 6 minute k’s for the last two k. It’s not possible. But it was good anyway.
iRunFar: Now you know where you have to be with 5k to go.
iRunFar: Best of luck out there, and enjoy.
Buud: Thank you.