Cristofer Clemente, who lives in the Canary Islands, ran to a strong second place at the 2015 The Rut 50k. In the following interview, Cristofer talks about what he thought of his first experience racing in the U.S., what similarities and differences he found between The Rut course and European mountain running, and where we might see him race next.
Be sure to read our results article for the full race story.
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Cristofer Clemente Post-2015 The Rut 50k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m here in Big Sky, Montana, at the conclusion of the 2015 The Rut 50k. I’m with men’s second-place finisher, Cristopher Clemente. Felicitacions!
Cristopher Clemente: Muchas gracias.
iRunFar: And you are? [to translator]
Translator: I am the trainer of Cristopher Clemente.
iRunFar: And you’re translating for us today as well. Thank you very much.
Translator: Yes, a little.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your second place today. How did you feel racing?
Clemente: I thought the race was very different than the races in Spain because in La Gomera, only 1,400 meters high (much lower altitude). It’s very different, very hard, and very, very different.
iRunFar: You are Canarian. You live on La Gomera. You’re used to very rocky trails. The Canary trails are very rocky, but today is a much higher altitude.
Clemente: The higher change is the most important and is very difficult to come here and take four or five days to acclimate to the higher air.
iRunFar: Not possible, is it?
Translator: It’s very difficult, yes.
iRunFar: You’re competing in the Skyrunner World Series in the ultra division. You and Franco Collé who came in first today are very close in the rankings.
Clemente: I know that I am in second at this moment. Franco Collé is in first in this moment. In Ultra Pirineu will maybe change the classification. My season is very long this year. I don’t know if I will run at Ultra Pirineu.
iRunFar: You have to wait and see how you recover from here?
Clemente: Yes, I need to recover.
iRunFar: Just two weeks to recover?
Clemente/Translator: Yeah, only two weeks. 110k and very hard up and down. It’s very hard.
iRunFar: Let me ask you about how your race went today. In the early kilometers, you were a few men back in fourth, fifth, sixth place or around there. Then when it got to the most mountainous technical part, you and Franco Collé moved very quickly up to the first and second positions. Did you just start feeling good when you got to the mountainous terrain?
Clemente: I know the profile of the race. I know the high peak was very strong. I was slow in the first part of the race to reserve for the next peaks.
iRunFar: Save for what’s coming.
Translator: Yes, very intelligent.
iRunFar: With about 8 to 10k to go, getting ready to go up the last climb, at the bottom, you were two-and-a-half minutes back, at the top, just a little over a minute. Were you trying to catch Franco, trying your hardest to catch up to him, or did that just happen?
Clemente: Yes, I know that, but I had a problem for the hydration and urinated with blood. At that point, I decided to reserve for the second place.
iRunFar: My last questions for you—is this your first time racing in the United States, and what do you think of trail racing here?
Clemente: Yes, it’s my first time racing in the U.S., and we will come back.
iRunFar: You’ll come back? You enjoyed?
Clemente: Yes. I’m sure, yes.
iRunFar: The racing scene here is a lot smaller with less media, less fans, just smaller, but still you like the scene?
Clemente: Very much. Big Sky is like La Gomera. It’s a small place, a natural place, and I like it very much. I am very, very happy here, and we will repeat sure.
iRunFar: Congratulations to you on your second place finish. iRunFar will be at Ultra Pirineu in a couple weeks if you are there, too.
Clemente: Thank you.