Emelie Forsberg, 2015 The Rut 50k Champion, Interview

For the second year in a row, Emelie Forsberg won The Rut 50k. In the following interview, Emelie talks about her three days in a row of racing on Lone Peak, what drew her to a big weekend of racing in the U.S., how she felt during the 50k, and where she’ll be wrapping up her trail running season.

Be sure to read our results article for the full race story.

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Emelie Forsberg, 2015 The Rut 50k Champion, Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m here at Big Sky Ski Resort with Emelie Forsberg who just won the 2015 The Rut 50k. Not only did you win the 50k today, but you took fifth in the 25k yesterday and fourth in the VK on Friday. You got a lot of miles and three laps up Lone Peak in your legs.

Emelie Forsberg: It’s good training. It’s super nice to do it with so many people. I needed a big weekend, so it’s perfect.

iRunFar: You got one, didn’t you?

Forsberg: Yeah.

iRunFar: How are you doing?

Forsberg: I feel good. Yeah, I do. I just was with Arnaud, our physio, and he said, “Wow, you are… nothing!”

iRunFar: “Nothing is wrong with you.”

Forsberg: Yeah, I just think these days… I was running at a comfortable pace. I felt really comfortable the whole time. That just makes me strong. It doesn’t make me burn or when your shape is going down. It’s just easy days.

iRunFar: I want to ask you about your whole weekend. Did you come to this weekend just wanting to do all three races to play, or is it because you really want to compete well in each of the levels of Skyrunning? What was the motivation?

Forsberg: It was both. At first, I wanted an opportunity to come back here to Montana because I really like it. Then I do all of the three disciplines. It’s hard to combine a VK and an 80k and a 20k. Often it’s that I do an ultra a week before a two-hours race, so I never really have the speed and I never really feel super fresh for those races, but I still like them. I love to push hard. I never push myself too hard when I train, so I love to come and do short races. That’s why I do all of the three. As long as Salomon lets me do it, I will do it because I don’t want to choose. I don’t want to do only short because then I would miss the long. It was both things. Also, it’s so cool because I’ve never done three races in a row in the summer, only in ski mountaineering which is very different. It’s much, much shorter. So I wanted a bit of everything.

iRunFar: The VK was on Friday afternoon, so when you finish that, you only have fourteen hours recovery until the next morning’s race. Did you consciously take that easy, or did you say, “Ah, I’m just going to go see how I feel in the morning?”

Forsberg: Yeah, I just went.

iRunFar: “It doesn’t matter tomorrow, it just matters right now.”

Forsberg: Yeah.

iRunFar: Fast forward to this morning to the girl’s race. Things went out, it seemed, pretty casually in the dark. There was all of you coming through on a team jog almost.

Forsberg: It was super nice. I have never been running with so many girls, so it was a great experience because I didn’t want to lead. I wanted to have everyone come.

iRunFar: ”Can everybody just stay together all day?”

Forsberg: Yeah, yeah. It was super cool. I really liked it.

iRunFar: Did you leave the start and kind of come together and stay like that for some time?

Forsberg: Yeah, until… we were running altogether until maybe the big first climb?

iRunFar: Then comes the type of terrain you like the most and that you do the best at, so after that you pretty much opened things up on the first big climb up to Headwaters Ridge.

Forsberg: Yeah, my plan was not to do that, but it was a comfortable pace. The others slowed down, and I just kept going at that comfortable pace. The downhill, I really like, then the uphill to Lone Peak and the downhill. And then Greg [Vollet] told me, “Ah, you have time,” so then the last part which I don’t like too much, I was slowing down. I was thinking, Okay, it’s good to not push everything and just see it as a nice training.

iRunFar: The technical descent off Headwaters, that’s the type of terrain that intimidates a lot of people, but you did not look intimidated according to our reporter up there. You were just body down going for it with a huge smile on your face, arms flying everywhere. Not intimidating terrain to you?

Forsberg: No, no, it’s like… it’s like people who run on the road, they don’t think it’s scary, you know?

iRunFar: For you, not scary.

Forsberg: No.

iRunFar: It’s really interesting because it’s not the kind of scree that catches your foot. It’s not hard rock. It’s these weird things that can move…

Forsberg: No, it’s not super easy, I need to admit. It’s very special. I’ve never been running in it before, but you learn it quite fast to see where you can place your foot without it twisting up on your ankles. Yeah, you just need to find a good route and go for it, I think. For me, it works much better when I go faster in that terrain than slower.

iRunFar: So you’re hitting the ground very quickly—boom, boom, boom…

Forsberg: Yeah, exactly.

iRunFar: Did you trip or fall anywhere? Do you ever fall?

Forsberg: I have been falling… yeah, Transvulcania [shows the scar on her hand], and actually one time when I was out running with Kilian [Jornet] and it was on the road. I just fell like this. It was super strange. That’s the two times.

iRunFar: To me, that’s a sign for you to not run on the roads, right?

Forsberg: Yeah.

iRunFar: The last part of the race, you’d built up a sizeable lead on the rest of the girls, but going over the last climb and the very windy trail, the girls started gaining on you. Did you know they were gaining on you?

Forsberg: I knew it because I knew I could give more, but I knew if I would see number two, I would gas up a bit and it would have been okay.

iRunFar: So that was your plan was to do your own pace and if you saw somebody then, “Pssshhh.”

Forsberg: I didn’t dislike it this year. I kind of liked it because I liked to stretch out the legs there this year. It was just last year. Last year I was so tired in my mind that nothing was really fun at the end of the season, but I really enjoyed all of this weekend. It was cool to do that part as well.

iRunFar: Your America tour isn’t over. You’re staying here for awhile. Where are you headed?

Forsberg: Yes. I’m going to Denver tomorrow, and I think Boulder to do a run, I can’t remember, in a park I think. Then Tuesday, a baking course or more like hanging out with people baking cinnamon buns in Denver. Then we continue the evening watching running movie and talking.

iRunFar: Then back home?

Forsberg: Yes, to Chamonix for a week and then Ultra Pirineu. Will you be there?

iRunFar: iRunFar will be there, Bryon [Powell] and some other people, yeah. iRunFar will be there.

Forsberg: Cool.

iRunFar: Yeah, the final contest in the Skyrunner World Series.

Forsberg: It’s long, eh?

iRunFar: It’s a long and hard contest. Will that end your running season or are you going to do The North Face?

Forsberg: No, I decided that will be my last race, and I’m super excited for it. It means I’ll have a longer time to first rest and then start to prepare the ski season. All the other years, I’m so late into the ski season. The others have been on skis since October and I’m coming there in December.

iRunFar: This year, not as much catch up. You’ll be ready. Heading towards the finale of your season, congratulations on your three-peat this weekend, fourth, fifth, and a win today at the 50k.

Forsberg: Yeah, thanks.

iRunFar: Congratulations!

Forsberg: Thank you.

Meghan Hicks

is iRunFar.com’s Senior Editor, the author of ‘Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running,’ and a Contributing Editor at Trail Runner magazine. The converted road runner finished her first ultramarathon in 2006 and loves using running to visit the world’s wildest places. For more information on Meghan and her adventures, please visit her personal website.

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