Didrik Hermansen has had a great start to his 2016, winning Transgrancanaria in March and placing second at Western States in June. This weekend, he’ll try to keep his roll going at UTMB. In the following interview, Didrik talks about what he’s done since Western States, how he enjoyed his tour around Mont Blanc earlier this summer, and how he manages such a long competitive season.
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Didrik Hermansen Pre-2016 UTMB Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Didrik Hermansen before UTMB 2016. How are you, Didrik?
Didrik Hermansen: Great. Yes, I am.
iRunFar: Did you just arrive here in Chamonix?
Hermansen: I arrived yesterday. Some days to relax and just to chill and then ready to race.
iRunFar: Have you spent time around Mont Blanc before?
Hermansen: I was here 10 years ago for my first time. I tried to climb Mount Everest, no, Mont Blanc. It was bad weather. Then I came back three weeks ago not to climb Mont Blanc but for the around. I did the course loop in three days.
iRunFar: How did that go?
Hermansen: I think it turned out well. Bad weather the first day and then the other two days were really nice, not as hot as it is today but still it was really nice.
iRunFar: Were you pushing it, or were you just looking at the course?
Hermansen: Both. I was pushing parts and just relaxing in some of the refuges and then pushing again but not pushing the whole course.
iRunFar: Was it enjoyable?
Hermansen: Absolutely. It’s really nice. The mountains are just—wow—really nice.
iRunFar: Did you stay at some of the refugios?
Hermansen: Yes. I think it’s perfect. You can just run and when you get tired, you can just stop…
iRunFar: So you had a small pack?
Hermansen: Yes, I run with the bottles and just a small pack.
iRunFar: So more than you’ll carry for the race?
Hermansen: Almost the same. I dropped the headlamp because…
iRunFar: You’re running during the day?
Hermansen: Yes. I was supposed to bring it, but I didn’t have enough space. I stayed in Refugio Elisabetta after 64k, and then…
iRunFar: On the way to Courmayeur?
Hermansen: Yes, right before, and then Champex-Lac the second night.
iRunFar: Sounds like a fun couple of days. How has your whole time gone? You must have had a very long season so far because you were very fit for Transgrancanaria at the beginning of March. You were very fit at the end of June for Western States. How are you now? Did you still train since Western States or did you relax?
Hermansen: I’ve been training a bit different than before Western States. I was running a lot of speed and road before Western States, so during the summer I’ve been doing much more mountains and hiking. I’ve been trying poles for the first time, so I’m going to use those.
iRunFar: You’ve been training with those?
Hermansen: Yes, but it’s a little bit easier to use poles here because the trails don’t have so many rocks like it is in Norway.
iRunFar: Rocks and not a lot of bushes around the trail.
Hermansen: No, it’s really nice to use them here. I also tried them in Norway. The training has gone well but different training than earlier. We’ll see Friday and Saturday.
iRunFar: You have good energy? And how about mentally because, again, it’s been a very long season? How do you…
Hermansen: Yes, it’s a long season, but I think it’s only my fourth race. I think it’s okay. Mentally, I’m prepared. I’m looking forward to this. This and Western States are my two main goals this season, so if I’m not mentally prepared for this, what the heck am I doing here?
iRunFar: But it’s also not the end of your season.
Hermansen: I haven’t decided.
iRunFar: You’re just looking at Friday and Saturday…?
Hermansen: Yes, one week for now I will decide what I’m going to do in October and November.
iRunFar: But for now you’re looking to run around that big mountain.
iRunFar: What was your favorite part of running the course before the race? What section?
Hermansen: From Grand Col Ferret, it’s nice runnable and not very steep. You can run fast. It’s a long, long descent.
iRunFar: Down to La Fouly.
Hermansen: Yes, I actually liked the last part also, so I’m looking forward to that.
iRunFar: That’s good. I think I’m going to be positioned in La Fouly, so I’ll be waiting for you to make your move from Grand Col Ferret.
Hermansen: Hopefully I have some energy left to push there.
iRunFar: Best of luck, Didrik.
Hermansen: Thank you. Thank you.