Jarle Risa, 2016 Ultravasan Champion, Interview

Norway’s Jarle Risa had a breakout race in winning the 2016 Ultravasan 90k. In the following interview, Jarle talks about how his race played out, when he fits in running between work and family, and what he hopes to do at the 100k World Championships in a few months.

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Jarle Risa Post-2016 Ultravasan Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Jarle Risa after his win at the 2016 Ultravasan 90k. Congratulations. You had a very strong and very smart run out there yesterday.

Jarle Risa: Thank you. Yeah, I was slow at the start and also slow in the downhills. I think that was smart.

iRunFar: You saved your energy for the whole race. Did you ever think that the leaders were too far ahead for you to win?

Risa: Not really. As long as who I thought were the fast guys weren’t there—like Steve [Way] or the Americans—but Fritjof [Fagerlund] was also there and very strong, but he hadn’t that big gap.

iRunFar: He was within range. The early part of the race there was a large group of nine or ten runners just like last year. Did you think that once you got to the trail section there would be any difficulty with that many runners?

Risa: I just thought they were going too fast in the start. I was running sub-4:00 per k. I hoped that was okay and they can just go. I was hoping for top 10. When one or two guys from the…

iRunFar: From the lead group came back to you, you felt good?

Risa: Yeah.

iRunFar: Did you feel like it was good for your mind to be catching people through the race?

Risa: That’s always good to catch up and don’t…

iRunFar: You were catching people with… you know who some of these runners were, and you know their times… you know that a lot of PR’s are much faster than yours. Was that exciting?

Risa: Yeah, but they were too bad in the technical parts. I thought I was good, but they were rubbish.

iRunFar: They were rubbish on the technical. So that was an advantage to you there, those extra four or five kilometers.

Risa: I was always thinking they… after Evertsberg, the fast guys are coming, but they never did. So I was happy with that.

iRunFar: What did you think when you passed Fritjof to take the lead?

Risa: I saw that he was finished, but you never know. It’s still 15k to go. Perhaps the legs are… They were good the whole race.

iRunFar: You had no problems?

Risa: No, absolutely.

iRunFar: Good fueling?

Risa: That was also really, really good.

iRunFar: I understand you’re a very busy man. You have some dairy farms? You’re a veterinarian? You have three children?

Risa: Yes.

iRunFar: When do you run? What does your training look like?

Risa: Mostly, I run in the afternoons after six when I’ve finished working. Also I try to catch up in the weekends. I don’t sit still at work. That’s probably a…

iRunFar: Being active all day helps?

Risa: Yes. I usually run 150k per week every week.

iRunFar: As you’re preparing for this you have a few weeks at that volume?

Risa: Yes.

iRunFar: In preparation for this race, were you doing a lot of speedwork, or what would you do in your 150k?

Risa: I always do interval training two times per week. I’ve done several runs for 20-30k at 4:00 per k.

iRunFar: Like a tempo run or a little longer than that. This race, you won Ultravasan in a strong time, do you think it’s your best ultra performance?

Risa: Yes.

iRunFar: Your 100k PR is 7:01?

Risa: Yes, if I would have just gone 10k more, I would have been better.

iRunFar: Yeah, you could have just gone from the finish back… What does that have you thinking before… you’re entered in the World 100k Championships in November. What do you think you could run?

Risa: 6:40 or 6:50, but I must go. I don’t know. It’s not to say. It’s easier to run not just road.

iRunFar: And not just flat?

Risa: I hope… I must come under seven hours.

iRunFar: How does the Norwegian team look for that?

Risa: Didrik [Hermansen] is going to race. He’s at 6:30.

iRunFar: Could be a challenge for the Swedes?

Risa: Yeah, I think so. Then we have my brother who is also running. I have to beat him.

iRunFar: Of course. Do you have any races between now and then?

Risa: In five weeks, I run the Berlin Marathon. Four weeks after, the EcoTrail Madiera.

iRunFar: I was just talking to Fritjof and he runs at Uppsala, which is completely flat. This was hillier terrain than he trains on on a daily basis. You live where? Down in the fjords?

Risa: No, it’s also flat. If I’m lucky I can perhaps catch up with 400 meters for 30k. I like flat.

iRunFar: Going to the World 100k is good for you?

Risa: Yes.

iRunFar: Congratulations on your run here. See you in Spain, I think, in November.

Risa: Thank you. Yes.

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