After a rough 2015, Dakota Jones is back on his game and he’ll be running The Rut 28k. In the following interview, Dakota talks about how his recent racing has gone, why he’s excited to be running this weekend, and what he’s thinking about going into a 100-miler next weekend.
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Dakota Jones Pre-2016 The Rut 28k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Dakota Jones before the 2016 The Rut 28k. How are you doing, Dakota?
Dakota Jones: Good, and thanks for having me. It’s good to be back.
iRunFar: It’s good to be back. Last time I saw you… was it at Hardrock?
Jones: Yes, I paced Anna [Frost] at Hardrock.
iRunFar: But I really haven’t seen you in a long time. Part of that was you were kind of broken last year.
Jones: Yes, I basically missed a year of racing because I had a stress fracture in my foot.
iRunFar: Then the same stress fracture again?
Jones: Yes, I had it, healed it, and did it again. The point is, I’ve come back really slow, but I’ve built it up over the summer. I actually feel super confident about my health right now.
iRunFar: You had a pretty kick-ass race at Squamish 50 Mile two weeks ago.
Jones: Yeah, definitely. I ran the first 50-mile race I’ve done in a year-and-a-half. I felt really good. It’s obviously a super hard course, but Squamish is awesome. They put on a great race. It was nice to be able to run it again and run hard.
iRunFar: It’s only a couple years old, but there’s been plenty of good competition in the last couple years.
Jones: Definitely. Nick Elson’s time was amazing.
iRunFar: It wasn’t a weak time. You ran a couple races before that as well. Did you win Kendall Mountain?
Jones: Yes, I surprised me and ran the Kendall Mountain Run in Silverton. I guess that was in July. I went up and just ran, and I didn’t think I would do very well. I thought top five I could do if I could. I ended up winning which was a big surprise to me, but I think it was just more a matter of me being able to run downhill pretty well and not being a better runner than the other guys. The guys ahead of me were these two Ethiopian guys, Tim Parr, and a local Durango guy. They were all super strong in the uphill.
iRunFar: That’s a 12-mile race for those who aren’t familiar and just over 3,000 feet of climb (1,000 meters). It’s a straight-up-and-down race. I’d guess you probably have to take some risks on that descent.
Jones: Yeah, a bit, but not as many as I think we’ll have to take in The Rut. I don’t know what the course exactly is here, but I’m pretty sure we come off a pretty gnarly ridge on Lone Peak. That should be pretty exciting.
iRunFar: You’ve got to be pretty excited to run a 28k race because you clearly have the climbing legs and the speed for something like this.
Jones: I hope so. Squamish was only two weeks ago, and that 50 miles was hard, so you never know I’ve recovered especially since I’ve done a few big days in the mountains since then because Canada is awesome. But, I do think I can do okay. You never know how well. There are some really fast guys here and really strong runners. It’s funny being back on the iRunFar update about the race, it kind of made me nervous. Then I just had to remind myself that it’s just a run. I just have to go out there and run hard. I’ll take either first or maybe last or maybe somewhere in the middle, but whatever. I just want to run again. It feels good.
iRunFar: You’ve got another run next weekend?
Jones: Yeah, the one I’m building up to is the Wasatch 100 Mile which is next weekend. By “building up,” I mean I’ve just been running all summer and hoping I can…
iRunFar: How do you balance that? It’s next Friday.
Jones: Yeah, it’s not balanced. I don’t have the distance in my legs that I’d like for 100 miles. I’ve definitely skewed my training in favor of short races like this one.
iRunFar: What do you do tomorrow? You’re not going to be pulling punches?
Jones: I’m just going to run my ass off. Then I won’t run again. It will be time to taper. It’s a bit of a long, hard run six days before a hard 100 miler. I recognize it’s not the best way to do things, but Wasatch isn’t… it is a focus race in the sense that it’s going to take a lot to finish it, but I’m not going to go out there and try to win and set a course record. I just want to get some experience running 100 miles.
iRunFar: It’s been awhile, eh?
iRunFar: How long?
Jones: Two years… well, since I finished? Four. Two years since I tried.
iRunFar: Maybe I should come out to the Wasatch.
Jones: Yeah, and watch me explode.
iRunFar: Nice. Good luck out there this weekend, and have fun. Run your ass off.
Jones: Thanks. See you out there.