Norway’s Yngvild Kaspersen has burst onto the trail running scene in the past year and, now, she’s running The Rut 28k this weekend. In the following interview, Yngvild talks about where she’s visited on her current tour of the American West, how she came to trail running (and doing so around the world), and what it was like winning the Zegama Marathon, her first marathon, in May.
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Yngvild Kaspersen Pre-2016 The Rut 28k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Yngvild Kaspersen before the The Rut 28k 2016. How are you?
Yngvild Kaspersen: Hi. Very good. Nice to be here.
iRunFar: You’ve been taking a nice long tour of the United States coming into this race. Where have you been so far?
Kaspersen: First we flew to Denver, and we’ve been to Boulder, Aspen, Moab, and drove through Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons to get here.
iRunFar: That’s a pretty magical trip, yeah?
Kaspersen: Yeah, it was awesome.
iRunFar: Have you guys been able to control how much running you do, or have you been so excited that you’ve run a lot?
Kaspersen: There are so many nice trails. We haven’t seen them all because we have too short time to see every trail around these places. It’s been a lot of running and new experiences. It’s been really cool.
iRunFar: Have you had a favorite run so far or a favorite trail?
Kaspersen: It’s very difficult because every place is so different. Moab is a really unique place. I’ve never seen a place like Moab. Also we had a run in Aspen that was really amazing, like up to Electric Peak. That was also my first time being over 4,000 meters. It was a nice experience.
iRunFar: You’ve had a lot of good experiences, fair enough. You’ve had a lot of nice experiences with your running so far this season. You won at Zegama Marathon. You ran well at Dolomites, right?
Kaspersen: Yeah, it was an okay race. I did 10 minutes slower than last year. I hadn’t had a really good feeling. I was tired. It’s better now.
iRunFar: At Zegama, it was your first marathon. It’s the most famous trail marathon in the world and has great competition. Did you have any expectation of winning it?
Kaspersen: Not at all. I was just running for the pleasure. It was early season, and I’d heard many good things about Zegama. I was excited about running there. I just wanted to do my own race and was surprised when it went really well.
iRunFar: How long have you been running trail races competitively?
Kaspersen: This will be my second year.
iRunFar: What made you start trail racing?
Kaspersen: There are many reasons. It’s what I love to do, running in the mountains and being outside. It’s one of my passions.
iRunFar: Had you been doing that before you were competitively racing?
Kaspersen: Yeah, for sure, being outside running, but I was mostly running for playing soccer. So now it’s very different. It’s so much nicer.
iRunFar: When did you make the transition from running as training for soccer to running as a pursuit in itself?
Kaspersen: It was the summer two years ago that I was playing soccer.
iRunFar: So only two years and here you are winning races like Zegama and traveling the world to trail run. Is that a dream?
Kaspersen: Oh yeah, it’s a dream come true really. After I got in touch with Salomon, my whole life has changed for the better. I really enjoy being here and doing this. I appreciate it so much. I don’t take anything for granted.
iRunFar: How did that happen? You were a soccer player. How did you all the sudden find yourself on the Salomon team?
Kaspersen: It started after the first race I did in Chamonix, the Cross 23k at Mont Blanc Marathon. That was my first international race. I was just going there with some friends and running because it sounds fun to run in the Alps. I’d never been there. Yeah, it went really well. Then I got in touch with Greg Vollet, and he invited me to some races and I was just, Whoa, this is like a dream. I never can imagine me going to these races and being here. Yeah, it’s amazing.
iRunFar: You’re so new to the sport. How do you structure your training? Do you work with a coach, or do you just go out and run every day? How do you prepare?
Kaspersen: Yeah, I do my own training. I train myself. I have people to talk to and to give me advice and to ask if I wonder something about my training. I have people to ask.
iRunFar: You’re from Norway. Where are you from in Norway?
iRunFar: Awesome. That seems like a pretty spectacular place.
Kaspersen: Yeah, I really like it. I like it there.
iRunFar: Probably have some pretty good—not the high altitude for this—but some pretty good training for steep climbs?
Kaspersen: It’s different with the altitude. Now I’ve been in the States for a few weeks, so it should be better than last year. Last year I came directly from Tromsø to here, so it was like zero to 2,400 meters. I felt it very much, but now it’s better. Yeah, we’ll see.
iRunFar: I don’t think you did this year, but did you run the Tromsø Sky Race this year?
Kaspersen: Only the Vertical K.
iRunFar: How did that go?
Kaspersen: It was nice.
iRunFar: Was it interesting running an international-style race in your hometown?
Kaspersen: Yes, very special to get all the people from the Salomon team to Tromsø. I had some of them in my house. I cooked them my fish dinner. It was nice to show them some Norwegian traditions.
iRunFar: Have you gotten to experience that elsewhere when you’ve been traveling to see real authentic experiences?
Kaspersen: Yes, every place is very unique in their own way. I learn a lot from other cultures. It’s nice to see not only the place where the race is but to see a bit of the country around and the atmosphere and the people. Yeah, it’s nice.
iRunFar: Do you feel ready for the 28k on Saturday?
Kaspersen: Yeah, I really am excited about running because it’s been a long time since I had my last race. I’m really excited to run here. We’ll see tomorrow how it goes.
iRunFar: It’s great to meet you, Yngvild. Enjoy your race.
Kaspersen: It’s great to meet you. Thanks.