Jorge “More Smiles” Maravilla could easily fill the role of Happiest Man in Ultrarunning. He’s also darn fast. At the 2012 Western States 100, he finished eighth with a breakthrough performance, finishing in 16:05:30. In the following interview, find out what makes this crowd favorite tick.
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Jorge Maravilla Post-2012 Western States Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Jorge “More Smiles” Maravilla after his wonderful run at the 2012 Western States 100. How do you feel?
Jorge Maravilla: I feel amazing. I feel wonderful. I think more than anything I just feel really privileged. I feel that I felt so much love and support that it’s just remarkable to be part of this community. I see a man right there that is also very supportive, AJW, and you being out there supporting us all. I feel great. My legs surprisingly are feeling pretty good.
iRF: You worked hard to get this one. You ran a couple of races to try to get your qualifier. Where did you eventually get that, the Montrail Ultra Cup spot?
Maravilla: I finally got it at Leona Divide 50 miler. I ended up third there just behind Mr. Timothy Olson who had a remarkable race yesterday. I couldn’t be happier and prouder for another guy. He’s a good friend of mine, and I’m just so happy for him. It was a battle there, too; I learned a lot about myself mentally and physically at that race (Leona Divide).
iRF: I really wouldn’t have known you last year from anybody, but this year you’ve built quite a reputation both as a racer and your attitude on the course. You’re an instant crowd favorite.
Maravilla: I wonder what it is.
iRF: Is your positivity for you or for the crowd or is it just the way you live?
Maravilla: I have to say it’s all of the above. I’m always smiling every day. I feel like everyone that’s out there is supporting us. I love sharing my energy with them and hopefully them generating energy. It’s kind of like a reciprocal fact. I love making them laugh and smile and then their energy… I fuel off of that.
iRF: See, a lot of people can’t … they’ll get that energy at Michigan Bluff or Foresthill and then they’ll get too amped and they’ll run really hard and then fall apart 5-10 minutes later. They get really tired. But you’re able to carry that wave of energy down the course?
Maravilla: Yeah, I’d have to say so. I think so. Each aid station I was really trying to make everyone laugh and have a good time. The last few aid stations weren’t as funny or as much energy. But I do, I think, I carry all of that energy from each aid station and from just being a part of the community.
iRF: Was this your first 100 miler?
Maravilla: It’s not. It was my second. Last year, I ran Tahoe Rim Trail 100 and finished that one. I came in first place.
iRF: Sorry, it’s been a long day. But this one, for sure, topped that experience? You had such a fast race.
Maravilla: Absolutely. Absolutely. I had some goals set and achieving them was just remarkable particularly at this stage. This was the 2012 Western States. I came into you guys at Robinson Flat and you guys were like, “How are you doing?” “Are you kidding me? I’m running Western States!”
iRF: He was literally like that.
Maravilla: I really felt that vibe and that privilege and feeling, “Wow, I’m running well. I’m running smooth. I’m running within myself and I’m dictating my own race. I feel very privileged.” And, “Wow, I had a good run.”
iRF: Were you seventh overall? What was your time?
Maravilla: I was eighth overall in 16:05, which for me is like, “Really? I’m a 16:05 guy at Western States?” Sure, the weather was good, too, but with everything else… I’ll take it! Top 10 at Western? I’ll take it!
iRF: Did you have any low thoughts? Be honest here. Were there any places you struggled physically or mentally?
Maravilla: Physically, I was on top of my nutrition, so I had no cramps all day, which is amazing. I think like most racers, the later miles and those downhill sections—“Oh, this is a quad-buster course.” My quads were feeling it a bit. Somehow I was able to manage it. Someone pointed out to me, I don’t know if it is true as I forget the details, but I think at Highway 49, Mackey had a 35-minute lead on me and I ended up finishing 12 minutes behind him. So I had a pretty good little stretch there at the end. That felt good. Also, I was like 15 minutes behind fourth place.
iRF: An historic year for Western States.
Maravilla: Yeah. I’m just feeling so privileged and I feel like I’m gaining some confidence – confidence that perhaps I didn’t quite have in myself. I was just kind of running; throw the shoes on and run. Now I’m gaining some confidence and getting hungrier. I want to train harder. This is just a great thing to be a part of.
iRF: So where are you going to take that confidence next?
Maravilla: I registered for Speedgoat 50k.
iRF: Excellent. We’ll be there. Congratulations on your run yesterday. We’ll see you in Utah in July.
Maravilla: Thank you. Thank you for your support and for providing so much that you do for our community as well.
iRF: As you say, it’s a privilege.
Maravilla: Thanks, Bryon.