David Riddle (Salomon) has had a great past 12 months leading up to the UROC 100k, including a JFK 50 course record, being top American at the 2012 IAU 100k World Championship, and finishing 11th at his 100 mile debut at Western States. In the following interview, find out at bit more about David’s running background, what he’s done since Western States, and what his plans are for the future.
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David Riddle Pre-2012 UROC 100k Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with David Riddle for the first time. How are you doing, David?
David Riddle: I’m doing quite well, thank you.
iRF: You’ve had quite the past year. JFK Record—everybody knows about. That was hugely impressive. It was the 49th running of the event, and you ran that course record. You were the top American at the World 100k this year, right?
Riddle: That was a little surprising personally.
iRF: I believe it was your first 100 miler at Western States. You out-sprinted Yassine [Diboun] on the track, right?
Riddle: Yeah, I had a strong finish.
iRF: Got your 11th place there. So all in all a very good year. How are you feeling right now heading into your first UROC?
Riddle: I don’t know, honestly. I took a bit of down time after Western States, and then in the last month or so I’ve kind of gotten back into the ultra training with big miles and running hard. So this is kind of my first test of the fall. I don’t really have any reason to doubt my fitness, but it will be a test for sure.
iRF: People probably aren’t, even after some written interviews with you on iRunFar, people aren’t all that familiar with you. What’s your running background? How long have you been running?
Riddle: I’ve been running since the seventh grade. I ran middle school, high school, went to college and ran cross country and track for Auburn University. I never was on scholarship. I was kind of mediocre at best in Division I distance running. I just loved the sport and stayed with it. I tried to run fast in the road marathon for a few years after college. It didn’t look like I was going to get the Olympic Trials qualifier for the marathon, so I started running trails and fell in love with that. The long distances seemed to really work out for me.
iRF: If I remember correctly, you did, when you were moving into ultras, you did a bunch of 50k’s? Technical ones?
Riddle: I did. I’ve always been pretty conservative in my racing and race approach. So I didn’t want to jump into 50 milers and 100 milers right away. So I just ran a lot of 50k’s and built up my strength. In the area that I lived in at the time, North Alabama, some of those 50k’s are actually pretty technical in areas. That’s kind of what I cut my teeth on. They weren’t mountainous, so not all that difficult really.
iRF: But you do have experience on technical trail.
iRF: This course is going to be a mix of some technical trail, some moderate singletrack, and then some road running.
Riddle: Yeah, I like the mix here. We were just talking amongst ourselves a minute ago about how much climb there is on the course. I think that’s really the question mark for me. I like the mix of technical trail and the road stuff. I think I can do well on both of those; it’s just how much climb we have.
iRF: You went out to Quadrock 50 miler this spring, right?
iRF: And that didn’t go so well?
Riddle: Well, you know, I just don’t have any experience with that much climb. It was just climbing straight up and straight down. There was a little bit of altitude there, maybe 7,000 to 8,000 feet? I didn’t expect that to bother me, but it kind of did. Honestly, it bothered me the first 30 miles of Western States. I just didn’t feel right—mostly my mind, head, stomach, and, then, my legs.
iRF: So it’s less the absolute elevation change and more the altitude?
Riddle: Well, I don’t claim to be a good climber. I don’t have anything to train on.
iRF: Where are you based out of these days?
Riddle: Cincinnati, Ohio. There are hills there, but they are 300 feet and that’s all you’ve got. I’ve tried to incorporate more treadmill climbing like setting the treadmill at 10% incline and running for an hour and that type of thing, but it doesn’t quite replicate real running uphill I don’t think.
iRF: No, especially not on technical trail and the choppiness of it.
Riddle: Exactly, right.
iRF: Looking a little bit past this year, you were 11th at Western States this past year, is that a race you’re looking at going back to? What are your thoughts on next year?
Riddle: I’d really like to try to get back into Western States. I feel like I kind of know what I’m getting into now. I definitely feel like I can improve and run well there. But because I was 11th, I have to get that qualifying spot now.
iRF: Are you going to do JFK?
Riddle: JFK is on the calendar, so I’ll give it a shot there. I like my chances, but anything can happen. You just never know what kind of day you’re going to have especially with the talent level of the ultra world right now. It’s just growing by leaps and bounds so much so. There are a lot of guys that could potentially come in top 2 in that race. So I think the rest of my spring schedule kind of depends on if I get that qualifier or if I have to go chasing that Ultra Cup.
iRF: Banging down to Bandera, or… ?
Riddle: Exactly, exactly.
iRF: Cool, we’ll probably see you around a couple more times, then.
Riddle: For sure!
iRF: Thank you, David. Best of luck tomorrow.
Riddle: Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
iRF: Let’s get out of the rain.