Aussie Beth Cardelli is the fastest-returning finisher from last year to the 2014 Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon. In the following interview, Beth talks about how she got into ultrarunning, what races she’s focusing on in 2014, and the mindset she’ll use to tackle this weekend’s race.
For more on who else is racing this weekend, read our preview article.
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Beth Cardelli Pre-2014 Vibram Tarawera Ultramarathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Beth Cardelli before the 2014 Tarawera Ultramarathon. How are you doing, Beth?
Beth Cardelli: I’m good, thanks. How are you?
iRunFar: I’m doing alright. You ran this race last year. You finished second.
Cardelli: Yes. Correct.
iRunFar: So you’re the fastest returning finisher this year so kind of the favorite, I guess.
Cardelli: Oh, I don’t know. There are a lot of very fast women out there. I just want to try to get as close as I can to them. That would be nice.
iRunFar: So is that the only time you’ve run Tarawera, last year?
iRunFar: Okay, so you haven’t run the course we’re going to run on Saturday. You know the first 60k.
Cardelli: That’s right because they turned it around at 60k, didn’t they.
iRunFar: With fire danger—this year that’s not a problem. It could be a wet day on Saturday.
Cardelli: Yes, I’ve got my rain jacket.
iRunFar: You live in Australia.
iRunFar: Wet part or the hot part or both?
Cardelli: Yeah, pretty much we’ve got everything hot and cold.
iRunFar: Where is that?
Cardelli: New South Wales—Sydney.
iRunFar: In Australia, you’ve won the TNF 100 three straight years… three times, maybe?
Cardelli: Three times, yeah.
iRunFar: You have a lot of experience coming into this race. I don’t think the folks in the U.S. know you really well. How do you come into running and ultrarunning?
Cardelli: I started about five or six years ago. I just kind of fell into it. I don’t really know how it started; it just sort of happened. I just joined a local running group—Berowra Bush Runners—and I didn’t know they actually did longer runs than a marathon. I just turned up every week and slowly got a little bit better and used to running longer, and so I started doing more and more.
iRunFar: And now a number of years into ultrarunning, you’re still in it. What inspires you? What keeps you going out there year after year?
Cardelli: I think it does kind of does get a little bit addictive after awhile. You sort of just get used to it. I’ve got pretty much an addictive personality with everything, so…
iRunFar: So here you are.
Cardelli: And also just new challenges. You see how far you can push yourself and try and just do better each time. There are so many races out there now, it’s hard to choose.
iRunFar: So many races, so many great people to run against… You’ve run this; you’ve run the TNF 100. Is the 100k sort of your specialty distance?
Cardelli: I like the longer ones. I do like the 100 miles; I just haven’t done that many of them. My training hasn’t been… I’m trying to train for the Western States at the moment. I’m really, really looking forward to that. I did that a couple years ago and had such a great time. So I’m really lucky to have the opportunity again to do it.
iRunFar: How have you trained for this? You’re coming out of the summer. It’s so strange coming down from the Northern Hemisphere. You’ve had a whole summer of training and racing behind you.
Cardelli: I haven’t trained for this one, no. No, I’ve just been focusing on… I haven’t put any training into this. I’ve been doing long distances in training but nothing specific. I’ve just been training for TNF and Buffalo [Stampede]. I’m kind of using this one as a training run for Western.
iRunFar: So you’re getting your season started now more or less.
Cardelli: Yeah, I sort of don’t know what I’m… I just don’t really have a plan. I’m just sort of…
iRunFar: You just like to run?
Cardelli: Yeah, when I really think about it, I sort of do what everyone else is doing and just hope for the best.
iRunFar: Do you have any plans for this weekend? Are you going to run your own race? Are you going to try to hang with the top women?
Cardelli: I’ll try, yeah. I’ll see what I can do. I just want to have a good race and not gange it or anything.
iRunFar: Good effort and come out the other side. Keep going.
Cardelli: Finish. Yeah, your goals seem to change so much throughout the race. You go, I want this time. Then when you’re not going to get it you go, Oh well, what am I going to do now? As long as you can find something to motivate you to get to the end, I think that’s important.
iRunFar: That changes for you often—what that motivation is?
Cardelli: Yeah, quite a lot during the race.
iRunFar: It’s a long ways. You’re out there for nine or 10 or however many hours.
Cardelli: Yeah, it takes up the whole day.
iRunFar: Sunrise to sunset.
iRunFar: Many steps along the way. Well, best of luck out there this weekend, and have fun.
Cardelli: Thanks, Bryon. It’s good to talk to you.