Spaniard Miguel Heras has seen success in Northern California having twice won The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships in San Francisco. He’s previously had an entry in the Western States 100, but an injury kept him out. This year, he’s back and looking to make a run of it after taking second at TNF Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc last year. In the following interview, Miguel talks about why he’s excited for Western States, whether he’s injury-free, if he feels strong, and whether he can win. (Then, he gets me to ask a bonus question in Spanish!)
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Miguel Heras Pre-2014 Western States 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Miguel Heras before the 2014 Western States 100. How are you, Miguel?
Miguel Heras: Fine. And you?
iRunFar: Very well. Beautiful day.
iRunFar: This is your first time running Western States. Are you excited?
Heras: Yes, I’m so happy to be here. I hope the race goes well for me.
iRunFar: What are you excited about?
Heras: I think Western States is a special race in the USA—the oldest I think in the USA? I hope to be in good condition. I think I can do a good race.
iRunFar: You’ve had a number for the race before but you were injured. Are you healthy?
Heras: Yes, my health is good at this moment. I have no injury. I want to run. I want to enjoy during the race. It will be my first time here and I hope to learn the runners in the USA. I hope my legs will be good.
iRunFar: Have you made changes to your training so you are not injured because you have had many injuries?
Heras: No, I had a bad winter. But I was training but not much running—bicycle and ski mountaineering. But one month ago and several days, I can run and at this moment I think I have similar training—flat and no mountain because I think this race is important to run faster because it’s not so flat. I think it’s important to run faster than in Europe.
iRunFar: So you changed your training to match the race.
iRunFar: How has your season been for racing before Western States?
Heras: I did two races—the Championships of Spain, Penyagolosa.
Heras: Yes. 118k. I felt more or less good, but it was my first race this year. And one week before today I did 100k in my town. I think it was good preparation for Western States, but I don’t know if my feeling in five days could be good or no good.
iRunFar: You were the champion (winner) of both races?
Heras: Yes, but it’s not important.
iRunFar: The field was not as strong as Western States?
Heras: I don’t know. There are other strong runners—Ryan Sandes, Rob Krar. I hope to be as strong, but I don’t know.
iRunFar: Your fitness is good even if you did not run much over the winter. You feel strong?
Heras: I feel good at the moment.
iRunFar: Do you think you can win?
Heras: It’s very difficult, but I’m going to try.
iRunFar: What do you think the biggest challenge is or the most important aspects of Western States will be?
Heras: The warmth is important, the long distance, and I think the speed is the most important because 100 miles in 15 hours is high (fast).
iRunFar: It’s a good point. You’ve run a number of 100-mile races, but they’ve all taken much longer time. Here you have to run for 100 miles but much faster.
Heras: Yes, it’s so difficult. When you do a race at Mont Blanc or Andorra, sometimes you have to walk and your body ‘rests.’ When all the time you’re running, running, running, your legs… it’s difficult for the legs.
iRunFar: At Western States, when there are mountains it’s early, and late in the race when you’re tired, more and more running.
Heras: All the time. All the time.
iRunFar: Miguel, it’s great to see you and best of luck. Good luck at the race.
Heras: Thank you so much.
iRunFar: Uno mas. One more question.
Heras: In Spanish.
iRunFar: El equipo de España, en la Copa Mundial, ¿Qué pasa? (Spanish Team in the World Cup, what happened?)
Heras: Bueno, tenemos que dejar que jueguen otros equipos. Este año hemos dejado que intenten ganar Holanda o Alemania, o incluso Brasil o Argentina pueden ganar. (Well, we had to leave other teams to play. This year we left the chance to Netherlands or Germany to try to win, or even Brasil or Argentina may win.)
iRunFar: ¿Y los Estados Unidos? (And the United States?)
Heras: Estados Unidos bueno, podría ganar Fútbol Americano o Beisbol, pero al Soccer imposible. (The United States, well, they might win at American football or baseball, but soccer, impossible.)
iRunFar: Bueno… (Okay…)