Olympian Magdalena Boulet first gave ultrarunning a shot less than a year ago at the 2013 TNF EC 50 Mile Championships in San Francisco, where she finished a solid second place. With that year of trail racing under her belt, she will start this weekend’s Grand Trail des Templiers as a women’s favorite. In the following interview, Magda talks about how her 2014 season has gone, how she’ll use her strengths during Les Templiers, and what it’s like getting back to competing as a team.
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Magdalena Boulet Pre-2014 Les Templiers Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Magdalena Boulet before the 2014 Grand Trail des Templiers. How are you, Magda?
Magdalena Boulet: I’m doing great. I’m really excited to be here.
iRunFar: You had a long international career on the road circuit. Are you excited to be back in the international travel?
Boulet: Absolutely. I have never raced in France. I’m really, really excited to be here. I’ve never been to this part of France either. I’ve been to Nice, but just being just a little bit north of Nice and seeing this part of the countryside is pretty incredible. I’m pretty excited for what’s to come tomorrow.
iRunFar: Yeah, you got to look at the course some yesterday? What did you think?
Boulet: Yes. It’s a pretty mixed bag of everything. You’ve got road; you’ve got trails; you’ve got some pretty steep ascents and descents and rocky, beautiful grassy forest trails. We’re going to get it all tomorrow.
iRunFar: It’s quite a mix. Is there anything in particular you’re really looking forward to tomorrow?
Boulet: I’m really looking forward to running through the middle of the church coming straight from pristine forest trails. That aid station we went to visit yesterday just got me all excited about just running the course.
iRunFar: You’re fairly new to the competitive trail running scene. How comfortable are you on technical descents?
Boulet: It’s still a learning curve for me. I still get intimidated seeing really steep sections, but it’s a challenge for me. I like challenges, so I’m going to embrace it.
iRunFar: Do you think you’ll use some of the flatter or less technical sections to your advantage? Are you going to push them particularly?
Boulet: I think that I kind of have to. I want to be safe out there. I want to walk away from this race without any broken bones or any injuries, so I think the flatter sections definitely are going to suit me pretty well. I’m hoping to feel good on them. Coming off the pretty steep and technical parts, you look forward to the sections that might be your strength, but you don’t always feel good coming off those really technical sections. Hopefully tomorrow is going to be a good day.
iRunFar: How has your season been so far?
Boulet: It’s been really good. I haven’t really overraced a ton. It’s been a good mix. I did a spring marathon on the road—I did Boston. I did one 50 miler this year and a couple 50k’s. I think it’s been the right amount of racing, not too much. The season is not over after this.
iRunFar: You feel like you can compete and push in late October.
Boulet: Yeah, correct. I’m definitely looking forward to December and gearing up and training for The North Face race in December. So this is a great, great test for me to see where the training has taken me.
iRunFar: It’s incredible to think that your first ultra was less than a year ago, 10 months ago or 11 months ago.
iRunFar: Here you are in France…
Boulet: I know, and being on a team and running… this is such a great concept. I think we need more races like this where we bring—whether it’s shoe companies creating some competition or World versus France or USA versus France. This is so much fun. It brings excitement. People really stand behind it. You get fired. Up.
iRunFar: Whether you take it seriously or for fun, it’s still an interesting aspect.
Boulet: Yes, absolutely.
iRunFar: Speaking of the team aspect, you race for the United States now, but do you see the European team and like… there’s a bunch of Polish runners on it. Is it fun to have them here?
Boulet: Absolutely. It’s such a small world. I’ve been really, really lucky to represent the U.S. at the World Championships in Poland which was like a dream come true. I never trained or ran when I lived in Poland. I started running in the U.S. Still, getting to know the runners, it’s been so much fun. I think it’s why we all do it, to get some… to develop some relationships and friendships with people all over the globe.
iRunFar: Speaking of team competition, there’s also the World 100k coming up in a couple of months. Is that something you’d ever consider, running 100k on the roads?
Boulet: Maybe running on the roads is not as exciting to me at this time. Never say never. I never thought I was going to be doing ultras. If you had asked me five or 10 years ago, I would have said, “Gosh that seems so long.” I love it now. I think I’m more interested in the 80k next year, the World Championships on the trails.
iRunFar: Is that in Annecy?
Boulet: Yes! That would be probably more something that I would be excited about. At the same time, representing your country at any level is always an honor. I’ve always had so much fun making teams, and those are the memories I look back on and am very proud of being a part of it.
iRunFar: Yeah, well, best of luck tomorrow and enjoy.
Boulet: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: Thank you.