Núria Picas is a factor in every trail race she runs, and this will undoubtedly be the case at this weekend’s Grand Trail des Templiers, a race she’s won the past two years. In the following interview, Núria talks about why she’s back at Templiers for a third time, how she’ll battle physical and mental fatigue in this the final race of her season, and asks about a certain 2:26 marathoner in the field.
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Núria Picas Pre-2014 Les Templiers Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Núria Picas before the 2014 Grand Trail des Templiers. How are you, Núria?
Núria Picas: Fine, and you?
iRunFar: Good. You have won this race twice.
Picas: Yes. It’s my third tradition.
iRunFar: Why are you back? You’ve won twice.
Picas: Yes, because I really like this race. It’s an amazing place to run. The forest, the environment, all the people here—I really love. It’s my third tradition and it’s good.
iRunFar: It’s very different than the mountains—the Pyrenees and the Alps—so what about the environment here do you like?
Picas: Yes, it’s very different than the Pyrenees or Mont Blanc or Kima, but the forests are really unbelievable. It’s nice to see here. The forests are… running through these trees and this place, I really love. Yeah, it’s full of castles, and it’s different. It’s like another world, like we’re running in another timing… many ages…
iRunFar: A few centuries ago?
Picas: Yeah, yeah.
iRunFar: Yeah, because you literally run through an old church or past old castles or right next to.
Picas: Yeah, old churches, old castles, and sometimes with the fog between us running, it’s really exciting.
iRunFar: Or there will be stone walls that you’re running next to, and they’ve been there for 1,000 years or 2,000.
Picas: Yes. The first time when I arrived here I thought, Where are the mountains? I didn’t like the place because I love the mountains. But when I started to run, Oh, it’s beautiful, and I liked it.
iRunFar: A number of times in the race you’re up high on the cliffs and you can see everything.
Picas: Yes, you can see everything. There are a lot of places to climb as well, and I love climbing. So when I am running here, I am thinking about come back again next week but not running but climbing.
iRunFar: Will you do that?
iRunFar: You’ll stay here after the race?
Picas: No, I need to come back to home, but I would like to.
iRunFar: The race isn’t very technical, but there are times when you’re using your hands on the rocks?
Picas: Yes, some places that we can use our hands to help the uphills.
iRunFar: A lot of the races you run are in the steep mountains, but there are some fast parts of this race. Do you enjoy the variety?
Picas: Yes, I like running fast as well, but it’s not as technical as I’d like. It’s different. I’m thinking to start the race calm, yes, and then we will see, because the more difficult part of this race is at the end. If you have energy at the end, then a lot of possibilities to win.
iRunFar: Just the last climb and descent or even before that?
Picas: Yes, there are two climbings at the end that are really hard.
iRunFar: The last descent starts off very technical.
Picas: Very technical, yes, the descent. Yeah, I really love it. I’m waiting for it for sure.
iRunFar: You’ve had a very long season with great success. Are you finally done after this race?
Picas: Yes, yes, I need to take one month off for sure, and then I will see. Now I’m really tired. My body, of course, and my mind need to relax.
iRunFar: Do you think you can forget about that for one day and really race, though, tomorrow?
Picas: I’m sorry?
iRunFar: Do you think you’ll be able to forget that your mind is tired and your body is tired and still give a good race tomorrow?
Picas: Yes, yes, hmmm, I was thinking about this because it’s difficult to train every day, and ooof. I need to concentrate for tomorrow. It’s only 74k of trail running, and it’s my last effort and then finished.
iRunFar: Did you run Ultra Pirineu?
iRunFar: How did that run go for you?
Picas: Oh, it was very nice to be there because they are my mountains and my people and I really enjoy that race. Yes, I love it. It’s 100k, but for me it’s short because I enjoy, I really enjoy the race.
iRunFar: Did you win that as well?
Picas: Yes, it’s my fourth tradition winning, and I’m very happy with it.
iRunFar: So you can cap the season off with one more win tomorrow?
Picas: Welllllllll, it’s difficult. I know there are a lot of good runners from the U.S. and the world.
iRunFar: The field is always strong at Templiers, but it’s much stronger this year than in the past.
Picas: Yes, the people, and the other runners, no? Yes, there is a runner [Magdalena Boulet] who has 2:26 as a marathoner. Unbelievable.
iRunFar: Yes, and her first trail ultra was only last December at The North Face.
Picas: Yes, and she was second.
iRunFar: That was her first 50 mile, her first ultra.
Picas: Okay, tomorrow will be hard.
iRunFar: She’s good on the fast; you’re good on the technical.
Picas: Yeah, we will see.
iRunFar: Enjoy the descents.
iRunFar: Best of luck, Núria.
Picas: Thank you very much. See you tomorrow.