Italy’s Giorgio Calcaterra has run the IAU 100k World Championships, winning three of them (’08, ’11, ’12), including the past two events. In the following interview, Giorgio talks about how he’ll run his own race on Friday, why it’s getting harder for him to win the world championships, and how he thinks he and the Italian team will fair in these championships.
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Giorgio Calcaterra Pre-2014 IAU 100k World Championships Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Giorgio Calcaterra before the 2014 IAU 100k World Championships. You’re the defending champion, two-time defending champion. Congratulations.
Giorgio Calcaterra: Thank you.
Translator: Three-time defending champion.
iRunFar: Three wins total, two times in a row, yes. You not only won the last two races, but you’ve participated five times. Are you very comfortable running the 100k World Championships?
Calcaterra: Yes, it’s very amazing to participate this year at the world cup. It’s always a world cup for every athlete, so it’s a great competition. For this year, it will be very hard because there are a lot of very strong competitors and a lot of athletes who have personal bests under 6:30. I have two years more since the last competition—42 years means it’s a bit difficult to be in as good condition as when you’re 30 or 32 years old.
iRunFar: You have a lot of experience, but you’re getting older.
Calcaterra: Yes, experience is very important, but it’s also important to have strong legs and good condition.
iRunFar: Your personal best in the marathon is 2:15?
iRunFar: But from 2000, correct?
Translator: Yes. That year he ran 16 marathons under 2:20. It was a Guinness Book of World Records record.
iRunFar: So you continued to run under 2:20?
Calcaterra: The last marathon he ran was 2:29, but I’m not satisfied about my time. I can run much faster.
iRunFar: You’ve been running marathons and longer for a very long time. You must know your body very well. How fast do you think you can run here?
Calcaterra: I don’t know because there are a lot of very strange situations here—the weather, humidity, the track—I think about 3:55 to 4:05 minutes per kilometer. It depends also on the other professionals.
iRunFar: Speaking of the other participants, you mentioned there are a lot of people with very fast personal bests and also a lot of very young athletes who haven’t been to world 100k’s before. If some of these young runners go out very fast, will you be able to run your own race and control your efforts?
Calcaterra: It’s very difficult to run with the young athletes with 6:18 to 6:20 personal bests. I think it’s better to run with my feelings and associations because the race is very long. If I run against the other athletes faster than me for the first kilometers, then the finishing result is not so good. I’d like to run with my sensations and possibilities at the moment.
iRunFar: For you, the key is to run your best-possible race and not to worry about the other runners?
Calcaterra: Yes, I will.
iRunFar: You’ve won the world championships three times. You’ve run it five times. What keeps you excited? What keeps you coming back?
Calcaterra: It’s a great possibility. It’s great to start with number one. You have to run another race. The race is always a new race. If you start with the number one, it’s not easy to win again. You have to run another time and another race with other athletes, and the other athletes are very strong.
iRunFar: There are a lot of other new, fast competitors from Russia, Steve Way from the U.K., some fast Americans who’ve never run. There are also the people who come every year—Michael Wardian, Jonas Buud. Do you like getting to test yourself against these same athletes?
Calcaterra: I don’t think about the other athletes because I know well that they are really strong. Steve Way is very strong. [Vasily] Larkin, Jonas Buud, and Michael Wardian are strong. I will run just for myself. I will think about the sensation of my legs because how I said before, it’s 100k which is very long. It’s impossible to run against the other participants. You have to run with yourself.
iRunFar: There’s also a team aspect to this race. How does the Italian team look for this race?
Calcaterra: I think we are very strong as a nation. If all the six Italian athletes run with their best performances, the podium is possible.
iRunFar: Do you think for yourself another win is possible?
Calcaterra: No. It’s very difficult to repeat another time. I think I was very lucky to win two times in a row. I’ll run fast and every kind of result will be accepted.
iRunFar: Best of luck. Thank you.
Calcaterra and Translator: Thank you.