After an up and down 2014, Jorge Maravilla finds himself in New Zealand to kick off his 2015 at the Tarawera Ultramarathon. In the following interview, Jorge talks about exploring the world as a runner, how his 2014 season went, his desire to race more consistently this year, and what his inspiration is.
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Jorge Maravilla Pre-2015 Tarawera Ultramarathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Jorge Maravilla before the 2015 Tarawera Ultramarathon. How are you, Jorge?
Jorge Maravilla: Fantastic, yeah.
iRunFar: Is this your first time in New Zealand?
Maravilla: It is my first time. Pretty amazing.
iRunFar: How long have you been here?
Maravilla: I got here at 6 a.m. local time which was really 3 a.m. back home.
iRunFar: So, today.
iRunFar: So you’ve not had a chance to explore. Your first real explorations will be on the trail on Saturday.
Maravilla: On race day, yeah, part of the adventure.
iRunFar: You’ve done some international traveling for racing in the past. How is it just jumping around the world, touching down, and having a race a few days later? What are the challenges?
Maravilla: Well, I have had some experiences. It is a challenge, however, I don’t see it any different for any other race participant. This situation was a little more unique because I actually brought the family along and even that was more exciting. It adds an enhanced element to it all really because it just sort of encompasses and balances everything that’s a part of my life. It’s not just racing. It’s sharing these moments with my family. Yeah, it is definitely interesting getting here and, “Whoa, I’ve got a race in two days.” But hey, it is what it is.
iRunFar: That has been a big change since we last chatted on camera. You’ve got a son, five months old. How has that changed your running and your racing?
Maravilla: Oh, man, a whole new level of inspiration, a whole new level of reasoning to pursue the passion of running, and inspired to motivate him, but at the same time, it also balances me in that life is greater beyond just racing and doing those things. It’s like being a role model to him and exposing him to things I’m fortunate to have and explore as well as Ashley. Yeah, it’s pretty incredible. It’s hard to put it in words, but I just try to show him as much love as I can every day. It’s pretty amazing and incredible to have this experience happen here in New Zealand.
iRunFar: This is a big new experience for you. What are you most looking forward to personally about being in New Zealand?
Maravilla: As always, exploring new terrain. I think also as an athlete, it’s exploring where I am at this point in the year. I think this race course, it’s really always hard to say how this race is going to be because you look at the race course profile and it doesn’t have that much feet of climbing, however the footing can be different. But I look at this course and it certainly seems like it’s a fast, runnable course. I think that favors my style of running, not that I don’t like the big mountain stuff, but it’s intriguing. I think that’s why we’re here, to find out where we are and how we are up against the international field that’s here which is pretty fortunate to have the chance.
iRunFar: You’ve had some really good early-season (for North Americans) success. You’ve had some really good runs at Bandera in the past. How does your fitness compare to your win at Bandera last year?
Maravilla: It’s hard to say. It’s a whole new year. It’s a whole new experience, but I’d say I’m pretty fit right now given what my training has displayed in the last few weeks, given that I am a father now and am balancing those things out. But I’d say that I’m pretty fit right now, as fit as I’d want to be given that it’s February. There’s a long season ahead still, but I’m fit where I want to be right now. I feel good. I’m definitely excited to run this distance. I love this distance. I’m excited to go out there and run hard.
iRunFar: You had a couple down performances last year with Transgrancanaria and Western States, not race performances that you would have wanted.
Maravilla: Totally, yeah.
iRunFar: Then you finished seventh at The North Face 50, which with that field is a really strong result. Does that sort of change your feel of how your 2014 went, running-wise?
Maravilla: Yeah, I don’t think you can give one race the complete identifier of how I can represent you as an athlete, but they can be good confidence boosters. Certainly, The North Face 50 was a race where, given that I wasn’t training as much because I was even a much-newer father then, but to be out there and run hard against that field and place the way that I did, it was a good confidence booster for myself and hopefully for the community. “Hey, this Jorge Maravilla is still in the game. He still can race.” Yeah, it’s a big confidence booster to 2015. I’m very much looking forward to this year and the opportunities that come. I feel like I do want to, for lack of better description, make up for some of those poor performances that I’ve had in the past. I dig those out and let them drive me to be consistent in my performances. Not just like, hey, up here, down here, up here.
iRunFar: And you did finish those. They’re not… they just weren’t performances on the level you’d want.
Maravilla: Absolutely, yeah, yeah, yeah. No, the goal is always to cross the finish line no matter what. I’m a participant just like everybody else.
iRunFar: Transgrancanaria you finished not where you wanted, but you were darn happy to have made it.
Maravilla: Yeah, the goal is to accomplish the goal. It’s part of what this madness and craziness that we do in ultrarunning is to go through the ups and downs and to survive not only the physical challenge but the mental challenge that helps you not only for future racing but for life as well. I’m finding that it helps out a lot of aspects of life.
iRunFar: So you’re out there, let’s say it’s 30k or 50k or 65k or somewhere, there’s a good chance you’re going to hit a rough spot. What gets you through that on race day? Is there anything you go to?
Maravilla: First of all, it’s sort of diagnosing what’s going on that I’m not maybe taking care of, whether it’s hydration, nutrition, or what have you. Whether it’s sort of getting into that state of finding inspiration just because of the mere nature of the distance—I have a lot. I’ve persevered through so much in my life, but I also have so much inspiration in my life such as Ashley and Joaquin just as well as I’m also very fortunate to have an incredible community that surrounds me whether it’s the crew at SFRC [San Francisco Running Company] or even the community that I have immediately around me. They all inspire me. There are a lot of people who I know that maybe don’t race at the same level I do, but they’re also dads and they work full-time. They’re out there grinding away and still doing ultras. They inspire me. They’re getting across that finish line at x length of time it’s taking them. That inspires me. Some of them may not know that. Some of them do. But they inspire me.
iRunFar: You also have a really strong community running-wise in Mill Valley. You’re over here and Dylan Bowman, one of your neighbors, is here. Are you going to be psyched if you come through 70k and DBo is leading? Does that give you an inspiration or a push?
Maravilla: Yeah, definitely. It’s definitely pretty exciting and pretty inspiring to know that I’m here on the international stage and one of my biggest competitors is one of my biggest friends and my neighbor and a very good friend of mine. We’re very good friends, but at the same time, we’re competitors. We respect each other as athletes, but we have a lot of brotherhood love for each other that I can confidently say that I speak for us both that we would both be proud if either one of us won. Obviously, we’re competitors and we are here to race and win…
iRunFar: You want to win, and he wants to win.
Maravilla: I want to win, but I would be super stoked if he won. Yeah, it also feels good to be like, “Whoa, he’s one of my biggest competitors out here.”
iRunFar: Best of luck out there this weekend. Enjoy.
Maravilla: Thank you, Bryon. I appreciate it. Thank you, Bryon, as always.