Núria Picas won Transgrancanaria for the second year in a row with a nearly identical performance both years after one accounts for the extra 2-3 kilometers on this year’s course. In our interview, Núria talks about the highs and lows of race, if she worried about any of her competition catching her as she grew tired in the last kilometers, and her impending adventure as an alpinist on Makalu in the Himalaya.
For more on the race, read our 2015 Transgrancanaria results article.
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Núria Picas, 2015 TNF Transgrancanaria Interview Champion, Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Núria Picas after her win at the 2015 The North Face Transgrancanaria. Congratulations, Núria.
Núria Picas: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: Another win!
Picas: Yeah, another win. I didn’t win in Tarawera, but for me it was a win because I was third and I finished the race. So I’m very happy.
iRunFar: That was very tough. You only had two weeks of training, and it was very flat with a lot of running. Were you happy to be back in your element?
Picas: Yes. Yes, it was a big race here. It’s full of different styles. At the beginning it’s full up and down and more technical tracks. The crazy finish is… crazy.
iRunFar: So it’s very different.
Picas: Very different.
iRunFar: Is it… Tarawera there’s a lot of flat. Here, there is a lot of climbing, but then you have to run fast late in the race.
Picas: Yes, both. It’s very technical at the beginning, the first 60k, and then it’s just downhill, downhill until the 20k where it’s completely, crazy flat with all the sun. It’s very warm. This kind of pollution…
Picas: Calima—it’s very difficult to run. It’s difficult to go fast at the end.
iRunFar: You went out in the race and Emilie Lecomte was out ahead of you. Were you worried about her?
Picas: Just a little because Emilie Lecomte I know is a good runner at big distances. Emilie is one of the best ultra-trail runners in the world.
iRunFar: The longer and more difficult, the stronger.
Picas: Yes, the longer, the more easier for her. I was thinking about Emilie at the end of the race because I was just a little slowly, but everybody was a little slowly yesterday by the last 20k’s. I was thinking of Emilie.
iRunFar: You were thinking of Emilie?
Picas: Yeah, I was thinking of her.
iRunFar: You had some lead at 90 or 100k, but you seemed to be struggling. You seemed to be in a very tough place in your mind, and you looked tired. Even at 80k…
Picas: Yeah, I went very easy the first 60k enjoying a lot, running very fast, and it was amazing. After 60k I had some problems with my power? I don’t know. Maybe I didn’t eat too much food. I don’t know. My energy was decreasing to the end. It was hard to manage these moments.
iRunFar: That’s incredible because your energy was low before half the race was done. How did you keep yourself motivated for half the race?
Picas: Yes, because I was in the front and I was here in Gran Canaria. I don’t know. I know everyone wants to win here.
iRunFar: Do you think your race this year or last year was better?
Picas: It’s the same time, exactly the same. Last year I was in 100%. I was very confident. This year, no, but it’s a surprise and the same result. It was only 10 minutes more than last year but it was 2k more, so it was…
iRunFar: Just about even.
Picas: The same.
iRunFar: Very soon you’ll be doing something different. You’re going to Nepal. Can you tell us a little bit about what you’ll be doing there?
Picas: Yeah, it’s a little secret, but I’m going to Nepal to climb one of the high mountains of the world, Makalu. I’m really excited to be there because it’s my first time climbing the high mountain.
iRunFar: 8,000 meters.
Picas: 8,000 meters for me will be a fantastic, different sport.
iRunFar: You have climbing experience. Is this route very technical, this mountain?
Picas: I have. It’s the normal route. It’s not the easiest 8,000 meters. It’s a high altitude. It’s 8,500 meters. The top of the mountain, there is a part that’s just a little technical. It’s not easy to be there.
iRunFar: When you’re that high and it’s technical, it’s different from being on Montserrat.
Picas: Yes, true.
iRunFar: Will you go with a professional guide?
Picas: Yes, I’ll go with Ferran Latorre. He has 10 high mountains.
iRunFar: You have the skills but you want to have assistance from someone who knows.
Picas: Yes, because it’s my first time there, and I need to learn about it.
iRunFar: How long will you acclimatize? How many weeks?
Picas: The whole expedition is more than one month and a half. Maybe I need to acclimatize more than one month up and down and stay there.
iRunFar: So no Transvulcania and no Zegama.
Picas: No, it’s a busy year. I would like to be there, but it’s not possible.
iRunFar: What might your next race be?
Picas: [Pointing off screen: It’s Joe Grant.]
iRunFar: Hi, Joe!
Picas: My next race is Andorra at the end of June. It’s a marathon to prepare for the Buff Epic Trail in the middle of July.
iRunFar: So you won’t run Ronda del Cims?
Picas: No, Ronda del Cims is too much for me after the Makalu. Then UTMB, is my goal race for this year. After this, Ultra Pirineu.
iRunFar: That’s a full schedule. Even though you’re doing a different expedition, you still have a full race calendar. Are you excited for both?
Picas: Yes, both. Both things—Makalu and the races, it’s a big goal and I’m very happy and content.
iRunFar: Congratulations to you on a great run here and have fun in Nepal. Maybe I will see you there.
Picas: Thank you. Yeah.