For the second-straight year, Seth Swanson took second at the Western States 100. In the following interview, Seth talks about where his strengths were on the day, where he had rough patches, and where he’ll be racing next.
For more on how the race went down, check out our Western States results article.
Bonus: We’ve also got video of Seth finishing the race.
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Seth Swanson Post-2015 Western States 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Seth Swanson after his second-place finish at the 2015 Western States 100. Congratulations, Seth.
Seth Swanson: Thanks, Bryon. I appreciate it.
iRunFar: Second again.
Swanson: Rob [Krar] sets the bar pretty high.
iRunFar: He does set the bar pretty high. Is there any running with that guy?
Swanson: Early on, early on. But he knows what he’s doing and is conservative and then when it’s time, he hits the gas and doesn’t let off.
iRunFar: He’s darn good at that fast section at the end.
Swanson: Yes, he is. Yes, he is.
iRunFar: Where did your strengths lie on the day yesterday?
Swanson: I think just keeping the wheels moving. It was hot. It was hot early, so I kind of struggled in the canyons and dried out a bit. I don’t think I really excelled in that part. But I was just able to keep going and especially after Foresthill, just keep moving. That was kind of the name of the game, just keep moving.
iRunFar: You ran a fairly similar race last year, keeping yourself in contention early and working up later. Do you think you stuck well to your plan?
Swanson: Yeah, I think so. It was really similar to last year. I don’t think I necessarily made any moves or anything. The field just kind of fell apart or splintered a little bit. I just kind of stayed where I was at and was able to keep moving again be consistent there. I was saving up for after Foresthill and that really runnable terrain.
iRunFar: Aside from the heat in the canyons, did you have any low points along the course?
Swanson: Later on, it’s just tough. Definitely the canyons were really hard just drying out, and not having that hanging bridge last year was a godsend just being able to dip in that water and fill some water bottles. Not having that was tough. I dried out, so that was really hard. For the rest of the way I felt pretty good. Obviously, I was worn out at the end. It was hard to keep the legs really spinning, but besides that it was good.
iRunFar: Did you ever have a point during the day where you thought you could win it? It would be after the starting line going up the hill when things got rolling.
Swanson: No, everybody is good about telling me incrementally the advances that Rob makes. It’s five minutes, eight minutes, 10, 20… when I hear he’s 20 minutes ahead at Brown’s Bar, I just need to say, “Just do what you can.”
iRunFar: Is that disheartening or do you just keep your focus and keep running your own race?
Swanson: No, it’s not disheartening at all. We all know he’s incredibly strong. I still have to keep my head in the game so no one behind catches up. It’s just important to stay moving and keep going.
iRunFar: I haven’t taken a look. How close was your time to last year?
Swanson: Two minutes.
iRunFar: Faster this year?
Swanson: Yes, faster.
iRunFar: There ya go. You got some improvement. Mr. Consistent.
Swanson: That’s right.
iRunFar: Do you feel yourself building confidence because you’ve run well in Northwest races for years? Now your two Western States, second place—where does that set your sights for the future?
Swanson: I don’t know if it’s necessarily the placing or whatever, but I’m definitely interested and eager to try a wider breadth of events. Yeah, I’m excited. It’s been a blast.
iRunFar: Anything in particular on your calendar or anything you’d like to add if possible?
Swanson: I’m going to get a little bit of rest time—that will be nice—then UTMB in the summer.
iRunFar: Awesome. There’s a huge crew of Americans going over this year.
Swanson: I know. It’s a doozy, but yeah, it will be really fun to have a lot of Americans over there. Yeah, hopefully we can do really well.
iRunFar: Some of the best competition in the world.
Swanson: I know it. It’s a totally different atmosphere. It will be great.
iRunFar: It’s a totally different atmosphere. Are you excited to have the change in training? I’m guessing for Western States you have to do some flatter, faster training.
Swanson: yeah, I’ll be slowing things down and stacking a lot more vert. Yeah, it will be fun. It will be interesting to switch it up. Yeah, I’m looking forward to it.
iRunFar: Do you have any favorite playgrounds up there in Missoula?
Swanson: Oh, goodness, yeah. There are lots that are just right out the back door literally. Unfortunately with some other constraints and things like that, I can’t really explore the greater breadth of Montana as much as I’d like to, but that’s okay. We have a lot of good treasures right there in Missoula.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your race, Seth, and best of luck.
Swanson: Thanks, Bryon. I appreciate it. Thanks.