Iker Karrera is in Silverton to run the Hardrock 100 for the first time. Unfortunately, an injury is likely to limit his performance in his first trip to the US. In the following interview, Iker talks about his injury, what he still hopes to do in the race, and why he’s excited to run a race with fewer runners than he usually runs.
To learn more about the other competitors, read our 2015 Hardrock 100 preview.
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Iker Karrera Pre-2015 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Iker Karrera before the 2015 Hardrock 100. How are you, Iker?
Iker Karrera: Good morning. Now I’m good, but after we will speak about my situation.
iRunFar: You’ve not raced a 100 miler in the United States, have you? Have you been to the US before?
Karrera: No, this is my first time here in the United States and my first race here. I’m very excited to be here. I’m enjoying the country.
iRunFar: A lot of people outside of the U.S. probably think of big cities and whatnot in the Americas, but how do you like our countryside?
Karrera: It’s amazing. Silverton is a small mountain village. For me, it’s like my home. I prefer this kind of village compared to big cities, but I suppose in the big cities there are many things to be interested in.
iRunFar: But we love the mountains. Have you had a chance to run in the mountains yet?
Karrera: No, we arrived two days ago. We just visited the nearest places of the village but not run in the mountains. Maybe just now we will go to run a little bit and tomorrow…
iRunFar: How has your training gone? Are you fit and strong right now?
Karrera: Really I feel strong. My training was going good, but last month appears a big problem.
iRunFar: Yes, and what is that?
Karrera: My ilium has some pain (hip). We work very strong with the fascia. I’m not recovered totally. I feel pain just now. The last two weeks, I didn’t run nothing. So for me it’s a little bit of a strange situation. The training was very good. I feel good and strong, but the pain problem for me to do this Hardrock will be very limited.
iRunFar: What are you able to do and what can you not do?
Karrera: Really, I don’t know what I can do. I will start. I will try to do all the race. For me in this case, the mind competition is not against the other runners, it will be against my pain. I will try to finish to do all the track. I hope another chance on another year to come here and try to do better because this year really will be difficult.
iRunFar: You can climb well?
Karrera: Yes, during the uphills I don’t feel a lot of pain, but on the downhills it’s very painful. Here, half of the race is uphill, but another half is downhill.
iRunFar: This race goes in two directions, as you know, and this year it’s more gentle, long ups and short downs. Last year it was very short ups and very long downhills, so you have less time on the downhills this year.
Karrera: Oh! Better for me this case, really.
iRunFar: If you can manage the pain, do you think you can still run maybe not for the win but still run strong, maybe top five or top 10? Will you still try to compete or is it only to finish because there’s a difference?
Karrera: People that know me know that I will try to do the best as I can. I will try the fastest as I can, but I suppose really I am released and I know which is my situation. To finish will be good, not perfect, but good given the situation. Really, I will try to do in these circumstances the best race that I can.
iRunFar: What are you most excited about for this race?
Karrera: To be here, to compete with Kilian [Jornet]—not against Kilian because Kilian is bigger than us. To run with Kilian and another United States runners, for me it’s very exciting. To know how here is the ultra philosophy and how the people feel the ultras—I want to learn. This year I want to learn to capture the feelings.
iRunFar: One thing to remember if things are very tough and you’re in a lot of pain this weekend, if you finish, you have a much better chance of getting in next time. If you have one finish at the race, it’s easier to get in the race again. So, remember that.
Karrera: I hope.
iRunFar: Speaking of the spirit of the race, you’ve been at UTMB a few times and Diagonale des Fous, the spirit here will be very different. I don’t know if you’ve spoken with Kilian about it, but it’s much smaller and it’s more of a family. At UTMB or Zegama, there are tens of thousands of fans and music and Depa.
Karrera: Yes, they’re different, but I like to feel alone in the mountains, to feel really me, track, mountains. I like. I like to feel this and for that, I like to do some activities out of the races because I feel the mountains, I feel the trail. To feel alone with the trail, I like maybe not more, but a lot. These kind of activities alone, I chase one trail and do it.
iRunFar: It’s intimate. It’s you and nature.
Karrera: My idea this year was after Hardrock, go to California and to try to do a John Muir Trail. I suppose that will be impossible now in my situation, but this kind of activity I like. I really feel completely complete with the landscape and with the trail. When you are running in a race, you are running against the other runners.
iRunFar: Against, you’re fighting. With nature, you’re together.
Karrera: Not fighting, it’s running together. This is the type of trails I prefer.
iRunFar: I think you’ll get to see lots of that this weekend. Enjoy, Iker, and best of luck with your injury. Fight hard.