Rickey Gates ran the third-fastest time ever, and that yielded him second place at the 2015 Mount Marathon Race. In this interview, Rickey talks about whether he was happy with his race, how the post-race festivities for the top finishers went, and what’s next on his racing and running-project lists.
Check out our results article for the full story on the race.
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Rickey Gates Post-2015 Mount Marathon Race Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Mauri Pagliacci of iRunFar with Rickey Gates after his second place in the Mount Marathon Race. Rickey, congratulations.
Rickey Gates: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: How is the hurting today?
Gates: Somehow the past couple years I keep forgetting that the day after Mount Marathon is painful but really, two days after is when all the pain sets in. I’m hobbling around a bit today.
iRunFar: How did the race turn out for you finally with all the buzz?
Gates: It was super exciting. I think everybody at this point who follows the race knows what happened. It was a good hard fight, three of us, to the top of the mountain. I expected Kilian [Jornet] to have a phenomenal downhill, and he did. I was just grateful to only lose by a minute at that point.
iRunFar: For you, for yourself, having Kilian and Emelie [Forsberg] and two records broken, and all these Alaska people get crazy about it—how do you feel about it?
Gates: I feel great about it. I hope everybody up here is psyched about it. I think for the most part they are. I’ve said it before. I think this is the most genuine mountain race in the country if not beyond. I think the Alaskans up here have something super special. I think for the most part everybody wants the best runners here. We definitely had that a couple days ago. People wonder how fast that mountain can be run; [Eric] Strabel certainly set the bar really high a few years ago. Kilian just set it a little bit higher. I think in the years to come, it’s going to be… everyone is going to train really hard for this race and I don’t think Kilian’s time is going to stand for 30 years like Bill Spencer’s did. I think he’s just upped the level and gotten the psych going on this race. The same goes for Emelie as well. The women’s race was absolutely phenomenal.
iRunFar: This is my first time in Alaska and my first time at this race, and I saw there were a lot of traditions like before and during and after the race. Can you tell us a little bit about the ones we can talk about?
Gates: In Alaska, obviously during the winter time there’s not a whole lot of light and during the summer there’s a whole bunch of it. Alaskans know how to take advantage of that. Fourth of July weekend is really special to them as it is to all of us. Traditionally in this race, the winner’s chalice makes a lot of laps around town through the night and is never really quite empty. Yeah, I think the winners represented that really well.
iRunFar: One last question: what’s next for you after this huge weekend?
Gates: I’m going to be heading to Hardrock to cheer on my teammates and take some pictures there. I’ve got three summer trips of Hut Run Hut which is my hut-to-hut running trips from Aspen to Vail with Dylan Bowman, Jenn Shelton, and Scott Jurek. I’m really excited to catch up with Scott. His Appalachian Trail feat is just phenomenal. Then Pikes Peak in August—the Marathon. I’ve never done the Marathon. I’ve done the Ascent a few times. I’m really excited to do that. Then a couple small projects—not small at all for me, but they’re not going to garner a ton of attention but they’re near and dear to me. Looking at the Elk Mountain Traverse hitting the seven Elk Mountain 14’ers around the Aspen area which is an FKT that Neal Beidleman set back in 1996. I know Tony [Krupicka] has been looking at it off and on over the years. This is something that just requires a lot of studying. If it doesn’t happen this summer, that’s okay. It’s going to be super fun when it does happen.
iRunFar: Thanks very much for your time and have a great [trip] back to the U.S.
Gates: Thank you very much. Thank you.