This weekend Tòfol Castanyer is the top returning runner from last year’s Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc. In the following interview, Tòfol talks about how he’s feeling going into this year’s race, what he’s looking forward to in the race, and why the heck he pulled out a pacifer at last year’s finish line!
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Tòfol Castanyer Pre-2015 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Tòfol Castanyer before the 2015 Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB). How are you, Tòfol?
Tòfol Castanyer: Well, well, well. Greetings.
iRunFar: You were here last year and finished second. François [D’haene] is not here. Iker [Karrera] is not here. So you’re the favorite.
Castanyer: No, no, no. Is not easy, no. There is every… I think in UTMB, every year a lot of good runners of all the world likes to win in Chamonix. This is the same. A lot of runners from France, from America, from Spain, and other people like to win. It’s difficult.
iRunFar: And you would like to win?
Castanyer: I would like to win, but when this season, at the beginning of the year, I make my calendar, I put another time UTMB. I think if I only think in the results, it’s very difficult to do better than last year. I can only do one place better. I can lose a lot of places. I want to win UTMB if it is possible, but to feel things like last year. For me, last year was my first 100 miles. It was a lot of things new for me.
iRunFar: What experiences did you enjoy that you want to have again?
Castanyer: Yes, I like to repeat. In 100 miles, it’s very different than the other races I do. I only run just 100k in 10 to 12 hours. From 10 or 12 hours to 20 hours, it’s a lot of difference. It’s like another type of race. Last year for me was a new experience where I feel new things. I think I like to repeat these sensations.
iRunFar: It was your first 100. Were there any things you learned that you would do differently this time?
Castanyer: Last year was my first 100 miles. I think the experience of last year was very important for this season, but maybe every year or this year or perhaps last year the first six hours was with rain. This season, people say there’s warm weather. The weather conditions are very different. Maybe these things make it another type of race. I think my experience of last year is very important, but maybe it’s not the same type of race. The people last year, François and Iker started very, very fast. Maybe [Sage] Canaday this year will do the same or not. I don’t know.
iRunFar: Or Luis Alberto.
Castanyer: Or Luis Alberto. No. Sometimes Luis Alberto starts very fast, but I think it’s normal for this. I only run with him in Transvulcania and in San Francisco and those two races he started very, very fast. I don’t know if it’s smart. For Sage, it’s also his first 100 miles.
iRunFar: And Luis Alberto has never finished 100 miles. Would you have any advice for those two?
Castanyer: I don’t know. Both of the runners are runners with a lot of experience, but experience maybe in short races. Luis Alberto last year he dropped at 100k. I think the experience of Luis Alberto is very important for him in this season.
iRunFar: His stomach.
Castanyer: His stomach. Maybe he changed something. But last year, Luis Alberto didn’t start very fast. He started with us but just behind.
iRunFar: Not pushing.
Castanyer: This season, I don’t know.
iRunFar: You did talk that it may be hot this year. Do you think that is good for you?
Castanyer: I think this type of weather is the type of weather that I train every day. That’s good, no? But tomorrow with the warm weather, all the people must think and drink a lot. For me also. It’s a type of weather like Mallorca, like you say, and the type of weather I’m used to and train every day, but for me and for all the other people, it’s necessary to think and drink and eat well because if I train in Mallorca and don’t drink tomorrow, it’s a problem for me.
iRunFar: So speaking of your training, I haven’t seen you at many races this year. You’ve been running some short, local races?
Castanyer: Yes. I have two problems. This season, I’m one year older. For me and for my coach, we are thinking it’s better to have less races. That’s one thing. The other thing is I have two types of injuries just before two long races that were in my calendar. Just before Transvulcania, I had a virus and couldn’t go to Transvulcania. Just before Davos Swiss Alpine Marathon, it was my last test just before UTMB, I was injured in my Achilles. I must stop for four weeks. Those two races were not long races but longer than one marathon. I couldn’t run.
iRunFar: You had plans to run some.
Castanyer: Yes, I had plans to run two more races. I was in New York in a new race.
Castanyer: Yes, I was in the whole race but only the marathon. I don’t know if that’s a handicap for me.
iRunFar: It can be a handicap, but on the other side you will be fresh.
Castanyer: Yes, I am fresh. That’s the first idea.
iRunFar: Someone like Luis Alberto has run Transvulcania and IAU and…
Castanyer: Yes, but Luis Alberto, I think, has run less than last year but has run a lot of races more than me.
iRunFar: Good luck out there. Enjoy.
Castanyer: Okay. Thanks.
iRunFar: One bonus question for you, Tòfol. Last year when you came to the finish line you had a pacifier.
Castanyer: Yes, this season will be the same because for me it’s very important the power of my children. I have three. I don’t know in English the name (pacifier). That’s the piece of my smallest, youngest child. This season, can I [shows shoe]? The other two children was in my shoe. I don’t run tomorrow with this type of shoe. We run with the wings. But the wings are painted by my children. It’s psychological.
iRunFar: It’s a reminder and they are with you.
Castanyer: For me, it’s important that the power of my children were on my shoes and I run with the three things of my children.
iRunFar: Thank you.