In her fourth go at the race and after placing second last year, Megan Kimmel won this year’s The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships. In the following interview, Megan talks about how she didn’t think she’d win until the very end of the race, why she even thought she might have to DNF a couple times, and if she’s happy with her performance.
For more on how the race played out, you can read our TNF 50 results article.
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Megan Kimmel, 2015 TNF EC 50 Mile Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Megan Kimmel after her win here at the 2015 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50-Mile Championships and my last interview of the year. Congratulations, Megan.
Megan Kimmel: Yeah, congratulations to you as well.
iRunFar: This is your fourth year coming out here, and you’ve improved every year.
Kimmel: Yeah, surprisingly so. It’s not too surprising.
iRunFar: You were talking to your mom before the race and she was talking about what if you make podium or whatever. You were like, “I don’t want to think about that.” When did you start thinking about really performing and getting it done.
Kimmel: I was holding onto the last minute really. Ruth [Croft] had been descending well all day, and I was hurting on all of the downhills. So I was pretty convinced that someone was going to catch me even on the last descent. I had this… I didn’t think about for too long, but I had nightmare thoughts like, I’m going to get passed by three people. I’m going to be super sore, and I’m going to get fourth. I was surprised probably about seven miles in when I caught up with Magda [Boulet] and, “Who’s in front of us?” “This is it. Just us.” I was feeling good-ish. Coming into Stinson, Ruth was right with me. I kind of thought it was her day, to tell you the truth.
iRunFar: Stinson going out?
Kimmel: Yes. Then we hit Muir Beach for the second time, and I did not look back. She was right there, I know. Yeah, I didn’t let myself think of anything besides trying to finish strong at that point.
iRunFar: You did. You probably didn’t feel like you were, but you were moving. You still were pulling away from the entire women’s field.
Kimmel: I just had the energy today. I feel really lucky for that.
iRunFar: The first time you were here, you DNFed as a result of calf problems because you ended up getting too cold. That’s because you couldn’t really run on your calves anymore. They were sort of an issue again today?
Kimmel: Yeah, I was feeling them four miles in, so I was not at all confident that I was going to finish the race. But I just told myself, If they don’t get worse by mile 30, I’ll probably be able to finish. That DNF, man, it couldn’t get worse than that year. Yeah, at that point, there were other parts of my body that were hurting worse than my calves.
iRunFar: Kept you distracted?
iRunFar: Were there any points in the race where you just felt awesome?
Kimmel: I had surges, I guess, as it goes. I did feel really good climbing which is surprising to me. Maybe the first part of climbing out of Stinson I probably felt like, Wow, my energy is there. I’m going uphill great. That’s probably the best I felt all day.
iRunFar: You’ve run all sorts of distances; some distances are a little easier. Was this your best race for marathon and up?
Kimmel: Yeah, I feel like as far as how I felt and my finish it was.
iRunFar: Congratulations on a great run.
Kimmel: Thanks so much, Bryon.
iRunFar: Bonus question for you, Megan. If you had to dress up and lead a kids’ race, what costume would you wear?
Kimmel: I saw some hot dogs out there which is pretty cool.
iRunFar: Maybe race as a hot dog?
Kimmel: I may go for the Hamburgler.
iRunFar: I can see that.
iRunFar: All sorts of good choices. Maybe we can find an extra costume for you.
Kimmel: Sounds good.