In the course of three years, Uxue Fraile has finished fifth, second, and, now, third at UTMB. In the following interview, Uxue talks about how she didn’t run the race she wanted, how she was worried about holding onto third at the end, what shoes she raced in, and what’s special about running for the Vibram team.
For more on the race, read our 2016 UTMB results article.
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iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Uxue Fraile after her third-place finish at UTMB 2016. Wow.
Uxue Fraile: Yeah, Wow.
Fraile: Yes, I’m really happy with the result. It’s true that I knew that Caroline [Chaverot] and Andrea [Huser] were to be in the top. It was the most possibility. Then there were some other runners, like Rory Bosio, some Americans. I knew I had to fight them. So, for me, the third place is the best I could expect. My race was not what I wanted to do. My time, my race, I wanted to enjoy it more and to run my best, and I couldn’t.
iRunFar: The times weren’t fast here this weekend for anyone.
Fraile: Yes, but it’s not only the time. It’s because the weather was so hot, but I didn’t feel so well. I saw you during the race, and my feelings weren’t well.
iRunFar: So the experience wasn’t as enjoyable.
Fraile: Yes, the experience was really, really hard.
iRunFar: You were talking about racing against the other runners. It seemed like you were having to battle yourself.
Fraile: Yes, my race was just to try to finish. It was so difficult.
iRunFar: Was it your most difficult race or one of your most difficult races?
Fraile: Well, I have run some difficult races like two years ago at Diagonale des Fous and some other adventure races. I have run some difficult races, but yesterday’s race… I don’t know… it was so hard.
iRunFar: What kept you going? Why did you keep fighting?
Fraile: Maybe the team, my Team Vibram, and my family that was here—my father, my mother, my brother, and my coach, Kiko, and all of the people that were around me following the race from home. I think that was the most important thing for me yesterday. It’s true that I’ve never stopped in a race.
Fraile: Well, maybe when I was a track-and-field runner. I stopped once because my coach told me, “Oh, stop because you have other races today.”
iRunFar: But not in the long races?
Fraile: No, I never have.
iRunFar: So you kept going.
Fraile: I kept going. I was thinking, Oh, no, this is a race to you. You have to stop. But I had to stop in Arnuva, not in Vallorcine or Trient.
iRunFar: That was the most difficult part?
Fraile: Yes, the most difficult part was from Arnuva to the finish. If you don’t stop in Arnuva and you stop in Champex-Lac or Trient or Vallorcine, you go with a very hard race and no prize.
iRunFar: You’d gone far enough that you weren’t going to stop that late?
Fraile: Yes, so no, it was no sense to stop after.
iRunFar: On the positive side, you’ve been fifth, second, and third. What’s your secret to running so well at UTMB?
Fraile: Well, I think that I am a very constant runner. I always stay there, not so fast. I can’t think about winning anytime UTMB, but I have to fight for the podium and it would be great.
iRunFar: You can dream of that.
Fraile: No, I don’t think so. Dream, yes, but…
iRunFar: But anything could happen in a long race.
Fraile: Sure, last year I was second, so it’s true. I can dream. If all the things go normal, it’s difficult. I know that my place is that, so I’m happy that it’s a good place.
iRunFar: Yes, to be constant.
Fraile: Yeah, three times in the top-five at UTMB in consecutive years, I have to take it into account.
iRunFar: You were in third almost the entire race from the start to the finish.
Fraile: Yes, the last part was difficult with Juliette Blanchet. I ran with her at Diagonale two years ago. She won it by eight seconds. I knew that she’s a good runner and a fighting runner. She fights a lot. So the last part was really, really hard. I started running more fast. I was thinking, Oh, most of the race third, and now I’m going to be fourth. No, my gosh. All the races finish at the finish line, so you have to be third at the finish line and not during the race.
iRunFar: Yes, the finish line is what counts. Now, we talked a little bit before the race and you wouldn’t give me an answer because you didn’t know, but what shoes did you wear?
Fraile: I used the Tecnica X-Lite Inferno 2.0. I think I run comfortable with them. It’s true that they have customized my shoes because we have put the Vibram Megagrip sole, but it’s one of those great things to be team Vibram. They can prepare shoes, and they have changed some things.
iRunFar: It’s a really cool program even here at UTMB. Runners or fans can bring their shoes to the Vibram truck and have a custom outsole put on their shoes.
Fraile: Yes, I think it’s good. Our team has a lot of good runners. Our atmosphere is really, really good. They work for people like what you mean. You can carry in your old shoes, and they can change the sole. It’s a good thing for us and for the people.
iRunFar: I’ve done it—road racing shoes with Megagrip lugs. It’s perfect.
iRunFar: Thinking of your teammates, it’s a really consistent group. They’re not supernovas. They’re not flashy runners. Gediminas [Grinius] runs a consistent race, Javier Dominguez, Marco Zanchi, you.
Fraile: I think we all have some things in common. What I was saying about me, maybe we are not going to be top runners, but we are going to be there. Yeah, we are top runners, but I think the atmosphere is very good. We enjoy the atmosphere. We don’t see each other so many times because we live in different parts of the world and Europe. I think it’s good to meet them here.
iRunFar: Maybe you’ll meet them at Reunion?
Fraile: Well, they want to, but I think that after yesterday’s race, I have to stop. I’m not going to run anything yet because yesterday I didn’t eat after Courmayeur. I think I have to take care of the body. We’ll see.
iRunFar: Congratulations on another great finish, Uxue.
Fraile: Thank you. Nice to meet you again. Good job.
iRunFar: Thank you.
Joe Uhan writes about the hip-hinge position for efficient running.
Results from the 2020 Western States 100 lottery.