After taking third last year, Andrea Huser returned to the Diagonale des Fous and won. In the following interview, Andrea talks about why she returned to the race, when she felt good and why, and when things got difficult for her.
For more on the race, check out our 2016 Diagonale des Fous results article.
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Andrea Huser, 2016 Diagonale Des Fous Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m at the finish line of the 2016 Diagonale des Fous. I’m with women’s champion, Andrea Huser. Congratulations!
Andrea Huser: Thank you!
iRunFar: How are you feeling today? Have things settled in and the reality of winning this race and going 100 miles across Reunion Island set in?
Huser: Not really. I’m still in a cloud, I think. I’m very tired. I feel very tired today. I didn’t sleep much. I think the next few days I will realize.
iRunFar: It will sink in. This is your second time at Diagonale des Fous. Last year you finished third in a competitive women’s race. This year you’re the champion.
Huser: That’s great. That’s really great.
iRunFar: What brought you back here a second time way out here in the middle of the Indian Ocean?
Huser: I like the route very much. Last year I was so… sometimes I was in a flow and run with flow on all the trails. I like the island very much. It’s warm and with amazing mountains. It’s different than Switzerland.
iRunFar: It’s very different from Switzerland.
Huser: Yeah, very different.
iRunFar: Many people talk about this race as being difficult. Yet you’ve come back again. I guess you don’t find it too difficult?
Huser: I like it when it’s difficult. I like the technical route. It’s never boring.
iRunFar: It always requires your attention? You’re always having to keep a focus and keep your attention?
iRunFar: Talk about how the race played out for you. In the early part of the race, you weren’t leading. Some of the other girls were ahead.
Huser: That’s normal for me. The other girls start normally too fast for my feeling. I don’t feel very comfortable at the beginning. I need about two hours until my body is running and feeling good.
iRunFar: On Thursday night, the race goes off at 10 p.m., and you take a couple hours very casually to let your body warm up?
Huser: Yes. I know that… always I think I become better at the beginning. I’m always a bit scared that maybe it’s not my day, but yeah, after three or four hours, I feel good.
iRunFar: You felt good. You knew your body was in a good place.
Huser: Yes, I knew.
iRunFar: Every time I saw you, you didn’t even look like you were sweating. It looked easy. You were just smiling. You didn’t look hot. It didn’t feel easy?
Huser: Yeah, when I come to the aid stations, all the people…
iRunFar: Fair enough. It’s good energy.
Huser: Yeah, you have to feel good.
iRunFar: I have to act like I’m happy because all of these people are cheering.
iRunFar: How was it for you? You had good feelings in the beginning. Did you carry those good feelings all along?
Huser: Yeah, until the uphill at Roche Plate, or maybe before with the heat coming in. In the Mafate, I felt thirsty. I had food sometimes, and I was scared I had not enough. Before the uphill comes to Roche Plate, I ate a lot and took some beef. Then the heat was a challenge. It was tiring for the legs. That was the most difficult part for me.
iRunFar: After you get to the top of that at Maïdo, the challenge of the race is not over. There’s a long descent and a couple more climbs including the big one up to Colorado. Did you feel good again once it got cooler?
Huser: Up to Colorado I felt very well. That last hill, that was where my mind was good. After Possession, there I was suffering from the up and down.
iRunFar: You have had an incredible year. You’ve raced well at all kinds of different races all over the world. Is your season over now?
Huser: Yes. Yes, now it’s over. I do a break.
iRunFar: What does a break actually mean for somebody like you because you seem to be someone who races frequently and races long races frequently.
Huser: I plan to do nothing in November. For fun, I do mountain biking and have a look when the snow is coming. Then I do some ski touring but just for fun. Then there I am having time in the mountains.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your win at the 2016 Diagonale des Fous. Well done, Andrea.
Huser: Thank you. Thank you.