Ever the professional, Jonas Buud took second at the 2017 Tarawera Ultramarathon. In the following interview, Jonas talks about having problems with his legs starting at 30 kilometers into the race and how he mitigated them to finish second, where he thinks his fitness is now as he returns from his late-2016 injury, and where we’ll see him race next.
Be sure to check out our results article to see how the rest of the race played out.
[Editor’s Note: We apologize for the sound quality of finish-line noise and very loud cicadas in the trees. Challenging conditions.]
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Jonas Buud Post-2017 Tarawera Ultramarathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and we’re at the finish line of the 2017 Tarawera Ultramarathon. I’m with men’s second-place finisher, Jonas Buud. So we just had to wander from the finish line out to the creek here, and it was very hard for you to come downhill.
Jonas Buud: Yes, all the downhill sections of the course was also really, really tough today. I couldn’t run downhill.
iRunFar: Your quadriceps muscles?
Buud: Yes, and it started really early on around 30k or something. Uh oh, this is not so good. Every down run, I was not going so fast. Yes, I had some problems in the downhill especially, especially on that loop…
iRunFar: The Loop of Despair?
Buud: Yes, and the really, really big climb before it starts to go down—I think it I was six-minute-per-kilometer on the down run. I couldn’t run down. I was starting to think if I should run backward on the down run because it was so terrible.
iRunFar: You came in here the defending champion. We’re standing here talking about your second-place finish, which among the field is, all things considered, a great finish, but your body is kind of wrecked. Where are you at mentally with your finish today?
Buud: The position is really, really good because there were really fast guys here, but my time is 11 minutes slower than last year. That was in conditions not as good as today. But the end of last season was also a mess. I’ve been having good trainings for six or seven weeks before this racked so for that, I’m satisfied anyway. It’s a good start for this season, I guess.
iRunFar: Western States, which is one of your goals for this year, has a lot of downhill running. Today could end up being a good quad-seasoning day for you.
Buud: Yeah, I haven’t been running as much as I used to during the winter because of my problems. I’ve been cycling a lot and doing some skiing, but I think when it’s starting to be a little bit better season for running in Sweden, I will run much more than I do now. I think my legs will be okay for Western States.
iRunFar: Let’s talk a little bit about how the dynamic of the race played out for you today. Obviously, Jim [Walmsley] led the race and, as I understand, David Byrne went with him for a couple of kilometers? What was it like for you?
Buud: Yes, he ran exactly as he told, so it was no big surprise. I started to run with him for the first 1.5k, but I saw that it was too fast, and I had to step back.
iRunFar: What was your pace there?
Buud: I think it was just under four minutes per kilometer and then the climbing starts, and he just continued. I thought, No. No way am I going to continue at this pace. Then I took it a bit slower, but David continued with him. There was a little group of maybe four or five runners in our second group. They were running together for awhile. Maybe we stated to split up before Blue Lake or maybe a bit after. From then on I was by myself until around 50k when I caught up with David. We were running together, or he was my pacer from 50k to 55k or 57k.
iRunFar: He was your pacer?
Buud: Yes, Thanks!
iRunFar: You were keying off of him. “Thanks, David.”
Buud: Others couldn’t keep the pace, but it was really hard to follow him on the downhill, but on the flat it was no problem. I was thinking, Okay, I’ll try to survive for the road sections. When I came to that section, he let me pass him, so I tried to run a little bit better because it wasn’t so steep up and steep down. I was running maybe one or two kilometers, and then I looked back and he was gone. I don’t know if he had problems or why he didn’t follow. The pace wasn’t too high, I think, because it was slower than last year. Then I had to run by myself to the end. I was really scared. I thought how I’d been running seven hours and my finish time would be more than eight hours, and under these conditions, someone must run under eight hours.
iRunFar: So you were expecting to still see somebody.
Buud: Yes, I was. Normally, I don’t look back over my shoulder, but today I was.
iRunFar: You were looking back.
Buud: Yes, many, many times. I thought, They will come; they will come, but they never showed up.
iRunFar: Sam McKutcheon ended up finishing in third place a couple minutes behind you, but you never saw him.
Buud: No, which was good for me.
iRunFar: That’s good. All things considered, given that you had had some downtime because of injury and you had spent some of the winter cross training, are you ultimately… do you think today represented where you are?
Buud: Yes, I think I’ve been training more but less running, so I think my body is in good shape, but my legs aren’t prepared to run. So I think if I change to more running later on, I think it will be good.
iRunFar: Also given your problems with injuries you had last year, how does that stuff feel now?
Buud: Right now I don’t have any problems. I hope that will continue for me this season as well, but I think I will do some more cross training like cycling and this winter do some cross-country skiing as well and do some extra training without running. I think I need to do that even if I love to run.
iRunFar: You have Western States on your plate. I believe you also have Comrades? You’re going to try to pull that double?
Buud: I want to run Comrades, but I don’t have a coach to tell me, “Don’t run Comrades.” That would be good at this time. I want to run! I want to run! But yeah, I’m not sure, but it’s an up run at Comrades, and I really want to run an up run, but Western States is maybe a once-in-a-lifetime race. I don’t know yet, but I think it would be no Comrades, but I’m not sure.
iRunFar: You think it will be no, but there’s the temptation there talking to you a little bit?
Buud: Yes, so don’t talk to me too much about Comrades.
iRunFar: I know nothing of the race. It’s early February, and Western States is still four-ish months away. How do you foresee your training going from here to there?
Buud: I will do more long runs especially because I need those. I haven’t… for this winter, I’ve made 50k long runs maybe every second week. I think I need some more really long runs. I will be in Spain at the beginning of May for a training week, so normally it’s going to be hot—I hope—so I will try to do really long runs.
iRunFar: Do you think there’s any chance of you coming early to Western States?
Buud: I’ve already booked my flights. I’ll be there 10 days before the race.
iRunFar: Maybe go and do a little bit of running in the heat outside.
Buud: Yes, and maybe go and run some parts of the course also. It’s not so easy to run in the middle, but maybe the first and last parts.
iRunFar: Congratulations on your second-place finish today. We’ll probably be seeing you on the starting line at Western States in a couple months’ time. Congrats again!