Vaidas Žlabys continues his rapid improvement in taking second at the 2017 Transgrancanaria after placing eighth last year. In the following interview, Vaidas talks about how he prepared for this year’s race, how his race went, why he didn’t attempt to catch Pau Capell, and how long he’s been running.
Read our Transgrancanaria results article to find out what else happened at this year’s race!
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Vaidas Žlabys Post-2017 Transgrancanaria Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Vaidas Žlabys after his great second-place finish at the 2017 Transgrancanaria. Congratulations.
Vaidas Žlabys: Thank you. Thank you very much.
iRunFar: Could you have expected such a strong finish, your second place here?
Žlabys: I expected to be in the first ten, and my best wishes was to be in fifth position. That was because there were a lot of strong runners. Second place is fantastic for me.
iRunFar: You went out quite strong, quite hard. How did you have the confidence to go with so many strong runners?
Žlabys: I pushed myself in the first part of this distance. Honestly, before this race, I even thought about cutting down the race, because I had an injury in my feet. I decided that if I had to stop, I’d just push to the finish line because my position was good at the first part, so I decided to push harder and to finish.
iRunFar: Did you feel you were going to be able to run strong at the end? I assume you live in Lithuania?
Žlabys: I live in Lithuania. I prepared quite hard for this race. I was at a sport camp at the beginning of the year, so I pushed myself for two months exactly for this race.
iRunFar: Where were you training then?
Žlabys: In Lithuania and in Gran Canaria, that’s all.
iRunFar: You did come here to train?
iRunFar: I would imagine much of your training in Lithuania is flat?
Žlabys: Yes, but the weather in the first part was like Lithuania—foggy and rainy. That was amazing for me. I just looked at the other guys and they are all, “What a bad weather!” For me it was fantastic!
iRunFar: It was like you started in Lithuania and then took a vacation to Gran Canaria for the second half?
iRunFar: Did you know you’d have strength on the flatter parts towards the end of the race?
Žlabys: Yes, I feel better in the flat distance, but I thought about fighting for the first place, but when I was at 40k left to the finish line, I decided it would better to get second place than to get dehydrated. I decided to keep the distance between me and the third place and finish in second place.
iRunFar: There was a little too much risk there to try to push really hard to catch Pau [Capell]?
Žlabys: Yes, and after [unknown] I also was dehydrated and I was in fifth position, so I decided to stay in second place.
iRunFar: What was your favorite moment or experience during this race?
Žlabys: Probably at Roque Nublo—the place is amazing for me. At that point, I think you should give yourself, and if you want to be in the top, you should push quite hard from this place.
iRunFar: Going back in time, how did you get started in running? Were you an athlete your whole life?
Žlabys: No, I’ve been running trails only a few years and running ultramarathons for about five years. Gediminas Grinius is quite a good example for me. I decided to go harder in ultra trail and Ultra-Trail World Tour.
iRunFar: How did you find trail running and ultra trail at all? How did you come to start the sport?
Žlabys: I don’t know. I have probably good moving. I decided to start running to keep my fitness.
iRunFar: Then you found out you were good at this?
iRunFar: You’ve improved really rapidly from two years ago at the World Championships at somewhere in the sixties to being twentieth last year to being eighth here last year. Did you run it in 2015 as well, Transgrancanaria?
Žlabys: I don’t think about that because we should look at other World Tour races, and this year will be a lot of races for me, so I don’t know how I will feel next year.
iRunFar: No, in the past, you’ve improved so much the last few years. Is that just because you have more experience? What have you changed that has made you so much stronger?
Žlabys: I think I will do less mistakes and of course do a lot of hill training. That’s probably it.
iRunFar: What else do you plan to race this year?
Žlabys: This year will be Madeira, Lavaredo, UTMB, [unknown] a shorter distance, maybe Réunion. I don’t know—a lot of races.
iRunFar: That’s a lot of races. You may be modeling yourself quite closely to Gediminas. We’re looking behind the camera to Gediminas.
iRunFar: This may be a question for both of you, Gediminas and Vaidas—is ultrarunning going to become the new “basketball” for Lithuania?
Gediminas Grinius: I guess so. We have not only me and Vaidas, but there’s Andrius Ramonas, Jonas Zakaitis, and some other strong runners like [unknown]. We’ll put it all together and start racing more and more in the future and the top-five will be totally occupied by Lithuanians.
iRunFar: Maybe you guys can put on a strong ultramarathon in Lithuania so I can come visit?
Grinius: Oh, definitely. But we don’t have high mountains, but a race like Cappadocia or Tarawera we are perfectly well suited in Lithuania.
iRunFar: I look forward to that. Congratulations, Vaidas. We’ll see you at many races this year.
Žlabys: Thank you.