Kaci Lickteig and Magda Boulet unintentionally fell into running with each other early in the 2017 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, ran the entire race together, and intentionally tied for second place. In this interview, Kaci and Magda talk about what it was like to run 50 miles step for step with each other, how working together helped them use each others’ strengths, how Magda feels about earning her entry into this year’s Western States, and how reigning Western States champ Kaci feels about helping Magda earn entry back to Western States.
For more post-race interviews and details on how the whole race went down, check out our Lake Sonoma results article.
Kaci Lickteig & Magda Boulet Post-2017 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and we’re here at the finish line of the 2017 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile. I’m with women’s second-place tie finishers, Magda Boulet and Kaci Lickteig. Congratulations, ladies.
Kaci Lickteig and Magda Boulet: Thank you!
Lickteig: Ticket! (pointing to Boulet)
iRunFar: So I take it you’re going to be keeping that Golden Ticket you earned today to return to [Western] States in a couple months?
iRunFar: That is a big, fat, ‘Yes!’
iRunFar: We decided to do this interview together because you two literally ran almost every step together, or did you run every step together?
Boulet: Pretty much every step together from the beginning.
iRunFar: You said a few minutes ago that it wasn’t planned. How did things shake out where you just ended up with each other for a couple miles and a couple miles more and suddenly it’s the whole race?
Lickteig: We kind of had a train going with another guy, Dave, and it just clicked. This is going good. Why change it?
Boulet: We had a ‘Dave sandwich,’ and I was in the back of it. I said, ‘Hey, this is a Kaci train!’ We had a blast. We ran 25 miles together until the turnaround with ‘Dave from Orange County.’ We learned a lot about Dave. He’s our favorite.
Lickteig: Yes. Definitely.
iRunFar: Was there a point in the race where you guys intentionally decided to stay together, or was it unintentional all the way along?
Boulet: I think when we made the turnaround, we started to work together, whereas before I was just tagging along.
Lickteig: It was really awesome. I wanted her to get that ticket so well. We just had so much fun out there. Why change what’s going right? So, we just kept it going.
Boulet: When do you actually get in a race and run with the same person for 50 miles? It was pretty special.
Lickteig: It was something I will never forget. It was so fun.
iRunFar: Lake Sonoma has a lot of literal ups and downs and lots of features that sort of change. There are curvy singletrack bits and open fire roads. You guys each have your strengths and weaknesses. Did you find each other helping each other out when you reached something that was somebody else’s forte? How did you play through that part of the race?
Boulet: Later in the race, I really appreciated Kaci’s downhill skills. She would turn on another gear on the downhills and really pull me along. Hopefully I was helpful on the uphills. We definitely tried to work with each other.
Lickteig: Yes, she definitely helped me on the uphills. My quads were burning, and my lungs were burning. She would just give me motivation. It was wonderful to work together.
iRunFar: Kaci, we interviewed you before the race, and you said Lake Sonoma is sort of like a fitness test for you where you get to come out and see where the chips fall. How do you feel about how you felt?
Lickteig: I felt like the race went really awesome. This is how I wanted it to be. We’re standing here feeling good, so that’s a great sign.
iRunFar: Magda, the last time we saw you was at Tarawera [Ultramarathon] just a few months ago. You’re packing in the races this spring. What’s going to be next for you in now your build-up to Western States?
Boulet: I don’t have anything planned before Western States.
Lickteig: Training camp!
Boulet: I’ve got to switch that. When the Golden Ticket wasn’t really in my hand, it kind of was a heavy feeling on my heart. Now I can really buy into really switching my training to Western States. I don’t want to get too excited. I don’t want to jinx it. Just one race at a time. I think today we really played it smart, and the objective was to get the ticket.
iRunFar: Magda, we did not talk to you before the race, so I’m not sure where you were mentally. Were you going into this race to compete as fast as you could, or were you going in strategically to get the Golden Ticket?
Boulet: I didn’t want to take any risk by going out and maybe not getting the ticket. I really wanted to play smart. In the first few miles, I latched onto the train. I kind of realized really quickly, Kaci has done this race four times. I’ve never been on the course. I think last year we were in the area wine tasting, and I came out here for a little hike with my son and my dog and Ritchie. That’s the only time I’ve been on the course. Shame on me. It’s a beautiful course, and I wanted to play smart. I didn’t want to walk away disappointed.
iRunFar: People on the internet were talking. They watched you race for 50 miles today. Some of them wanted you to duke it out and finish how the chips fell. Some other people on the internet were, ‘Yeah, great! This is so cool you’re working together!’ What’s your justification for doing what you did today, or do you need any?
Lickteig: It was teamwork. I wanted her to get a ticket so bad, and she definitely wanted it to. Just having fun out on the course is what we love to do. It’s part of why we do this. You don’t have to duke it out every time. It’s not worth it.
Boulet: We worked together for 50 miles. How silly would it be for us to kick the last 200 meters?
iRunFar: How do you decide? One mile to go?
Boulet: We kind of… Kaci goes, ‘Do you want to kick?’ ‘No, do you want to kick?’
iRunFar: Did you guys really talk about it?
Boulet: We did talk about it. ‘Do you want to finish together?’ We’re here. The finish line is within your sight. We’ve literally ran 50 miles step for step. It would have been ridiculous to do that.
Lickteig: It would have felt terrible.
iRunFar: In competitive sports, there’s the saying of ‘competing against’ versus ‘competing with.’ This seems like an example of elevating your performances by ‘competing with?’
Lickteig and Boulet: Yes.
Lickteig: I had a great day here. This has been my favorite 50. Being able to run with Magda was just awesome.
Boulet: I second that. This little love affair here… the last time we raced it wasn’t as pretty for me at Western States. I was telling Kaci how bad I wanted to be at the finish line to watch her finish. I didn’t make it. This was definitely a make up run.
Lickteig: Now we get to see the sunrise together. It will be awesome.
iRunFar: Up on the top of Squaw the last Saturday in June.
Boulet: Why not?
iRunFar: I think we also discovered you two have yet another shared race on your plate later in the summer after Western. You’re both racing UTMB?
Lickteig: Oh, yes.
Boulet: I know. I’m coming back, and this is going to be Kaci’s first UTMB.
iRunFar: Holy smokes.
Boulet: Holy smokes. It’s a big one, too.
Lickteig: It is.
iRunFar: Go big or go home?
Boulet: She’s going to do awesome on that course.
Lickteig: Oh, thank you.
Boulet: Being in Chamonix, you’re going to love it. It’s going to steal your heart.
Lickteig: First trip overseas, so it will be fun.
iRunFar: I understand you’re acquiring your passport for the first time for this trip?
Lickteig: I am.
iRunFar: Seriously, go big or go home.
Lickteig: Right. You might as well live life and live it to its fullest.
iRunFar: I want to ask a logistical question about that because Western States is a 100-mile runner’s race, and UTMB is a 100-mile mountain race. How are the two of you going to treat your training blocks and your preparation going into these two very different races?
Boulet: That was my goal last year, so I kind of have thought about that question. I did train for Western States and just kind of switched over to a lot of hiking afterward, so you still have the speed in your legs, and then you can just enjoy a lot of good hiking. I went to Utah a couple times to go up and down and up and down as must as you can. Poles—got practice them.
iRunFar: Kaci is going to be on the hills of Nebraska, ‘Click, click click click click.’
Lickteig: There are not long enough hills for that, but Jason Koop is going to have me go out and run some of the high-altitude training camp with him. That will give me some experience at least using trekking poles and getting above sea level.
iRunFar: Amazing. I love it. Congratulations to both of you on your second-place tie. It was pure joy watching you guys ham it up and celebrate your way along the trails. Pure joy.
Lickteig and Boulet: Thank you.
Lickteig: Thank you for being here.
iRunFar: See you in Squaw!
Lickteig and Boulet: See you in Squaw!