Iker Karrera started the Hardrock 100 in 2015 with an injury that prevented him from running downhill and he ended up finishing ninth. He’s back this year with better health and a new perspective on racing. In the following interview, Iker talks about how his 2015 race went, how that race changed his perspective on racing, and how he’s fitter going into this year’s race.
Iker Karrera Pre-2017 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Iker Karrera before the 2017 Hardrock 100. How are you, Iker?
Iker Karrera: Hi. Fine. At the moment, I’m well, but I will see. I’m calm with good sensations.
iRunFar: You were here two years ago in 2015, but you were injured before the race and during the race with your groin muscle. You could not run downhill, correct?
Karrera: Yes, it’s correct. For me, 2015 was a very hard year. Hardrock was a very hard experience for me, but a very good experience also. For me, Hardrock changed many things; mainly my view of the races was changed.
iRunFar: How is that? How did it change?
Karrera: Now, I appreciate more when the people run just for finish. We normally run and push and run to end in the first position, maybe to win or to do a podium. After Hardrock, and during Hardrock, my objective was just to finish. After this race, now I appreciate more the value of the finish of these kind of races.
iRunFar: That’s different because you’ve been second at UTMB. You have these great results and you’re always fighting, but now for one race you were like every other man and woman.
Karrera: Now, as I said before, my viewpoint is changed, but this year, really I want to push and try to do a good race. I don’t know the position, because it depends on many things, but I trained hard, and I have good sensations. I want to push and try to be in front of the race, maybe not in the first position, but to try to do a podium.
iRunFar: You feel you have returned and come back from your injury to be strong again?
Karrera: Yeah, I hope, and I suppose now I’m in better condition than two years ago. This summer, I did some challenges in Spain in the Pyrenees, and the results were pretty good—good sensations and good results. So it was a good test for me.
iRunFar: Was this a race or your own adventure?
Karrera: A personal adventure.
iRunFar: Can you tell me about that?
Karrera: It’s in Pirineu, the Alta Ruta de los Perdidos. Monte Perdido is one of the highest in the Pyrenees. This area is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site. For me, it’s one of the most beautiful and spectacular area in the Pyrenees. It’s a circle and is 90k more or less. It’s very up and down and a very technical challenge. It’s spectacular. It was like a test to do something similar to Hardrock.
iRunFar: Similar in the actual geology or course but also in spirit maybe?
Karrera: Yes, for me it was a good test and a good time also and most important with good sensations.
iRunFar: Two years ago, you could climb fast, but you could not run downhill. Were you able to run downhill fine in this challenge?
Karrera: I hope. Uphills, to move fast in the uphills is important, but this kind of race, you win or not in the downhills. It’s necessary to downhill…
iRunFar: You’re back to normal?
Karrera: Not totally, but it’s quite…
iRunFar: Not walking downhill?
iRunFar: You are proud of your finish at Hardrock two years ago, but you were still in ninth position. That’s still a strong race. How much better do you think you can do? How much faster do you think you can run?
Karrera: Time—I don’t know. As I say before, I want to try to gain entrance to the podium. That is my objective.
iRunFar: Were there any times in the 2015 race that you thought you would quit the race?
Karrera: I never thought. Never at any moment I thought to stop, because I come very mentalized that my objective was just to finish. If you come injured, it’s stupid during the race to stop because you have the same.
iRunFar: It’s not getting worse. It will not make you stop running forever.
Karrera: When you start, you’re injured. When you’re going, you’re injured. Okay, I just finish.
iRunFar: Did you have any point in the race that was most difficult? Was there any time you had difficulties or troubles?
Karrera: The most difficult… for me, all the race was difficult. I think this time things will be different. Also, I think this time, really, I can measure what is Hardrock.
iRunFar: Because last time it was a different experience. Are you going to have those two viewpoints, those two experiences—one, of knowing you’re injured, and one of trying to push?
Karrera: This is the objective. Maybe I will suffer in different form, but if I’m inside of the race, I will be happy.
iRunFar: Do you have a best memory from the race two years ago—a favorite section or memory?
Karrera: The section that I run with Mike Foote was good, and the last part also running with my pacer, Gary Robbins, was very good.
iRunFar: It was the company and the people you enjoyed?
iRunFar: Do you have pacers again this time?
Karrera: Yes, Gordon [??], it’s a young guy from Durango. I never have been with him. This Thursday, I will meet with him for the first time.
iRunFar: But you make a new friend on the trail. Mike Foote is back, so maybe you can have some more time.
Karrera: It will be perfect to come back and this time to run in better conditions and to run… I don’t know if the same level, but I want to come back and run with him and try to run with Kilian [Jornet].
iRunFar: In UTMB some years ago, you and Kilian spent some miles together, a long time. Maybe again?
Karrera: Yes, a long time. Maybe.
iRunFar: No matter what, best of luck and enjoy your race.
Karrera: Thank you.