Luis Alberto Hernando is three times a champion with his win at the 2018 Trail World Championships in Penyagolosa, Spain. In the following interview, Luis Alberto talks about how his race went, what his most memorable moment was, and where he might be running next.
For more on this year’s race, check out our 2018 Trail World Championships results article.
Luis Alberto Hernando, 2018 Trail World Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Luis Alberto Hernando after his win at the 2018 Trail World Championships. Congratulations!
Luis Alberto Hernando: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: You’re now a three-time world champion, you’ve won here at home in Spain, and your team won in Spain. Is it a dream?
Hernando: Yes, specifically for me, it’s a dream come true. We’ve been looking forward to this race since last year’s world championships. It’s very special since it’s at home. We’ve been getting ready for it and getting prepared for it, all of the team and especially me. It was a great dream to be here.
iRunFar: You’re a machine. You ran the championships last year and two years ago, you ran the same race. You ran your own race. Was that easy?
Hernando: Yeah, I ran with a watch yesterday, so I was running behind and I was looking at the pace and we were 3:35 minutes/kilometer, and that’s not even my rhythm of a half marathon on a road. So I was waiting. I had the advantage of coming here four times to train. I gave it two loops completely through the whole course. Also the experience from one year to the other, it made me stand and watch the race and also do my strategy and my own race. I knew the last 20k was the crucial part and things were going to change there. I just waited, and it happened.
iRunFar: Did you run evenly or did you have one push or one pulse where you decided to go?
Hernando: For the first 30k, I didn’t have a great day. I had a lot of stomach issues, so I was just thinking of not losing energy. After the second crew aid station at 51k, I gave myself time to recover until the third aid station at 62k. I was trying to stick to that. When I got there, I was really able to be strong and to do the hard push and get all the difference back and go for it.
iRunFar: You passed Zach Miller just before Vistabella. When you passed him, did you know the crown was yours?
Hernando: No, not at all. Zach was one of the strongest or the strongest competitor for me, but I knew it wasn’t the last thing. I knew the guys behind me, I had only a gap of six minutes. I knew the last 20k was super difficult and I could lose them right away. So I wasn’t sure.
iRunFar: Last year in Italy in the world championships, Cristofer Clemente almost caught you. Were you thinking of him?
Hernando: I knew that Cristofer was one of the five guys I had to be afraid of, and I didn’t know who was behind me exactly before the finish line. He’s young, he’s improving a lot from year to year, but yeah, I didn’t know it was exactly him. But I knew he was one of the guys to be afraid of not only yesterday but the races that are coming.
iRunFar: What are the races that are coming?
Hernando: With the world championships in the pocket, it’s easier to plan the season. I hadn’t the season planned until yesterday, but now it’s a bit open and I’m more comfortable planning the season. I really look forward to Zegama [Marathon], but I don’t know. Today I’m not really able to decide that when going down the stairs is like, mmmm. You cannot be 99% in Zegama. You have to be 110%. I’m going to think about it. I really want to be there. The years before I’ve been doing it after Transvulcania, so it would be more or less the same situation.
iRunFar: What was your favorite memory or experience from yesterday?
Hernando: The best memory that pops out right away is the finish line of course, because it was getting there, finishing, the mixed emotions of having a lot of family and friends altogether watching me do this. That was special. Also, during the whole course, being at home meant a lot of friends could be here. There were a lot of friends everywhere screaming and shouting and giving me references with the other racers. I think that’s it—being home with friends in a course like this.
Hernando: Thank you.