Russia’s Dmitry Mityaev is the fastest-returning finisher of last year’s Transvulcania Ultramarathon, having taking second in 2018. In our first interview with Dmitry, he talks about how he got into trail running after playing childhood sports, his life work of running and online coaching, and why he is returning to race Transvulcania again.
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar and it’s a couple days before the 2019 Transvulcania Ultramarathon, and I’m with Dmitry and Katya [Ekaterina] Mityaev.
Katya [Ekaterina] Mityaev: Yes. Perfect.
iRunFar: Hi. How are you?
Dmitry Mityaev: Great. Thank you.
iRunFar: So this is an interesting interview. We’ve interviewed Katya before at the Vibram Hong Kong 100k, but this time the goal of the interview is to get to know Dmitry, but Katya is here for also some translation.
Katya: Yeah. Thank you.
iRunFar: So you’re back to run Transvulcania again. What brings you back again to the island of La Palma?
Dmitry: Yeah, this is very beautiful island. I am very happy to come back to Transvulcania. I like this place. I like this race. I had very long way to the island.
iRunFar: To travel.
Dmitry: Yeah. But I feel good. Yeah. I had a very large training block. I start preparing for the Transvulcania in November.
iRunFar: A lot of focus.
Dmitry: Yeah, yeah. In winter, I train between the Canarias a lot, and in February and March I train in Fuerteventura. Yeah.
iRunFar: So you have just been island hopping.
Dmitry: Yeah, yeah.
iRunFar: One Canary Island to the next Canary Island. So you have run Transvulcania twice before. Once was I think eighth place, or seventh place, and last year second place.
iRunFar: Now when somebody finishes second at a race and comes back, I have to think they have one thing on their mind and that’s just not finishing second place.
Dmitry: Yeah. In last years, I had a problem with my knee.
Dmitry: Before Transvulcania, I got an injury. I could not [run] very fast downhill.
Dmitry: Yeah. I had an injury in past years, all years. After last year’s, last season I tried my injury. Now it’s okay. I hope.
iRunFar: Okay. You’re healthy.
iRunFar: Well this is iRunFar’s first time interviewing you, Dmitry, so I’d love to know a little bit about you. Like how did you become a runner and a mountain runner?
Katya: [translating to Dmitry in Russian]
iRunFar: No, no, no. This is great. This is super awesome.
Dmitry: Yeah at school I ran orienteering.
iRunFar: You were, okay. Ah. I didn’t know.
Dmitry: Yeah, yeah. After two years I try and ran a road marathon. Yeah. I ran two road marathons, 2:26.
Dmitry: My best result. Five years ago, I ran a race in Russia. Mountain running marathon [unknown name].
Dmitry: Yeah. It was five years ago I ran my first race in Europe, Mont-Blanc Marathon.
Dmitry: Yeah, trail running is very beautiful. The sport, for me, [through Katya translating] prefers trail because it’s really beautiful travels on mountains. Because you run you see more beautiful places and you can get more emotion. And it’s really great for Dima [Dmitry] and we love trail.
iRunFar: Do you still do any orienteering or orienteer racing?
Dmitry: [in English] Now?
iRunFar: Yeah, now. All done?
Dmitry: No, no. Only trail running. Yeah. Trail running, Skyrunning.
iRunFar: Okay. And when you were a child, did you do any sports?
Katya: Yeah. He, football. Playing football and…
iRunFar: Like soccer, kicking the ball.
Katya: Yeah. Soccer.
iRunFar: Were you good?
Katya: And then after orienteering and marathon roads and trails.
iRunFar: Now I want to ask, because the two of you are married, and you’re both trail runners, did you meet through the sport?
Katya: Yes. [laughs]
iRunFar: Or did you become runners together?
Katya: We met at an orienteering competition.
iRunFar: Ah, okay.
Katya: Yes, yes. And after we run together, marathon and trails.
iRunFar: Okay. And do you, do either of you have jobs aside from running? Do you work back at home?
Dmitry: Yeah. Four years ago we found online project, a trail running school. We online coach.
Dmitry: Yeah and professional runners.
iRunFar: So running and coaching is how you [make a living], very good.
iRunFar: So it allows you to work from where ever you are.
Katya: Yes, it’s perfect.
iRunFar: Do you do coaching in person, too, or all online?
Dmitry: Online and we do training camps. In years five and seven training camps.
iRunFar: Cool. Are you coaching mostly Russian trail runners or people from other places in Eastern Europe?
Dmitry: Only Russian.
iRunFar: Okay. So tell me about, I don’t know a lot of Russian trail runners, so tell me about the scene of trail running in Russia right now.
Katya: We had more competition in Russia in trails. Yeah and for example it’s a perfect place in Sochi because we had beautiful mountains, and organization did very good races. I think trail in Russia, it’s new sport, and it’s very interesting sport because more people who ran road marathons for example or ultra road marathon, they want to try trails.
iRunFar: Something new and different.
iRunFar: So it’s a good time for you to be trail runners and coaches in Russia.
Katya: [laughs] It’s perfect.
iRunFar: So this year, the men’s competition here at Transvulcania I think is very interesting. There are people who specialize in shorter skyraces. There are people who specialize in longer skyraces. And then there’re more kind of faster ultrarunners. What do you think of the men’s competition? Who will you be watching for Saturday?
Dmitry: Difficult questions. [laughs]
iRunFar: [laughs] “I don’t want to talk about my competitors.”
Dmitry: This race is very more strong athletes.
Katya: We have, yes. It’s really interesting because this competition, Transvulcania, we had more difficult distance. In here we had more stronger athletes, yes. Transvulcania about ultra, it’s really hard race because of the weather change all the time. It’s not so technical but it’s really hard race, with all the…
iRunFar: It’s steep.
iRunFar: Steep up and then you must run steep down.
Katya: Yes, yes, yes. And when we run vertical kilometer downhill. [laughs]
iRunFar: It’s hard.
Katya: Yes. Here we have more strong athletes but for example, Dylan,
Dmitry: Had injury, before.
Katya: Had trauma. Injury.
iRunFar: You did.
Dmitry: No, no.
iRunFar: Who are we talking about?
Dmitry: Dylan. Dylan Bowman.
iRunFar: Bowman. Dylan Bowman. Right.
Katya: And not so good because he has, it’s first time in this year part of ultra and we don’t know, but I think more strong athletes.
iRunFar: You’ll just wait and see.
Dmitry: Yeah. I have a plan for the race. I will run under my pulse.
iRunFar: And whatever happens happens.
Dmitry: Yeah, yeah.
iRunFar: Good plan. Smart for ultras. Well best of luck to you Dmitry. Dima, is that?
iRunFar: Okay. And you’re racing also so good luck to you Katya.
Katya: Thank you.
Dmitry: Thank you so much.
iRunFar: Thank you.
Dmitry: Thank you so much.
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