Meg Mackenzie says that she surprised even herself in taking third at the 2019 Pikes Peak Marathon. How so? She said the race was easier than she thought it would be! In the following interview, Meg talks about how she started very easy because she was intimidated by the altitude, how she got to the top of Pikes Peak feeling strong, how she found herself enjoying the top of the mountain, and her strong downhill effort played out.
For more on how the race shaped up and for more interviews, check out our results article.
Meg Mackenzie Post-2019 Pikes Peak Marathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar:Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Meg Mackenzie after her third-place finish at the 2019 Pikes Peak Marathon. How are you, Meg?
Meg Mackenzie: Good. Thank you so much for the chat again.
iRunFar: I was down at the start and finish but reports from the mountain were that you seemed to be enjoying your time out there.
iRunFar: Is that true?
Mackenzie: Enjoying is a strong word. I took it pretty easy in the beginning and I was really scared of the altitude, so I was super smiley on the way up, and then by the top I was like, race mode, let’s go.
iRunFar: But that was planned, to sort of?
iRunFar: Was that the plan, going into the day or was that by feel during?
Mackenzie: It was definitely my plan going into the day. I knew that if you get into debt by the top with the heat and the altitude it’s going to be really difficult coming down so I wanted a stronger downhill.
iRunFar: So when you got to the top you,
Mackenzie: Go time.
iRunFar: Maybe you also felt like you had conserved well enough.
Mackenzie: Yes, I did.
iRunFar: Like alright, I am good to go.
Mackenzie: I did, which is pretty cool when a plan comes together.
iRunFar: Yeah? And then was it fun unleashing that plan upon the women’s field?
Mackenzie: Super fun. Yeah the top bit was awesome. A little more technical than I thought which I loved.
Mackenzie: And then the last bit was smooth and it was like running into a cauldron it was so hot so I struggled there but likely it was close enough.
iRunFar: How were you making progress through the women’s field up at that top part?
Mackenzie: I kind of, I overtook, I got into third at the top and then maintained third to bottom.
iRunFar: Yeah. Did you have Yngvild [Kaspersen] in sight at times?
Mackenzie: I think the closest I got was like a minute or so, and then yeah. That was that.
iRunFar: You gave it a shot though, right?
Mackenzie: I did. She’s an amazing runner.
iRunFar: Did your result exceed the expectations coming into this?
Mackenzie: Definitely, yes. I was supposed to come around here in 2014 and I couldn’t due to injury, so this was been,
iRunFar: Really, you were supposed to run this before?
Mackenzie: Mm hmm. And so coming back here has just been such an incredible experience, and being on the podium is just like a little cherry on top.
iRunFar: And your experience throughout the weekend has been good?
Mackenzie: So good. I’ve loved everything. The people are incredible, so friendly, and I love the out and back because you get so much support and you get to see everyone.
iRunFar: It wasn’t too difficult or stressful trying to navigate through?
Mackenzie: Not at all. Everyone just yells “Runner!” and you don’t have to do anything.
iRunFar: Really? That’s awesome.
Mackenzie: Yeah, it was super cool.
iRunFar: Did you have anything that surprised you out there, either about yourself or the course or the race?
Mackenzie: Strangely it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be.
Mackenzie: I was expecting, like setting myself up for the toughest day I’ve ever had but it wasn’t that bad.
iRunFar: I mean it was a challenge but like,
Mackenzie: Yeah. For sure, and I was tired by the end.
iRunFar: Did you just get into a really nice rhythm on the climb?
Mackenzie: I think so. And the descent was way more fun. I thought it was going to be a long descent but it went so fast and it was really fun.
iRunFar: Right on.
Mackenzie: Yeah. It was a good day.
iRunFar: Right on. So was else, what’s next up on your schedule?
Mackenzie: I kind of need to check the rankings, but maybe Ring of Steall.
iRunFar: But maybe not.
Mackenzie: Maybe not, depending.
iRunFar: Which is an honest answer, right.
iRunFar: If you have your spots in Nepal secure you’ll spend some more time at home.
Mackenzie: Exactly. So I’ll just have a look and then make a decision. Either Ring of Steall or Nepal.
iRunFar: But you’re definitely going to Nepal, looking forward to that?
Mackenzie: I hope so.
iRunFar: Have you been there before?
Mackenzie: Never. I’m so excited.
iRunFar: It’ll be a fun trip.
Mackenzie: It’s going to be beautiful. With such cool people.
iRunFar: How do you feel with your whole season? Has it progressed nicely for you?
Mackenzie: Yes, unbelievably so. Sixth to eighth to third is I think a good progression.
Mackenzie: Yeah. It’s been,
iRunFar: And now you see how you stack against other women in this field, you’ll hopefully go to Nepal. How do you think you’ll stack up there?
Mackenzie: I think it’s an interesting question because racing a season or a series, a lot of it is just maintaining health and getting mentally fresh, because I remember the final last year a lot of us were mentally drained and just like done.
iRunFar: So that could be a good incentive to not do Ring of Steall.
Mackenzie: Exactly. I think recovery is going to be super important now and getting mentally ready to race again.
iRunFar: So do you think, I mean not take some weeks off but give yourself a break from intense training?
Mackenzie: Oh, definitely, yeah. I’ll take a couple weeks off, one or two.
iRunFar: And then sharpen up again.
Mackenzie: Exactly. Maybe try to get some more altitude because I think that’s also high. It goes up to 3,800.
iRunFar: So do you go up to Drakensberg or where would you go in South Africa?
Mackenzie:Y eah Drakensberg or Lesotho is at 3,000 so it’s okay.
iRunFar: And you can access that. And that’s relatively close to the race altitude. I don’t think it’s prohibitively high in Nepal. You’re not racing at 4 or 5,000 meters elevation.
Mackenzie: Not quite, yeah.
iRunFar: Well, congratulations on a great time here and best of luck.
Mackenzie: Thank you so much. Thank you.