Anna Frost 2011 TNF 50 Mile Champion Interview

Anna Frost won the 2011 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. In the following interview, she explains how Saturday’s run was different from her first ultra at last year’s race, what it looked like from her perspective, and where she might turn up on the trails next year.

[Since this among our first video interviews with transcription, we thought we’d point out that some sweet pics are inserted into the text portion of this post.]

Anna Frost 2011 TNF 50 Mile Women’s Champion Interview Transcript

iRunFar:  You’re again victorious! It’s your second ultra. Anything different from the first time: physically, mentally, small scale, large scale?

Anna Frost:  Thanks very much! Yeah, I think I said in that last interview that, for me, after I get to that four-and-half to five-hour mark, then it’s all mental from there. Today, it was like a totally different experience. I was waiting and waiting and waiting to hit my mental wall and it really never came. So I was really happy for that because I had prepared myself to go to a dark place at some point today and I didn’t get there, which was really, really nice. So I was just able to run hard the whole way and I was running a little bit scared because I had a massive queue chasing me.

It was very different, a very different race. The weather was different. It was beautiful and sunny, so you had views which always helps me and helps anyone, I’m sure… and the sun beating down. We picked up pacers at different points and had slightly different groups. The course was a little bit different and because I didn’t have my mental breakdown in the middle of the race, I could actually enjoy that part of the course and work hard on the course.

Anna Frost 2011 TNF 100

Anna Frost with her pacer in a beautiful setting. Photo: Brett Rivers

iRF: Like at the out and back when you had the views of the Pacific?

Frost:  No, after that (on the way back).

iRF:  So you didn’t have any rough points all day?

Frost:  No. So I started hurting quite badly at mile 35. Everything was starting to say, yeah, this hurts now. I started to say, well, if it hurts, then you’re going to have to run harder because if you want to win this, then you’re going to have to work hard because everyone had said to me, “Look out for Ellie in those final miles because she will fight hard.”

[wiffle ball interruption]

So people would say look out for Ellie in those final miles because she’s really going to work hard, so for me, that’s where I really had to work hard.

iRF:  So did you know Ellie was right behind you all day?

Frost:  Yeah, we had our support crew out there which was fantastic to see people out there on the course that we knew shouting and cheering. So they were giving sort of time checks. Then on the out-and-back, I’d seen that Lizzy was a minute ahead of me and Ellie was a minute behind me and I was thinking, “Wow, this is going to be a real fight!” So that was quite good for that time and then I was just sort of getting feedback that Ellie was a minute and a half or three minutes back or whatever and that it was just such a small gap that it would just keep me fighting. So that was great.

Anna Frost 2011 TNF 50 finish

Anna Frost finishing the 2011 TNF 50. Photo: Brett Rivers

iRF:  Now you’ve won this twice; you’ve done two ultras. Last time you said never again. Could we conceivably see you here again?

Frost:  Maybe, you know, because I can’t say I’m never going to do it again because I’ve said that before, but yeah, I don’t know. I had a much better race. I enjoyed it a lot more today. So I can say I do quite enjoy ultras. Whether I do this race again or try some new races in Europe or other places in America I’m not sure yet.

iRF:  Do you have anything on your calendar for next year already?

Frost:  It’s still sort of getting planned, but I’d love to do another 50 miler if I’m going to do another one. Let’s see how the next couple of days go.

iRF:  You’re not going to swear off running for the next six weeks are you?

Frost:  No, I don’t think so. Maybe for a couple of weeks while my toenails sort of grow back in again. I’d love to do more races in America sort of mid next year. Again, I’ll be out in Europe doing a few of those mountain races, the mountain marathons, those sky marathon races that I love. And there are some races in New Zealand that I’d really love to do because I haven’t really raced there that much at all in New Zealand, so that’s something I’d like to do.

iRF:  Are you thinking about the Kepler Challenge or Tarawera?

Frost:  Yeah, the Kepler Challenge, but that’s on the same day as this race, so that would make that decision. But yeah, we’ve got so many and potentially next year with some new ones starting [with] some private land opening up for races. So I think it’s going to be a pretty nice year in New Zealand for trail running.

iRF:  Congratulations again!

Frost:  Thanks!

Anna Frost 2011 TNF 100 animal

Anna Frost unleashing her inner animal. Photo: Bryon Powell

There are 9 comments

  1. Simone

    thank you Bryon, it is great to read what athletse interviewed are saying, this is absolutely good for non-english people. really much appreciated

    1. Bryon Powell

      To put it succinctly, the rules of the race were available for all contestants and they could elect to make use of the pacer option or not. Finding an adequate pacer is often as simple as asking.

      If you have a categorical dislike for pacers, that's fine. However, it's far from appropriate to comment a manner that implicitly degrades the excellent performance put forth by a competitor.

      1. Art


        not sure I agree with your response insofar as it seems to be an attempt to shut down free comment. isn't that what you're going for at this site ?

        seems to me an opinion is always appropriate or never appropriate.

        doesn't this type of questioning, second guessing, go on all the time in other sports immediately adjacent to the performance?

        1. Bryon Powell

          As written the comment to which I responded may have been appropriate on an article regarding pacers or race rules, or, if one wanted to really stretch things, on iRF's TNF 50 results article. With substance, the comment may have been appropriate in response to this interview. I do try to foster open discussion on iRunFar and there have been frequent civil debates on tough issues. That said, I try even harder to keep iRunFar a positive place. I am thankful ultrarunning is not "other sports" and have no problem diverting iRunFar's discussions away from the paths I see other sport's discussions go down. The race this weekend was an awesome display of folks using competition to positively raise themselves to their full potential. That is the spirit I love in ultrarunning and which I hope to foster on iRunFar. In the end, Duncan was trolling. As such, maybe it would have been easiest to ignore the comment.. but I didn't and won't. I allow discussion on iRunFar, not insubstantial negativity.


  2. Duncan

    Byron – I wasn't trolling as you say. And I agree with Art. It's legitimate and appropriate to hold different views and encourage debate.

    What isn't appropriate is for moderators to decide what is and isn't appropriate within the realm of protected speech. If I'm guilty of yelling fire, by all means pull the comment, but it isn't even close.

    Frost's performance was excellent but that doesn't put her above critique. By all means write about the fantastic accomplishments of the athletes you interview – they are worth reading about… but please, don't put them on a pedestal or clothe your motherly instinct to censure in the garb of being positive!

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