Following two top-10 finishes in 2014 and 2015, Anne-Marie Madden returns again to the 2017 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships. In this interview, Anne-Marie talks about her schooling and job outside of running, why she’s back to TNF 50 again, and how her 2017 of racing has looked different from years past.
Be sure to read our in-depth men’s and women’s previews, and follow our race-day live coverage.
Anne-Marie Madden Pre-2017 The North Face 50 Mile Championships Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m here with Hillary Allen. Together we are hosting Anne-Marie Madden before the 2017 The North Face 50 Mile Championships.
Anne-Marie Madden: Hello. I like this set up. It’s fun.
Hillary Allen: Hi, yeah!
iRunFar: Good morning. How are you doing?
Madden: Good morning. Yeah, doing great! Really good.
iRunFar: You’re back again at The North Face.
Madden: Yeah, third time.
iRunFar: What brings you back?
Madden: I love the race. It’s so close. It’s the same time zone, so it’s hard not to come back.
iRunFar: It’s the same time zone—actually very critical for weekend racing.
Madden: Yeah. It’s a great race, and it feels close to home, so it’s hard not to come back. I couldn’t come last year because I was having to take the year off racing for some school focus. I’m very excited to be able to come back again.
iRunFar: Let’s start with just a brief review of your performances here. You were here in 2014 and 2015. Both were top-10 runs. Both were kind of like, if I remember right, Anne-Marie was just sort of in the thick of things start to finish… thick of the top 10, I should say.
Madden: Yeah, I was… I’m trying to remember the first year, I know I finished fourth. I can’t realy remember if I passed people. I think I passed some people near the end. In 2015, it was a much more… there was a lot more passing here and there and changing up. I remember Larissa Dannis passed me with a little to go, and she ended up third. I think she finished super strong. I ran a lot of it with Ellie [Greenwood] until maybe halfway, and then she just turned on her jets and took off. That was a bit more of a changing positions year, if I remember correctly. I almost felt like I ran better in 2015, and yet was sixth, versus 2014. As to how you place doesn’t always necessarily mean how you raced just because the competition seems to be getting deeper and deeper and deeper. It’s a big year this year for sure. So many awesome women have showed up for sure.
Allen: Fast forward to this year, you’re coming hot and fresh off Les Templiers.
Madden: Yeah, still very recent.
iRunFar: In your legs or your head?
Madden: No, not in my legs. It feels like I flew home, went to work, and all of a sudden this has arrived.
Allen: As far as signing up for a race like this, you have to be feeling somewhat fit and ready from Les Templiers. Having run that before, I think it’s a perfect lead-up to a race like this.
Madden: I think it used to be six weeks and then now this year it’s four weeks apart. Six would have been awesome. I felt like between Glen Coe and Templiers, it felt like a decent amount of time to train and taper. This just feels short. I don’t feel burnt out or exhausted, but I also don’t feel like I had a huge training block between the two. I don’t feel like that would have been really possible, so yeah. I think it will just be a “see how I feel” tomorrow but trying to stay positive and hoping it will go well.
Allen: Those two races—Glen Coe and Les Templiers—are super competitive, so now this race is competitive, too, but it’s not on European soil; it’s U.S. soil. Does that excite you?
Madden: Yeah, I think your’e a bit more challenged by the races where there’s a deep field because if you turn off your brain for even 5k, all of a sudden you might pay the price. You have to stay focused. You have to keep pushing but also be smart and not go to crazy and then explode. I think strategy and racing well is more important when there’s a deep field and where it’s going to be close all the way to 20th.
iRunFar: Is there an evolution happening with your running? I feel like the Anne-Marie of a couple years ago was maybe doing some shorter racing. You were racing technical stuff but home-terrain technical stuff. In 2017, you’ve branched out to different countries and done things that are different.
Madden: Essentially, I graduated in June, and now I have vacation time. I just have more flexibility now for the first time in nine or 10 years. That’s the key. I think also feeling like I get more sleep in the last five months and I can train a bit better, so it seems a bit more worthwhile to go away when you feel you’ve actually trained.
iRunFar: When you have the potential of running to your potential?
Madden: Yeah, it’s been a really nice few months. I’ve really enjoyed it.
iRunFar: What is your world outside of running like?
Madden: Mostly I feel like mostly it’s been work and studying, and now there’s a little less studying and probably the same amount of work.
iRunFar: What exactly do you do?
Madden: I’m an anesthesiologist. This year since July I’ve been working and finished residency. I have this one year of ‘just work’ and then I go back to fellowship next summer. I’m actually moving to Palo Alto for a year. Maybe then I’ll be back to not sleeping very much and studying more, but also being in the area, I’m hoping maybe I’ll be able to squeeze in some California races. It will be a different year. I’m kind of excited for that change. I’m trying to seize the opportunity I have right now to train well and get out and do races.
iRunFar: Best of luck to you tomorrow. We look forward to seeing you run the Headlands.
Madden: Thank you. I’m very excited. I can’t wait.
Allen: Best of luck.