Aroa Sio Pre-2023 UTMB Interview

A video interview (with transcript) with Aroa Sio before the 2023 UTMB.

By on August 29, 2023 | Comments

Aroa Sio placed eighth at the 2022 UTMB. Since then, she’s taken third in both the 2023 Tarawera by UTMB 100k and the 2023 Canyons by UTMB 100k.

In this interview, she talks about her excitement to race this weekend, what she thinks are the more challenging parts of the course, and what she feels is special about the 100-mile distance.

For more on who’s racing, check out our in-depth men’s and women’s previews. Follow along with our UTMB live race coverage from Friday.

[Editor’s Note: Thanks so much to Aroa’s husband, Abel Recknold, for the translation!]

Aroa Sio Pre-2023 UTMB Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Sarah Brady of iRunFar. I’m here just a few days before the 2023 UTMB with Aroa Sio. Aroa, how are you?

Aroa Sio: I am fine, thank you.

iRunFar: Great. So, you had a really good run here last year. You placed eighth. So, what is it that brings you back after such a good performance, to do this again?

Sio: [through translator] I am feeling amazing and I just want to start the race and give it all because I feel really confident with this, with this year.

iRunFar: That’s so good to hear. You have had a fantastic year since you’ve been here. So, what from last year’s race did you learn that you can bring to this race, and are there areas you think you can improve?

Sio: Okay. Patience. That’s all I need. Because you have to do your race, not others’ race. And that’s the key to success in that kind of race, especially in UTMB.

iRunFar: Yeah, you were saying just off camera that you really want to just run your own race regardless of others. That sounds like a good plan. And then as regards to your preparation, I think you’ve been here for a while and you’ve trained a lot on the loop. So how were those recces?

Sio: The first four or five days was kind of trouble because I got COVID-19 when we got here, and so the plan had to stop for a few days. So, I was thinking maybe I don’t have time to do it, and I’m out of time. But finally it was perfect and I did a few loops on the UTMB, and specific sections of the race because they are more difficult to do. So that’s where I focused more.

iRunFar: It’s really good that you made a recovery on time anyway. So which sections were those that you focused on? Where do you think the difficult parts of this course are?

Sio: Okay, there are two key points. One is Grand Col Ferret, this long downhill, almost 30k. So you have to keep legs there, because if you go too fast, you’re not going to make it. And the second really technical part and very difficult is the new downhill they put in the last climb. They changed the course in the last part, and this is a short but really technical downhill. And it could be quite tricky, you have to be very careful in that kind of terrain.

iRunFar: Okay, it’s really good that you had time so to find all those tricky areas. And then as regards to the year that you’ve had since you’ve been here, you’ve been doing some really good running. So, you were third at the Tarawera 100k. So, that was probably a little flatter and faster than you’re used to. How was that?

Sio: I like to run fast, but sometimes that kind of race like Tarawera is quite difficult, because you have to keep race pace for a long time. So, it’s not the kind of race I really love. I love more that kind of more technical, more mountain race. So that’s why I feel more confident here than running on Tarawera or Canyons [100k] or that kind of race. But I really love those races too. I just love to run.

iRunFar: Okay, it was a fantastic performance anyway, even if not fully your comfort zone. And then the Canyons. So, you’ve been third at that 100k the last two years in a row, but on different courses. So, this year was like, the new looped course. So, how did you find that? Better or worse than last year’s point-to-point race?

Sio: I like more the first year I went. One, because the reason was more technical, more elevation. But I enjoyed the second year I went, because I went there a few weeks before, and I had the opportunity to check the race and the course. So, I don’t see any difference when you have time to go and train on the course, you always can have this in mind, how it’s going to make it. How it’s going to be.

iRunFar: Okay, great. It’s good to have some variety anyway. And on variety, so you race a broad range of distances. But do you think is there something special about this 100-mile distance and what is it?

Sio: Basically, just keep the pace. You know, a slower pace, and you can be steady for a long time, you will be up front most of the times. You have plenty of time to go to this mind state and keep for hours. Because you don’t have to be focused on the heartbeat, you know, or the pace, because you just keep this pace and you can go really long for many hours.

iRunFar: Okay, yeah. It’s quite a different experience. So yeah, fantastic. We wish you a great race anyway, and we look forward to seeing you out there. Thank you.

Sio: You’re welcome.

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Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is Managing Editor at iRunFar. She’s been working in an editorial capacity for ten years and has been a trail runner for almost as long. Aside from iRunFar, she’s worked as an editor for various educational publishers and written race previews for Apex Running, UK, and RAW Ultra, Ireland. Based in Belfast, Ireland, Sarah is an avid mountain runner and ultrarunner and competes at distances from under 10k to over 100k. When not running, she enjoys reading, socializing, and hanging out with her dog, Angie, and cat, Judy.