Spain’s Azara García won the 2015 Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon after a closely contested women’s race. In the following interview, Azara talks about her background in track and road running, how her race played out, and where else she plans to compete in 2015.
Make sure to read our results article for the whole story on how the race unfolded.
Azara García, 2015 Zegama Marathon Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar with Azara García after her win at the 2015 Zegama Marathon. Congratulations!
Azara García: Thank you.
iRunFar: What an amazing win here. There were so many strong women. Did you think you could win today?
García: No, well, I didn’t think about it. Not at all. It was my first time at Zegama, so it was impossible to think it was my first time here and also winning and also because of the level. It was a tough battle. Until the last kilometer, I couldn’t even think about winning. It was there that I chilled out and realized it.
iRunFar: Early in the race, Oihana Kortazar went out hard and she’s won the race twice. How did the early part of your race go?
García: I actually start fast, but today was not my day of starting fast, so I was a bit behind. In the beginning Emelie [Forsberg] was the first woman attaching and taking the pace, but I couldn’t catch the pace and get my rhythm and my breath. So I stayed behind kept running my race.
iRunFar: When did things turn around for you?
García: After the ridge of Aizkorri, I went down into the downhill behind Paula [Cabrerizo]. Paula was first; I was second. Then from that point of the race until the finish line I could manage to be first and to get things done.
iRunFar: Is it true your background is with track and field?
García: Yes, that’s true. Since I was eight, I’ve been into athletics and track and field, road races, and cross-country. In 2013, I was second at the Spanish Championship of vertical races. Then that’s where I got into trail running and mountain running.
iRunFar: This was not a track race today. How are you doing with your transition to technical trail?
García: That was the hardest part for me. I could manage going up the hill with no problem, but then I had to work really hard to get on the technical parts, for the downhills especially. But with my boyfriend, Manuel Merillas, who was second today, he insisted that I practice in training on these parts to get better on them.
iRunFar: So you actively trained for descending?
García: Yes, I actually do pretty much. One of the biggest mistakes that everybody thinks that the all the serious and all the speed workouts must be on the uphills in the mountains, but that’s a big mistake and Manuel insists that a lot. He makes me practice a lot of seriousness on the downhills. Since I started running until today, it’s been a lot better.
iRunFar: When you ran on the track, what events did you participate in? What was your focus?
García: Every time, all my best events were 3k, 5k, 10k, long distance.
iRunFar: Long distance. It still might feel a little fast when you have to get your turnover fast on the descents. You weren’t a 400-meter runner.
García: At the beginning I wasn’t that fast, but now I feel better with the years. Every week we keep one day to train on the track to keep the spark going and to keep the speed up. You can really feel it in the flat parts in races.
iRunFar: Where will we see you take on the women again? What races do you have on your schedule?
García: I actually have the Spanish Championships in Vertical K; that’s in my town. That would be really great to win in that race. Also, the actual champion in the past gets to go to the European Championships in Chamonix, so I want to also be part of the team. Then after that, I’ll focus on the Sky Cup and the Vertical Cup.
iRunFar: So both divisions–the Sky race and the Vertical race?
García: Yes, I’ll try to make both.
iRunFar: You’re already the European Champion for Sky; maybe you can add the Vertical Champion as well.
García: Too much pressure.
iRunFar: No, it’s a wonderful accomplishment.
García: That would be a magic year if I could make it.
iRunFar: Do you look forward to celebrating this win tonight?
García: I think I’m going to celebrate at home.
iRunFar: Vámonos! [laughs] Congratulations.
García: Thank you.