China’s Fu-Zhao Xiang returns to the 2022 UTMB after last racing the event in 2019. In the following interview, Fu-Zhao talks about what she’s done during her seven-week visit to Europe, what she learned in finishing 11th at the 2019 UTMB, and why she’s so relaxed ahead of the race.
[Thanks to JJ Zhang for translating!]
Fu-Zhao Xiang Pre-2022 UTMB Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Fu-Zhao Xiang before the 2022 UTMB. How are you?
Fu-Zhao Xiang: [through translator] Looking forward to this race. And we’re in Europe for almost 50 days. Finally, we’re here. Very happy now.
iRunFar: Have you enjoyed your 50 days here in Europe? What have you done?
Xiang: We’re here, mostly we’re here for UTMB and we’ve run three races before, for training. Eiger Ultra Trail by UTMB in Switzerland and Montreux Trail Festival in Switzerland and Val Tho Summit Games in France. Three races.
iRunFar: And have those races gone well?
Xiang: Very well and the first race is Eiger Ultra Trail, the first place. And then Montreux in second place, and then also is Val Tho Summer Games, she wins.
Xiang: So the rankings getting better.
iRunFar: Yeah. And do you feel strong and fit? Have you had good trainings in the mountains here?
Xiang: She’s saying everything is ready and she has run all the UTMB course and she thinks, she’s, uphill is better than before. Because in God’s time, she come here, she’s using, her uphill is not as good as the European runners.
Xiang: But uphill now is better.
iRunFar: So you were here in 2019 at UTMB. You were in 11th place. What did you learn during that race?
Xiang: First part she got from 2019 is, don’t follow anyone. Must keep her own pace. And the second is she must keep her stomach well. So try don’t try some new food and have some food that she is used to.
iRunFar: Yeah. And she also changed her training to be strong. You changed your training to be stronger on the climbing. Do you now walk more?
Xiang: She’s running uphill by training in Europe. Yeah. A lot of uphills because there were no mountains like Europe in China. So yeah, in Europe.
iRunFar: Being here has been a big help.
iRunFar: What have you done for fun while you’re here in Europe? What have you enjoyed?
Xiang: [laughs] So mostly, training for UTMB is the big part and we stay in different cities. And in different cities, we go sightseeing.
iRunFar: You seem, I do many interviews before races and you just seem so happy and relaxed. How do you, how do you stay so calm?
Xiang: Because he loves trail running so trail running for her is the most happiest thing for her. So she’s happy.
iRunFar: Excellent. Xiè xie. Thank you very much.
Xiang: Thank you.
iRunFar: Sometimes we have a bonus question. So you’ve been in Europe for 50 days. What food do you miss most from home?
Xiang: Milk tea. [laughs]
iRunFar: Milk tea. Okay.