After taking fifth at last year’s Trail World Championships, Gemma Arenas returns as part of a strong Spanish team. In the following interview, Gemma talks about what her preferred race distance is, how well prepared she is for this race, and how she thinks the Spanish women’s team might do. Thanks to Spanish team runner Anna Comet for translating and answering a few questions of her own.
Gemma Arenas and Anna Comet Pre-2017 Trail World Championship Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Gemma Arenas before the 2017 IAU Trail World Championships. We’re also with Anna Comet who is also going to help us translate this interview. How are you, Gemma?
Gemma Arenas: Good, good.
iRunFar: Last year you were fifth in the world here. Do you feel as strong as you did last year at the World Championships?
Arenas: Yes, I feel good. I feel strong. The kilometers are less, but I feel good.
iRunFar: You have over the last year been very strong at 80k whether it was at the World Championships or Transvulcania or Ultra Pirineu. Is that your favorite distance, 80k?
Arenas: Yes, 80k is my distance. I feel okay in shorter races, but I’m better in 80-100k.
iRunFar: Have you trained specifically for the faster pace of this race?
Arenas: Yes, the last three weeks I’ve been training faster because before, I was doing longer races, but the last three weeks I’ve been training for this.
iRunFar: For the past month, the Spanish team wasn’t allowed to run long races and for a few weeks, shorter races, so the Spanish team couldn’t race the Transvulcania Ultramarathon or Zegama Marathon. Do you think that’s a good idea for the Spanish team?
Arenas: Yes, for me it was maybe better to race, but I understand that other people need more time to recover. It’s a rule for us, and it’s okay.
iRunFar: Last year, the Spanish women’s team had a great battle with the French team, but the Spanish team was second by just a little bit. Do you think this year the Spanish team can win?
Arenas: Yes, we have a really good team for men and women. We have to see tomorrow for the running, but yes, we can maybe do a really good race. We have really strong teams.
iRunFar: The team this year is a little different. You’re back, and Azara [Garcia] is back, but can you tell me a little bit about the other team members for Spain?
Arenas: Laia [Cañes] came last year, too. Anna [Comet] was second in the Spanish Championships, so she’s okay. Nuria [Dominguez] and Montserrat [Martinez] are really good runners at this distance.
iRunFar: They’re good at the marathon to 50k?
iRunFar: Anna, how are you feeling before this race?
Anna Comet: I’m feeling good and feeling strong. I’m a little bit nervous, but with big hope. Let’s see tomorrow.
iRunFar: You’ve had very strong results yourself, so why are you nervous?
Comet: I think a World Championship is always a different race. It’s a good nervous, not bad nervous.
Comet: Yes, exactly.
iRunFar: I think you actually like the marathon to 50k.
Comet: Yes, I think it’s my distance, the marathon to 60k. Maybe this race is a little bit more for runners than mountain people, but it’s okay as I’ve been training for that, so let’s see.
iRunFar: Both you and Gemma had really good results at the national championships. What was the race like there?
Arenas: It was a really, really fast race. Azara was first, but she had to stop because of an injury. Gemma arrived first and some minutes after, Anna arrived. We ran very fast that day.
iRunFar: The fast course there was a good preview for this race?
iRunFar: Azara is healthy now?
Arenas and Comet: Yes.
iRunFar: Good luck!
Arenas and Comet: Thank you!