Hannes Namberger, 2021 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail Champion, Interview

Germany’s Hannes Namberger claimed to be a generalist in his 2021 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail (MIUT) pre-race interview — just “pretty good” at everything. Well, that pretty good translated to pretty great, as he finished this race as champion. In the following interview, Hannes talks about how the race played out, how he’s happy with his 2021 season, and why he’s excited for the off-season now.

For more on what happened at the race, check out our MIUT results article for the play-by-play and links to other post-race interviews.

Hannes Namberger, 2021 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail Champion, Interview Transcript

 iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Hannes Namberger after his win at the 2021 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail. Congratulations.

Hannes Namberger: Thank you. Thank you.

iRunFar: Yesterday, it was fun to watch you race. You just seemed in control of yourself throughout the race. Did it feel that way?

Namberger: Yes, it was exactly my plan to make a good strategy and to control myself and control the leading group.

iRunFar: Yeah, and you were with that leading group all day.

Namberger: Yeah, from the beginning. It’s not always what I what I prefer, but the speed was not so fast. And yeah, I was always in first or second position together with [Erik-]Sebastian Krogvig.

iRunFar: And then Beñat [Marmissolle].

Namberger: Beñat Marmissolle.

iRunFar: Beñat Marmissolle. Yeah. It was a huge group at the very start, but then for a long time, it was three of you racing together.

Namberger: Yeah.

iRunFar: What was that like? Were you and Sebastian talking? Are you all three talking or?

Namberger: Yeah, we spoke before the race that we can work together. He’s very strong in the uphill.

iRunFar: Sebastian.

Namberger: Yeah. Sebastian. And I was better in the downhill. But then he fell and he twisted his ankle and then it was not possible to continue.

iRunFar: So that’s that was what stopped him. Then you and Beñat were still pushing coming out of Curral das Freiras.

Namberger: Yeah.

iRunFar: The two of you just, [mimics quick trekking pole motions and sounds]. Incredible.

Namberger: On the asphalt, always moving forward. Yeah. Because we want to go forward, I looked to him and he was fresh.

iRunFar: Yeah?

Namberger: But it was always a little bit change between running and hiking. And at the end, I could run more than him and that was better for me.

iRunFar: So maybe not, when you were both running maybe the same speed but you transitioned later.

Namberger: Yeah.

iRunFar: And you knew that. You were watching or?

Namberger: I was watching and you feel sometimes if you, if you are better. And at the end I had the better legs.

iRunFar: And it went very sudden from together at Curral to 15 kilometers later… 12, I don’t know eight minutes, 12 minutes. Your lead just grew very quickly.

Namberger: Yes.

iRunFar: Did you make a decisive push or was this again just you are moving faster?

Namberger: No, it was always the same speed. I feel good. My heart rate was always the same. For me it was not faster.

iRunFar: So he was just slower at that time.

Namberger: I would say maybe yeah.

iRunFar: And did you, in that second half the race you’re alone in front. Did you have any challenges, troubles? Did anything go wrong?

Namberger: Yeah, with the track. My watch said I had to go to the right side but the marking was straight. And then I was running on the marking but my watch always remind me you have to go back. And then I said okay, if I do now the wrong way, then I lose the race.

iRunFar: Yeah.

Namberger: Then I went back 1k, and then again, back, and yeah 10 minutes plus, but I heard that Dmitry [Mityaev] did the same so everybody same.

iRunFar: Equal. In the end the marked path was correct.

Namberger: Yep.

iRunFar: Follow the marking.

Namberger: Always follow the marking, but I was not sure. That was the problem for me.

iRunFar: And then you were like oh, I’m in the lead. Maybe if you’re in 50th position or 100th you just follow the marking.

Namberger: I saw no, no footsteps on the ground. I was always thinking if I’m wrong, or is it the correct way?

iRunFar: Is this the end of your season?

Namberger: Yes, it is.

iRunFar: Are you happy with how it went?

Namberger: Yeah, it was awesome. This season. This was only perfect. Yeah. But it was enough.

iRunFar: Done. For you, I see skis on your shirt. Will you spend some time?

Namberger: Yeah, at home it’s not enough snow to ski. I don’t want to go to the glacier. I want to ski from my door, my door. It takes a little bit of time and then it’s snow enough and then let’s go.

iRunFar: Will you have, will you take some weeks off or months off from running or will you do some running and?

Namberger: I do want I want, what I prefer. No, I have no plan, no training plan for the rest of this year. If I want to go walking or hiking or climbing then I do this.

iRunFar: Or if you want to run you just…

Namberger: Yeah, then let’s do it. And that’s what I like. I’m happy to do this now and I want to enjoy the moment what I reach, what happens.

iRunFar: And do you find it’s not only a physical break from the sport but also have mental? You talked a lot about before the race how much that was important, to focus.

Namberger: It was really important. It was the most important thing. But now I’m really empty. My mind is slow.

iRunFar: Cool. Do you have anything maybe you want to focus on next year? A distance or an event or?

Namberger: I have no plans for the events. No, I don’t change the distances. I want to run 100k until 170[k] for UTMB. But I have, I don’t think too much of what happens next year. I know what I have to improve.

iRunFar: Yeah?

Namberger: Yeah.

iRunFar: What is that, that you can share?

Namberger: Running uphill, downhill, and flat.

iRunFar: All of it.

Namberger: All of it. So I want to be a better runner for the future to compete more and…

iRunFar: Because I remember from before the race you’re, you think you’re good at each part, but not outstanding in any.

Namberger: Not special. Yeah.

iRunFar: Now you want to be special in all three?

Namberger: Yes.

iRunFar: Cool. I meant to ask you before the race. It’s not often, I have not interviewed so many runners from Germany. I’d like to hear a little bit about the trail running, ultrarunning community in Germany if you can share.

Namberger: Yeah, a lot of Germans are here. And that was cool to, at every distance, some German guys are on the podium. Makes it a cool event.

iRunFar: So good performances from the German runners but also a large number. It’s not just elite. It’s, it’s growing quickly?

Namberger: Yes. A lot of tourists are here on Madeira from Germany.

iRunFar: To run?

Namberger: No, no, to enjoy the island. It’s not so far away from us.

iRunFar: And are there any races in Germany that people from outside should come and run?

Namberger: No.

iRunFar: [laughs] Come to Madeira.

Namberger: It’s true. That’s why I go to Austria, Italy, from France, Spain.

iRunFar: You the mountains?

Namberger: Yeah, I want to see more. I want to explore and I don’t want to stay at home.

iRunFar: Did you enjoy exploring Madeira?

Namberger: It was awesome. I’ll definitely come back. It was an awesome journey.

iRunFar: Congratulations on a wonderful race.

Namberger: Thank you. Thank you.