Jasmin Nunige ran away from the women’s field early in this year’s UltraVasan 90k before holding onto the win late. In the following interview, Jasmin talks about her athletic background, how her race went, and how she looks at athletics differently since being diagnosed with multiple scleroris.
For more on what went down, read our UltraVasan results article.
[Click here if you can’t see the video above.]
Jasmin Nunige, 2015 UltraVasan 90k Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Jasmin Nunige after her win at the 2015 UltraVasan. Congratulations!
Jasmine Nunige: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: You led from start to finish yesterday.
Nunige: Yes, but in the finish, it was a little bit difficult. I had really to fight and give it all my best because the Swedish girl was really strong in the end. So I’m really happy.
iRunFar: When did you start struggling a bit during the race?
Nunige: About 70k. Then I had a break for eating and drinking enough. It was a little bit better afterwards, but I was really happy to finish at the end.
iRunFar: So there was awhile where you built a lead of maybe 10 minutes and Ida Nilsson was behind you. Then it very quickly became almost five minutes.
Nunige: Yes, exactly. I heard about this. Then in the end I was a little bit afraid. I really tried to make more pace or just to not to go slower than that.
iRunFar: The last few kilometers you didn’t have any major problems?
Nunige: No, just tired.
iRunFar: You’ve been doing endurance sports for quite some time. What is your history with sport?
Nunige: I was cross-country skier before. There I had to chance to spend the Olympic Games in 1994 in Lillehammer. Then I stopped in 1998 and had my kids and business. I never stopped training. I began really to run and have fun and some good results. Now, I’m really enjoying running.
iRunFar: You’ve been pretty serious about your trail running for a long time now. You’ve won six Swiss Alpine Marathons?
Nunige: Yes, exactly. I’m really glad because I had a difficult last year because I have multiple sclerosis since 2011. Last year, I was qualified for the European Championships for the marathon. Then, I had another push in June, and I had to cancel all. That’s why I am so happy to be able to run again. Really, I enjoy.
iRunFar: And run very strong.
iRunFar: You also compete on the road?
Nunige: Yes, it was really a new experience because mostly trail running and mountain marathons. The most road runners can’t imagine or don’t know how strong it is. Now, there are really strong runners on the trails and in the mountain marathon. That’s why I was wondering how I can do. There was demand from the Swiss athletics company. Then, I said I will try. I was really happy I had 2:39:00. It was really a nice experience, but I prefer now to run in the mountains or trails.
iRunFar: What other races might you have this year?
Nunige: I want to go to Austria for the Tour de Tyrol. It’s a three-day event in the middle of October. Three weeks later I want to run Les Templiers in France. Then, I think I’ll stop. When I have an option to make a race in the U.S. finalized.
iRunFar: Are there any races in the U.S. you’re thinking about running for the future?
Nunige: Yes, I heard about JFK 50 Mile is really a nice and also fast track. For me, it’s perhaps a possibility to make the season longer because in Switzerland where I live in Davos it’s the winter season. Then it’s not so good to race. Perhaps in the end of November it would be a nice time.
iRunFar: During the winter, do you still do some Nordic skiing or did you stop completely?
Nunige: No, it’s really a nice combination. I really train a lot of cross-country skiing. I keep on running. I do some mountaineering also. That’s why I am able to run since a long time. I don’t have any problem with my muscles or articulations. I think it’s the combination in the winter time to have cross-country skiing. It’s much more healthy for the body. You can train all the heart and all. I like it also.
iRunFar: It’s a change.
Nunige: Yes, it’s really a change.
iRunFar: You were on a very famous Nordic skiing course the last few days. Do you have any desire to ski Vasaloppet?
Nunige: Yes, when you see all this organization and you see the pictures and the videos of the Vasaloppet, I think I have to do it once, yes.
iRunFar: Do you have any other big race plans over the next couple years, any dream races, whether it’s Comrades or UTMB?
Nunige: Yes, so many dreams. I take it one year or one week or one day then the other because I never know. I just enjoy. I’m happy to discover new races. I think it’s really my way to make new races, to discover new races, and have fun and adventure.
iRunFar: Does having multiple sclerosis change your approach or everything with your running?
Nunige: Yes, because it’s really difficult. I had some problems with the legs and couldn’t run for some time. Then I also was afraid could never run again. You lose all in one moment. Then I had a big work and also mental work. I’m so happy to be able to run again. It’s really a present to start. I also am lucky not to have rest of the problems. I recover after a push. I see it differently. For me it’s a victory to be at the start and to be able to run 90k. That’s why I don’t have any pressure. It’s really easier.
iRunFar: Is that different than when you were an Olympic Nordic skier or your other running?
Nunige: Yes, exactly.
iRunFar: Congratulations. It was great to see you out there running this weekend. Well done.
Nunige: Thank you very much.