Basque runner Javi Dominguez ran a consistent race to take third place at the 2023 Hardrock 100, his debut at the event. In the following interview, Javi talks about how his race played out, what races he found Hardrock most similar to, and how having children changed his relationship with running.
For more on how the race played out, read our in-depth Hardrock 100 results article.
Javi Dominguez Post-2023 Hardrock 100 Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Javi Dominguez after his third-place finish at the 2023 Hardrock 100. How are you, Javi?
Javi Dominguez: Fine, thanks.
Dominguez: Thanks. Thanks, and congratulations to you.
iRunFar: Oh, thank you. Thank you so much. This is your first time in the United States, and your first time running Hardrock. What did you think of Hardrock?
Dominguez: Yes. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. But one of the most toughest races I ever run.
iRunFar: What made it tough?
Dominguez: The altitude, but also the mountains, they are very steep. Non-solid terrain, and all those river crossings and everything. But I mean, we like this.
iRunFar: We choose this.
Dominguez: Yeah. That’s why I came here.
iRunFar: But it lived up to your expectations?
Dominguez: It is, I mean, it has been tougher, harder than I expected. So yeah, really.
iRunFar: Yeah, really. So it was worth coming over for?
iRunFar: So, your race, you had a good race. You finished third. Tell me a little bit how it unfolded, how it played out.
Dominguez: The first part went really good. Then the night came and then I broke a pole climbing up to Virginia. So with one pole the rest of the race was a nightmare for me, because I was all the time trying to look for a piece of wood so I could work with both poles. But apart from that, I enjoyed it a lot in several places. Especially the part when you go down to Ouray. The box canyon. The views are amazing. So I enjoyed those.
iRunFar: The scenery was good.
iRunFar: So, from an outside perspective, it looked like you ran a very smart race. Was that plan to sort of be back, not far back, but in sixth or seventh position early going, or?
Dominguez: No. I’m not that smart. Actually I run as fast as I can. I run slow, so that’s the way it goes. I always try to do my race my own pace. It doesn’t matter, for me, it doesn’t matter if I am with more people or if I am my own. Most of the time I prefer going on my own.
iRunFar: When you went, you didn’t have any crew, you didn’t have any pacers. Is that a decision that you made or was it because?
Dominguez: Well, that’s because I came here on my own. But then I made some friends, some Spanish friends here, and they crewed me in some aid stations.
iRunFar: Oh, you did. So you did have some crew.
Dominguez: So it was, you know, it happened.
iRunFar: But it happened. And was that nice too, you planned to have no crew but then was it nice to see?
Dominguez: It’s always nice to have someone familiar to talk with, just to entertain some words.
iRunFar: So you said you just, you weren’t trying to be smart earlier, just run your own race. But you do. You’re very good at staying just as strong in the second half of a race. No secrets, but like, to what do you owe that?
Dominguez: Yeah, I don’t know. It is me. So, all I know is marathons, running. It happened. So, I would like to run faster, but I cannot.
iRunFar: Was your stomach okay? I know like, at high altitude, a lot of people have problems.
Dominguez: Yeah, I’m very lucky with my stomach because normally I don’t have any problem. So I didn’t have any problem with the stomach. So, if you drink and you eat, so I mean, that’s very important just to drink and eat. And apart from that, your legs must be strong to keep going.
iRunFar: And later in the race you, do keep going and you move from fifth to fourth to third. Are you thinking about that at all during the race? Are you just still trying to run strong?
Dominguez: I wasn’t thinking about the position. I was just trying to run, or to walk.
Dominguez: In a way, I mean, tried not to work too much, tried to jog, or at least. And I didn’t think too much about the position, because you never know. But also thinking that the one behind you could be approaching you, so that also gives you this …
iRunFar: A motivation. It’s not stress, but you don’t slow.
Dominguez: Otherwise I would walk all the race. Most of the time I’m thinking about the one behind me and not the one in front of me.
iRunFar: Yeah, that’s understandable. So, when we first saw you back on podiums at UTMB, you didn’t have any children. Now you do. Has having children and a family changed your running at all, or how or how has it changed your running?
Dominguez: A lot. Now I don’t have that much time I had before. But somehow I enjoy it every time I go for a run. I know I enjoyed it a lot, because as I don’t have enough time during the day, whenever I can go for a run. I’m more motivated.
iRunFar: Yeah, it makes you value that time even more.
iRunFar: Awesome. Do you have any other events planned for this year?
Dominguez: Yeah, I’m doing UTMB.
iRunFar: Okay. I’ve heard of that one.
Dominguez: Yeah. I think I will stop there for the season.
iRunFar: Does this race make you think you’re strong for UTMB?
Dominguez: That motivates me a lot. Yeah.
iRunFar: Yeah. I mean, I know it’s a slow average. You’re high, so there’s less running here.
Dominguez: Yeah. There’s less running. But anyway, when you finish one race, also with what, third position, it motivates you for the rest of the season, or actually for the next year.
iRunFar: It makes you confident. We talked over beers before the race, you’re 48. Like it’s how, we do slow down with age, but it gives you confidence. I’m still strong.
Dominguez: Yeah, but the thing is, luckily those events are not for, you don’t need to be very fast.
iRunFar: Maybe your place your position at the Zegama Marathon may not be as high as when you were much younger, but UTMB or Hardrock.
Dominguez: Who knows.
iRunFar: Yeah, who knows. You’ve run races all over the world. Is there any race that feels similar to Hardrock that you’ve run? What race is most similar?
Dominguez: No, I haven’t done any race on high altitude, so that makes a difference. And then, in terms of hardness, Diagonale des Fous is quite hard, also. There is also, in Spain, there is one race I do quite often, which is Travesera Integral Picos de Europa, which is, it’s not 100 miles, more like 50 miles, 74k.
iRunFar: More or less.
Dominguez: With a lot of elevation gain. And this kind of race is quite hard. In this case, this is the double, so.
iRunFar: And it feels like a triple.
Dominguez: Yeah, yeah.
iRunFar: Well, congratulations, Javi. It was great to see you here.
Dominguez: Congratulations to you again.
iRunFar: Thank you.