Great Britain’s Jo Meek has seen success on the world stage, placing fourth at the IAU 100k World Championships in late 2014 and fifth at the Comrades Marathon earlier that year. Now, she’ll be running the IAU Trail World Championships this weekend. In the following interview, Jo talks about her running history, what she thinks of the course, and how she thinks Team GB could do.
For more on who else is racing, check out our in-depth women’s and men’s previews. You can also follow along with our extensive live race coverage on Saturday.
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Jo Meek Pre-2016 IAU Trail World Championships Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Jo Meek before the 2016 IAU Trail World Championships. How are you, Jo?
Jo Meek: Good, thank you. I arrived late last night but all ready for tomorrow.
iRunFar: You have a pretty good team here with the British ladies.
Meek: I feel we have the best team, Bryon.
iRunFar: Is that the goal?
Meek: It’s got to be, right? I’m in full support of the team doing well. We’re going for what we can do for sure.
iRunFar: Who else makes up the rest of the Team GB?
Meek: They had a selection race up in Scotland. That was won by teammate called Beth Pascall, then Sally Fawcett, and Sophie Grant, and Jo Zakrzewski—she didn’t do the Highland Fling, but she’s on the team. Hopefully we’ve got a really good team.
iRunFar: About yourself, we haven’t had a chance to interview you before. What’s your history with athletics or with endurance sports generally?
Meek: I feel a bit of a fraud with you interviewing me now, to be fair, considering the people who’ve come before me. I have a long history with running. I started with a road-running background and moved onto the longer. I was always better at the longer stuff, but I officially moved onto the longer stuff in 2013 when I did Marathon des Sables against Meghan [Hicks], who nobbled me completely. Then since then, I’ve just done ultras, trail, road, and mixed it up a bit. It’s been good.
iRunFar: In 2014, you had a really good year. You had a great Comrades and a very strong run at World 100k.
Meek: Yeah, that was good, but it was almost a bit too good. I spent the next six months off having over raced. There was no particular injury, just things hurt wouldn’t settle. After six months, I did my time and penance and they went away. I’ve learned my lesson to say no to a few races and really nail the ones I do enter.
iRunFar: What races did you end up running this year?
Meek: I started off with Transvulcania which was okay. Then I supposed my best one was the CCC back in August.
iRunFar: How did that go?
Meek: That was good, second. I was delighted with that. Prior to that, I’d done one in training in Iceland, a bit smaller but nonetheless just as beautiful. I’ve done different ones here and there. Then obviously this one.
iRunFar: CCC, was that your longest race timewise to date?
Meek: Yes, having said that, I did a race in Transylvania which was a good 25 hours, but I didn’t know that. I thought it was going to be about 14. I learned my lesson on what elevation actually means. I was out there for a long time. That was a good experience.
iRunFar: With CCC just being two months behind, do you feel still pretty fit?
Meek: Yes, I think I’ve recovered enough. You never know until actual race day, but I’m up for tomorrow.
iRunFar: You’ve had enough recovery since then as well? It’s late in the season.
Meek: Yes, it’s late in the season, but everyone is in the same boat. I’m just going to go out and enjoy it and see what my body can do.
iRunFar: Have you heard much about this course in particular?
Meek: I’ve heard. Someone said to me that Transvulcania is a road run compared to this. I came out and did a recce, and I don’t know, it’s not that bad. On my recce I got hideously lost, so I probably only did 20 miles of the course, but I think that was enough to give me a gauge. I probably missed out on the worst bits, and I’ll be horrified tomorrow, but I don’t know. It’s okay.
iRunFar: What do you think the most challenging aspects of the course will be—the course itself or weather or…?
Meek: Yeah, I think it’s probably the competition and the course, the technical bits. I don’t know. I’m just going to see what I can do and enjoy it.
iRunFar: How will you approach this race in particular?
Meek: I run my own race. I’ll start off reasonably steady and see how I go from there. It’s a long day out. We’ll be out there for 10 hours or something. I’ve got plenty of time to gauge it as long as I don’t go off too fast. If I go off too fast, I’ll have blown it.
iRunFar: From what I understand, the fastest part of the course is the first eight to 10k.
Meek: Yeah, it is. It’s fast, but it’s uphill, so that will slow people down hopefully enough to not let them see the race destroy them in the first 10k. Yeah, we’ll see.
iRunFar: Best of luck, Jo, to you and the GB ladies.
Meek: Thanks, Bryon.