Jorge Maravilla Post-2012 Western States 100 Interview

An interview with Jorge “More Smiles” Maravilla, the happiest man in ultrarunning, after his eighth place finish at the 2012 Western States 100.

By on June 27, 2012 | Comments

Jorge “More Smiles” Maravilla could easily fill the role of Happiest Man in Ultrarunning. He’s also darn fast. At the 2012 Western States 100, he finished eighth with a breakthrough performance, finishing in 16:05:30. In the following interview, find out what makes this crowd favorite tick.

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Jorge Maravilla Post-2012 Western States Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Jorge “More Smiles” Maravilla after his wonderful run at the 2012 Western States 100. How do you feel?

Jorge Maravilla: I feel amazing. I feel wonderful. I think more than anything I just feel really privileged. I feel that I felt so much love and support that it’s just remarkable to be part of this community. I see a man right there that is also very supportive, AJW, and you being out there supporting us all. I feel great. My legs surprisingly are feeling pretty good.

iRF: You worked hard to get this one. You ran a couple of races to try to get your qualifier. Where did you eventually get that, the Montrail Ultra Cup spot?

Maravilla: I finally got it at Leona Divide 50 miler. I ended up third there just behind Mr. Timothy Olson who had a remarkable race yesterday. I couldn’t be happier and prouder for another guy. He’s a good friend of mine, and I’m just so happy for him. It was a battle there, too; I learned a lot about myself mentally and physically at that race (Leona Divide).

iRF: I really wouldn’t have known you last year from anybody, but this year you’ve built quite a reputation both as a racer and your attitude on the course. You’re an instant crowd favorite.

Maravilla: I wonder what it is.

iRF: Is your positivity for you or for the crowd or is it just the way you live?

Maravilla: I have to say it’s all of the above. I’m always smiling every day. I feel like everyone that’s out there is supporting us. I love sharing my energy with them and hopefully them generating energy. It’s kind of like a reciprocal fact. I love making them laugh and smile and then their energy… I fuel off of that.

iRF: See, a lot of people can’t … they’ll get that energy at Michigan Bluff or Foresthill and then they’ll get too amped and they’ll run really hard and then fall apart 5-10 minutes later. They get really tired. But you’re able to carry that wave of energy down the course?

Maravilla: Yeah, I’d have to say so. I think so. Each aid station I was really trying to make everyone laugh and have a good time. The last few aid stations weren’t as funny or as much energy. But I do, I think, I carry all of that energy from each aid station and from just being a part of the community.

iRF: Was this your first 100 miler?

Maravilla: It’s not. It was my second. Last year, I ran Tahoe Rim Trail 100 and finished that one. I came in first place.

iRF: Sorry, it’s been a long day. But this one, for sure, topped that experience? You had such a fast race.

Maravilla: Absolutely. Absolutely. I had some goals set and achieving them was just remarkable particularly at this stage. This was the 2012 Western States. I came into you guys at Robinson Flat and you guys were like, “How are you doing?” “Are you kidding me? I’m running Western States!”

iRF: He was literally like that.

Maravilla: I really felt that vibe and that privilege and feeling, “Wow, I’m running well. I’m running smooth. I’m running within myself and I’m dictating my own race. I feel very privileged.” And, “Wow, I had a good run.”

iRF: Were you seventh overall? What was your time?

Maravilla: I was eighth overall in 16:05, which for me is like, “Really? I’m a 16:05 guy at Western States?” Sure, the weather was good, too, but with everything else… I’ll take it! Top 10 at Western? I’ll take it!

iRF: Did you have any low thoughts? Be honest here. Were there any places you struggled physically or mentally?

Maravilla: Physically, I was on top of my nutrition, so I had no cramps all day, which is amazing. I think like most racers, the later miles and those downhill sections—“Oh, this is a quad-buster course.” My quads were feeling it a bit. Somehow I was able to manage it. Someone pointed out to me, I don’t know if it is true as I forget the details, but I think at Highway 49, Mackey had a 35-minute lead on me and I ended up finishing 12 minutes behind him. So I had a pretty good little stretch there at the end. That felt good. Also, I was like 15 minutes behind fourth place.

iRF: An historic year for Western States.

Maravilla: Yeah. I’m just feeling so privileged and I feel like I’m gaining some confidence – confidence that perhaps I didn’t quite have in myself. I was just kind of running; throw the shoes on and run. Now I’m gaining some confidence and getting hungrier. I want to train harder. This is just a great thing to be a part of.

iRF: So where are you going to take that confidence next?

Maravilla: I registered for Speedgoat 50k.

iRF: Excellent. We’ll be there. Congratulations on your run yesterday. We’ll see you in Utah in July.

Maravilla: Thank you. Thank you for your support and for providing so much that you do for our community as well.

iRF: As you say, it’s a privilege.

Maravilla: Thanks, Bryon.

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.