Kami Semick 2011 TNF 50 Mile Pre-Race Interview

An interview with Kami Semick before the 2011 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships.

By on December 2, 2011 | Comments

Kami Semick talks about her year of running, her move to Hong Kong, how the move has benefited her training, and how she’ll approach choosing races while living in Asia. Of course, she also talks about the pending TNF 50 mile championships!

Kami Semick TNF 50 Mile Championship Pre-Race Interview Transcript

iRunFar:  You are returning again to The North Face 50 Mile Championships.  How many times have you run this one?

Kami Semick:  I’ve run it twice.  Last year I was third.  In 2008 I won it.  I’m going to reverse the trend.

iRF:  You’ve had an awesome 2011.  You were second at American River 50 Mile in a great time, second at Western States 100, and third at the Comrades Marathon, which is huge, behind the twins.  What do you think has been your best performance so far this year?

Semick:  I’d have to say Comrades.  That was a great race.  Yes, Comrades.

iRF:  And in those three races, you’ve had to race Ellie [Greenwood] each time.  She got you at American River and Western States and you got her at Comrades.  Are you excited to face off against her again?

Semick:  Yeah, definitely, I mean, I respect Ellie immensely.  I really enjoy running with her.  At American River, I felt like I was just rolling into shape.  Comrades was a great race for me.  And at Western States, it is what it is.  Had it not been for the bear, I think it would have been a closer finish.  So I think that this should be a really good race.

iRF:  Late summer, was it August when you moved from Bend, OR, to Hong Kong?

Semick:  Yes, I’m a resident of Hong Kong now.

iRF:  You obviously run awesome and great road races in flat conditions.  You also did really well at Western States.  How has your training gone since then.  In Hong Kong, how have you transitioned?

Semick:  Yeah.  It’s been an adjustment moving to Hong Kong.  The weather is very different in Hong Kong and the terrain, in a good way, is just very demanding.  It’s incredibly hilly, the climbs are very steep, and honestly, there’s a lot of concrete.  There is some dirt, some very technical trail, and there are some steps.  So I feel like it’s helping me focus on maybe some things that I need to focus on which are technical trail running and descending.  I’ve always been a pretty strong uphill climber and I think living in Hong Kong is just reinforcing that.  So I feel like the last two and a half months of training have been really solid, I feel like I’m in great hill shape, and so we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

iRF:  That sounds like the perfect training for the hilly Headlands.  How about the lifestyle transition?  You left all the familiarity of the U.S.  You’ve had some big hurdles to overcome.

Semick:  You know, I think change is good.  I think mixing up your life a little bit is actually a healthy thing.  Going from rural Bend, Oregon, with 3 acres, kind of like a little mini-farm to the 49th floor of a highrise has been quite different.  And, you know, I’m actually loving it.  I love urban life.  I love public transportation systems.  We’re walking everywhere; we don’t have a car.  So I either walk or run or mini-bus or taxi or subway everywhere that I go.  It’s been a fun change.

iRF:  So aside from the lifestyle changes, you’re so far from races you’re used to location-wise.  Are you going to embrace that and try racing some in Asia or are you going to continue coming back to races in the States while you’re in Hong Kong?

Semick:  I do have chances to run in Asia and I’m taking advantage of those.  Truth be told, though, I really enjoy competing in what I consider to be the most competitive races in the world and that’s going to continue for me in 2012.  So I’ve raced some races in Hong Kong, I’ll be racing in Beijing in the March timeframe.  Then I’m headed back to South Africa for both Two Oceans and Comrades Marathons and then heading back to the States again for Western States 100.  Then we’ll see what the fall brings.

iRF:  Glad you’re back here and best of luck this weekend!

Semick:  Thanks, Bryon!

[Thanks to Kristin Zosel for transcribing the interview.]

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.