Living a mere three minutes from the start, Laia Cañes was certainly the most local runner at the 2018 Trail World Championships in Castellón, Spain. She applied her local knowledge and improving ability to take second individually and lead the Spanish team to the women’s gold medal. In the following interview, Laia talks about how she came to running to stop smoking and lose weight, why it was so special to race the world championships at Penyagolosa, and whether she thought such a result was possible.
For more on this year’s race, check out our 2018 Trail World Championships results article.
Laia Cañes Post-2018 Trail World Championships Interview Transcript
2018 Trail World Championships Women’s Second Place: Laia Canes
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar with Laia Cañes after her second-place finish at the 2018 Trail World Championships. Congratulations!
Laia Cañes: Thank you very much.
iRunFar: First I must start, you live here. How close do you live to the race course?
Canes: Warming up, I’m three minutes away from the start line in my house, but I was sleeping here at the hotel of the team, so I was a bit further away—ten minutes.
iRunFar: Was that special for you? Did you feel that made this race something you really looked forward to?
Canes: Yes, Penyagolosa is special every year because it’s a home race, but this year, of course, was way more special. The fact of having a lot of friends and people that know me in all the towns, they took me on a cloud to the finish line.
iRunFar: What gave you more confidence coming into this race—your improvement at Penyagolosa over the years or the improvement at the Trail World Championships?
Canes: Yeah, it’s a super hard question. Last year was super emotional, the finish line was super emotional, but this year was of course, too. I’d rather stay with my personal situation with the race.
iRunFar: You looked very calm and happy the whole race. Was that your intention to enjoy it?
Canes: Yes, I didn’t care about the position. The idea was to be like this, enjoying being happy regardless of my standing in the race.
iRunFar: Could you have dreamed that you would lead the Spanish team to victory?
Canes: No, to be honest, no, I couldn’t even imagine it.
iRunFar: What is your history with sport? Did you run track? When did you start running?
Canes: No, I don’t have a track background or any sports background. I started running in 2007 to be healthier, to quit smoking, so I was running 20 minutes every day and finishing dusted. Yeah, I kept improving year after year, and I started trying the small races around town until here.
iRunFar: When did you find trails?
Canes: My first race was a trail race. I used to live, before moving to Castellón the city, I was living in Villa Vieja(?), a town in the Castellón province. There’s a big tradition of trail running races there, so at the beginning there was only one race per weekend and now there are five or six. So I was trying to run there and continue improving until one day I tried Penyagolosa Trails. It made me look forward to it and trying to find a coach and get better, again, until here.
iRunFar: Does that make this the perfect dream?
Canes: It’s not the end. There’s going to be more!
iRunFar: What more is there? What’s planned for your season?
Canes: I didn’t have any idea. I don’t have any idea for the rest of the season. I was just thinking about this race and not looking forward so I could focus on the world championships. I have an idea of what I’d like to do, but nothing is 100% sure, so I don’t know.
iRunFar: Maybe the world championships next year?
Canes: Yeah, I won’t say know.
Canes: Thank you.