After finishing third at the last race edition, Spain’s Maite Maiora returns to the 2021 UTMB. In the following interview, Maite talks about wanting to return to the UTMB to improve upon her previous podium finish, how she lost and then found her competitive drive again during the COVID-19 pandemic, and how her training for this year’s UTMB has gone.
Maite Maiora Pre-2021 UTMB Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Maite Maiora. It’s a couple of days before the 2021 UTMB. And we have Depa translating. Hi, Maite.
Maite Maiora: [through translator] Hi. Hi. [laughs]
iRunFar: How are you doing ahead of returning to UTMB this year?
Maiora: I want to stay here. It is maybe a lot of time now, two years. I thought well, it’s maybe the last year. I thought maybe [that’s] not a lot of time, like two years.
iRunFar: Okay. You, in 2019 the last time this race happened, you finished on the podium. Does coming back to the race again make you think, I can do better?
Maiora: Really there are a lot of people who asked me the same thing. Not that good. After 2019 when I finished on the podium, it’s curious because in the finish when I arrived in 2019 in the last gate, I thought, only I thought that “I want to come back here. I want to come back here.” And the question is, the answer is, easy. I want to stay here and I want to do even better than the 2019. I really see my own reward.
iRunFar: I love that. Your own competitor.
Maiora: Yes. I am my own competitor.
iRunFar: I love it. That’s brilliant.
iRunFar: We are returning to racing now after the COVID-19 pandemic. We didn’t see each other for two years. What was it like for you during COVID?
Maiora: In the last, in the last year I was doing some races. One race here in in France, Cote d’Azur. Also some races are notorious in Spain. But not with the eyes of tiger, of the competitor. It’s for [continuing] to do something because I want to support women. So maybe the last races in the 2020s for continuous in the whole of the tribe. But now in this moment in 2021, I want to [win]. I want to go to the fight.
iRunFar: The eye of the tiger is back.
Maiora: [laughs] Yes. They eyes of the tiger is a good title. The eyes of the tiger.
iRunFar: I like it. You talked about before the interview that you work in public service. You’re a police officer. Was it difficult doing work during, doing your work during the pandemic?
Maiora: It’s like our runners. I am not a professional runner but I think that’s good for me because if I need to go focus on the race, so to focus on the competition during all 24 hours, seven days per week is too hard for me. So for me it’s a good idea to go to the work, to talk with a colleague is for another, for another theme, so the themes are the people of the country or the people of the villages is good for me.
iRunFar: It’s good to have a life outside of running.
Maiora: There’s a Maite Maiora working in my job and another Maite Maiora is a runner. So it’s good for me, the two Maite Maioras, because I’m a good professional in my job and good professional in runner. But it’s two times at the same time, but two times different.
iRunFar: I love it. I know Maite as a runner. I would like to know Maite as a cop, as a police officer.
Maiora: [laughs] You can. I lead you for my home.
iRunFar: Maybe I try not to get in trouble. Okay, my last question for you. You said a moment ago that like your competitive drive is back. The eye of the tiger is back. You did the Skyrunning World Championships and won that earlier. Like how do you, how do you feel that that’s back? Like when did you know I’m ready to race?
Maiora: At the beginning of the year, at the beginning of the season, I don’t know if UTMB or the big races, maybe cannot, cannot do, like 2020. So I started to train a little distance, short distance, doing short races, and after the first month I thought that I want maybe, I want to go to the with the Spanish team to the World Championship. But I [didn’t] ever, during all these months, my focus is on the last day, the last week of August here in UTMB. It’s good for my run to [have] won the World Championship, but the most important, the most important race for me in this season is UTMB.
iRunFar: Is on Friday.
Maiora: [Laughs] Yes.
iRunFar: Well I, for one, am really excited to be back here. And I’m excited to watch you make your second lap around, yeah, around Mont Blanc on Friday, Saturday. Good luck to you.
Maiora: I am so happy to see you and Bryon [Powell] again here in UTMB, in Mont Blanc, in Chamonix.
iRunFar: It’s been far too long. Good luck to you.
Maiora: Thank you very much.