Michael Wardian 2011 TNF 50 Mile Pre-Race Interview

An interview with Michael Wardian before the 2011 The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships.

By on December 3, 2011 | Comments

Michael Wardian talks his past shortcomings at the TNF 50 mile championships, his recent string of second place finishes, how he’s in the best shape of his life, and his excitement to race so strong a field.

Micheal Wardian 2011 TNF EC 50 Mile Pre-Race Interview Transcript

iRunFar:  How are you doing today?

Michael Wardian:  I’m doing great!  It’s nice to be here.

iRF:  You’ve been out here twice before?  It probably hasn’t played out quite as well as you’d like.  You got lost one year, correct?

Wardian:  Yeah, it’s definitely something that I… the first year I didn’t know the course as well as I should have and ended up taking a wrong turn, which is something that has happened to me quite a few times.  So hopefully this year, I’ll be able to rectify that.  The last time I ran it in 2009, I think I was fourth or fifth, maybe?  Not where I needed to be.  I was hoping to do a little bit better.  So hopefully this year I can do a little bit better.  I’ve had some good results and a lot of really solid performances.  I’ve been working hard for this race for a long time and so tomorrow’s a chance to see if all the training has had any effect.  There’s so many good guys out there tomorrow and girls that it’s going to be exciting just to be a part of it.  I’m really looking forward to it.

iRF:  The last time we chatted was at [the UROC 100k] and you ran well there.  Since then you’ve won the tough USATF 50 mile road championship and broke the JFK 50 mile course record, got beat by David Riddle, but had a good run.

Wardian:  Yes, I broke the course record at Tussey Mountainback [50 mile] by a couple minutes and I broke the course record at the Santa Barbara Marathon and got beat in the last kilometer.  I got second at the Marine Corps Marathon all in the same amount of time, some guy just ran out of his head.  I’ve had a lot of really close calls, and so hopefully learning how to lose will inspire me to do even better tomorrow.  That’s what I’m looking to do; I want to toe the line and do the best that I can.

iRF:  Those performances, course records, even if you’ve gotten beat on those days, really have to be a positive sign for your fitness.  Do you think you’re on par the best shape you’ve been in?

Wardian:  Yeah, I think I’m in the best shape probably in my life, setting personal bests from 10 miles all the way up to, well, I even just ran a 5 mile race in 25:13, so that was pretty inspiring for me just to know that… I’m trying to get down to a 5 minute pace for the trials (Olympic Marathon trials) coming up here in January.  I’ve been doing a lot of climbing, so hopefully that bodes well for tomorrow and if it’s close, hopefully I’ll be the one that’s able to pull away in the end rather than it being the other way around like the last couple times.

iRF:  With the front of the race field so stacked tomorrow, what is your approach?  Normally you maybe have one or two guys in a race that are really stacked.

Wardian:  Yeah, that’s the awesome thing about tomorrow and I think a testament to what The North Face has been able to do with this championship race.  It draws some of the best guys in the world at this distance and gets them all in the same place at the same time.  That’s something that’s exciting to me.  I want to race the best guys wherever that is and this is a chance to do that and really test and see how I stack up.

iRF:  Is there anybody in particular that you have to gun for in order to win?

Wardian:  Well, yeah, you did a nice write up on your website about some of the contenders and I’m sure there’s a lot of people that aren’t, like you said, even in that top bracket that are just listed… like you see the names at a pro marathon, like at New York City (Marathon), like 10 guys that they feature, and then there’s 20 guys deep that are all studs in their own right that are only a name.

iRF:  Like Jordan McDougal who beat you at TNF DC [50 mile] this year.

Wardian:  Yeah.  There’s Jordan, Mike Wolfe, just thinking of my team.  You’ve got Hal Koerner and Ian Sharman.  There’s Goeff Roes who I raced at UROC. T here’s Jezz Bragg.  It’s awesome!  That’s the whole thing and then you’ve got Dakota [Jones] who just broke the [Rim-to-Rim-to-Rim FKT] at the Grand Canyon.  There’s all the Salomon dudes, too, I think.  So, yeah, that’s what you want.  You want to come to a race and have… it’s going to be sweet to have a pack of 20 guys that have a chance to win and that’s exciting because it’s going to push us all to do incredible things tomorrow.  It’s going to be an amazing day from the looks of it.

iRF:  Best of luck to you tomorrow!

Wardian:  Thank you very much!

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.