Miguel Heras calls Ultra Pirineu his favorite race. In this interview, hear why Miguel loves Ultra Pirineu so much, what he’s learned from starting this race six previous times, and what his season of training and racing has been like since recovering from a lower-leg injury earlier this year.
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Miguel Heras Pre-2016 Ultra Pirineu Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m here in Bagà, Spain. It’s the day before the 2016 Ultra Pirineu. I’m with Spain’s Miguel Heras.
Miguel Heras: Hi.
iRunFar: Que tal? How are you?
Heras: Bien. Como estas? Good. How are you?
iRunFar: Bien. You are good. This is kind of your home territory, your home race. You’ve run Ultra Pirineu many times.
Heras: Yes, I was in the first edition in 2009. Now it’s my seventh time being here. I’m happy to be here. I hope to do a good race tomorrow.
iRunFar: You have run this race many times. You just told me it’s your favorite race.
Heras: Yes, it’s my favorite race because it’s a Salomon race. I have a lot of friends in this race. I feel good in Catalunya. I feel good in Bagà. I like so much this race. Every year it’s my favorite race in my mind.
iRunFar: You have finished in many of the top positions in Ultra Pirineu. You have been the winner. You have been second place. Last year you were third.
Heras: And I stopped. One time I stopped in 2014. I couldn’t be here because I was injured. I did two times first, two times third, and the first time I did a second position.
iRunFar: Last year you were third in a very competitive, very deep men’s field. What are your hopes or your goals for tomorrow?
Heras: Last year I was with Kilian [Jornet]. All the runners were so good. This year, I don’t know how I will do tomorrow, but I hope to do a good race. I feel good. This year was so difficult for me because I was injured for several months. This moment, I feel good. I want to enjoy, and I hope the race will be okay.
iRunFar: The Ultra Pirineu starts uniquely. In 14k, you climb 1,700 meters—big climb to start the race. How do you stay calm? It’s a very long race. How do you stay calm?
Heras: At the beginning, it’s a long climb, but I think it’s good for the runner because 14k, the elevation positive is 2,000 which is 2,000 less for the rest of the race. It’s a beautiful climb. I like it.
iRunFar: Can you talk a little bit about the scenery because you run most of the race in a national park here in Spain? It’s beautiful scenery.
Heras: Yes, the panoramic at all times is amazing. I like so much this part. We are fortunate. It’s good for this village and the rest of the villages. So beautiful, the race.
iRunFar: The local people surrounding here in Catalunya love this race. In Bagà tomorrow morning before sunrise, people will be out cheering. Then when you cross over to Cerdanya, all the people will come out to cheer. What’s it like to have [a dog passed by] the energy of Catalunya behind you tomorrow?
Heras: In Bagà, I feel good. The people in Catalunya like the race and like this sport and like these mountains. Altogether, it’s the top. All runners feel good feelings. It’s important to the runners to feel the good feelings of the public and spectators.
iRunFar: We last saw you race about a month ago at UTMB. You were very close to the front for a long time, but then you had to drop after Courmayeur. What happened at UTMB?
Heras: The season was so difficult and so complicated for me. I couldn’t train a lot.
iRunFar: What was your injury?
Heras: In my tibia. I cut training three weeks before UTMB. Short training. My feeling was good in the race, but in 100k, my body was empty. I couldn’t finish the race.
iRunFar: It was a matter of not having had enough training rather than your injury coming back that took you out. When you dropped at UTMB, it wasn’t pain from your injury, it was not enough training?
Heras: No, my injury is finished. I just stopped because of my energy and fitness. I stopped because I couldn’t do.
iRunFar: Best of luck to you tomorrow. I think maybe with a little training before UTMB, UTMB, and now a little training after, I think maybe you’re in a good position for tomorrow.
Heras: I hope to do good. I hope to have good feelings and enjoy the race.
iRunFar: Best of luck to you. We’ll see you out there.
Heras: Okay, thanks. Thank you so much.