After a few years away from UTMB, Núria Picas is back to run the race this year. In the following interview, Núria talks about how she’s excited to return to UTMB, what happened to her in the Himalayas this spring, where she’s raced this year, and what she’s afraid in this year’s UTMB.
Núria Picas Pre-UTMB Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Núria Picas before the 2017 UTMB. How are you, Núria?
Núria Picas: Pretty good. You?
iRunFar: Good, a little tired as you will be this weekend. You have run here twice at UTMB and did very well in two races in second place. Then, you had some time away from the race.
Picas: Yeah, I needed to stay a little bit away from here, because two years for me is too much—then recover the mind and the body and come back.
iRunFar: Come back with more energy?
Picas: Yeah, with more energy for sure. This year for me is like a world championship with the best runners in the world.
iRunFar: Who are you excited to race against? Which runners?
Picas: Everybody—the women and all the men here are the best. For me, it’s very special this year to be here.
iRunFar: This year might be special. Early this year you had some problems when you were in the Himalaya. What happened?
Picas: It was a little bit complicated. I had an injury when I was trying to climb Makalu which is the fifth highest mountain in the world. I had some pneumonia. It was really difficult.
iRunFar: Did you have to go to the hospital?
Picas: Yeah, I took a helicopter from 7,800 meters to Katmandu directly.
iRunFar: An emergency then.
Picas: Yeah, emergency. I stayed one night with big problems to go down to the base camp again. I’m alive, and I’m happy to stay here. This is the most important thing.
iRunFar: Did you need a lot of time to recover?
Picas: Yeah, I stayed maybe three weeks doing nothing because my lungs were a little bit with a lot of pain. Now, I’m very good.
iRunFar: You did not do much racing this summer.
Picas: Yeah, just 31k at Buff Epic Trail. Three weeks ago I ran in Norway. I did Tromsø 58k or something.
iRunFar: The long race there—how did that feel?
Picas: Pretty good. It’s another great country and for me a big experience after my injury in Nepal. So piano piano. I’ll stay here and we’ll see.
iRunFar: In the other years that you’ve run UTMB, you’ve done many races early in those years. Now, you are fresh?
Picas: Yeah, I prefer to stay fresh. Always I’m testing new ways to train. This is another very different from other years. We’ll see. People ask me what about this year. I don’t know. We’ll see. I prefer to talk on Saturday and not now because now I don’t know what to say about how I feel.
iRunFar: Are you excited?
Picas: Yes, I’m excited to be here with the best, but I don’t know… a little bit nervous, but happy.
iRunFar: Why are you nervous? What are you nervous about?
Picas: Not for to win the race. I’m afraid about the long distance, the weather conditions. I’d like to run the whole distance.
iRunFar: So the same things every runners are nervous about—not the competition. It’s a long way.
Picas: It’s a long way, more than 24 hours. Wow, I’m super happy just to be here alive after my injury. I’m excited.
iRunFar: It’s good to see you very excited about this. The weather could be a challenge.
Picas: The weather, yeah, I prefer to run with bad conditions, but I would like to run the whole distance. I don’t know. It’s the weather, no?
iRunFar: The weather, the mountains…
Picas: I prefer running… last year was really warm. I don’t like when it’s warm. For me, it’s cold. I prefer cold and to run fast.
iRunFar: There you go. You might have those conditions this weekend. Best of luck, Núria.
Picas: Thank you very much. It’s nice to meet you again.