Patrick Reagan took third-place at the Ultravasan 90k in only his third ultramarathon. In the following interview, Patrick talks about how his race went, his history with ultras, as well as his more extended running history.
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Patrick Reagan Post-2016 Ultravasan Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Patrick Reagan after his great [third place] finish at the 2016 Ultravasan. How are you?
Patrick Reagan: Great. Good to see you, Bryon.
iRunFar: You had a great run out there. You were in the thick of it all day.
Reagan: Yeah, pretty much all day long right in the thick of things. At some points, I didn’t really plan to be in the thick of things.
iRunFar: Yeah? Like from the start?
Reagan: Yeah, yeah.
iRunFar: Well, there was a big group, and then once you got to the singletrack, you decided to throw down, right?
Reagan: I didn’t really expect to be in the lead come sprint pris when I saw you, but I really got in the thick of things. I carried a hand held, so I skipped the first bottle check and ended up in the lead on the singletrack which I really didn’t expect to be or want to be necessarily.
iRunFar: You must have handled it pretty well.
Reagan: Yeah, for some reason it just kind of clicked yesterday. You know very well that I don’t run on trails too much.
iRunFar: I think you run on trails more than some of the guys who were behind you.
Reagan: I guess so.
iRunFar: Coming toward mid-race or the second bergspris, you were running with yourself, Elov Olsson, and Fritjof Fagerlund. Then Arnaud Perrignon came up on you. You two sort of pulled ahead again.
Reagan: A little. Then he hit the gas, and it was a place I really wasn’t comfortable going that early in such a long event for me personally. I backed off a little around 42k and he really hit the gas through the second bergspris
iRunFar: Did the field reconsolidate at all or was it sort of chaos after the second bergspris.
Reagan: After the second bergspris, I probably spent about three minutes at the drop bag at an aid station and my feet were soaked then. I changed socks, got a ton of electrolyte tabs, got eight more gels, and got my first container of Roctane. There I spent a lot more time than I wanted to, but it was worth it in the long journey.
iRunFar: Do you think so? Would you do that again? It’s not three minutes in a slow trail 100. It’s three minutes in a race where that’s a half of percent of your total time.
Reagan: Seven minutes separates first and me, so to do it over again, I don’t necessarily think I would have been much closer to Jarle [Risa], but maybe it meant the difference between second and third. To me it was worth it. My feet were beginning to feel a little macerated from being so soaked. I think I saved time later due to how much downhill there was. It was worth it. I got a little break and got to compose myself.
iRunFar: When did… Jarle was ahead of you and who else was ahead of you at that time?
Reagan: I think seven guys were ahead by the time I finished changing my socks.
iRunFar: So you’re back to chasing people now.
Reagan: Yeah, now I’m in the chase. The first guy I pulled up on was Steve Way. Me and Steve chased a few guys down on the downhill sections on the dirt roads. That was where the race really started to turn in my direction just from an energy store perspective. I felt like the aid station was a big physical boost for me. I got to have a halfway point and compose myself and really focus on using my road skills to tear up the second half.
iRunFar: Do you think that going from being under pressure when you actually went into the lead after the bergspris because Arnaud… in the aid station because he pulled over and was getting help with bottles and you passed him and then you stopped. You go from that to being in seventh and chasing people and actually catching them. Did it feel good mentally to be making up ground?
Reagan: Yeah, it definitely felt good to not be pushing it and in the lead. I was starting to feel a lot of pressure from being in the front the whole way. It’s just a style of racing I’m not so much used to from this year being on a big road stage where I was never in the lead in any races I was in whether it was the half marathon I ran in January or the Olympic Trials Marathon or USA’s. I was never within 30 seconds of Geoff [Burns] after the first 5k. The whole year I’ve been really chasing and running conservative races in the first half. I kind of got back into my comfort zone a little bit after the drop bag portion.
iRunFar: Did everything go well in the second half?
Reagan: Yeah, I felt very solid all the way through when I saw you at 9k to go which was the final aid. At that juncture I just started running 6:45-7:00 miles. I knew how far ahead second and first were, but I just didn’t have the gas to chase anymore. I didn’t necessarily run out of steam. I got here and felt really comfortable.
iRunFar: So you were running strong but sort of semi-conservative maybe? You weren’t just going to throw it out there?
Reagan: Yeah, I didn’t really know what would happen in the last 20 minutes based on how I was feeling if I started to ratchet down and start to run maybe 6:15-6:20 again. I didn’t want to risk it. I felt like I was putting together a good day. I came here just hoping to have a good experience on a trail and be top 10. The podium was great. It was more about the race and just getting to come spend time with my teammates for 100k this year and hang out in a beautiful new country. It was really what the race was all about.
iRunFar: It was also only your third ultra, right?
Reagan: Yes, my third ultra.
iRunFar: Was your 50k first? Was it Buffalo Run?
Reagan: Yeah, so last summer I was just doing a lot of longer stuff. I trained up in the mountains in Black Mountain, North Carolina, a few times with Morgan Elliot, my buddy that lives there who won Power of Four a couple weekends ago. I was just starting to enjoy the trail. I ran a trail half last summer for fun. I ran Buffalo Run 50k solo.
iRunFar: What drew you then to run the 100k at Mad City, the USATF Champs?
Reagan: I was entered for Way Too Cool, and I was entered for Ice Age, but in January my friend in Jacksonville put together a great field as a last chance push to qualify for Olympic Trials. I kind of surprise qualified. I expected to run 1:05:30, a PR, but I PRd by 1:50 in the half marathon. I hit the Trials qualifier and backed out on Way Too Cool so I could experience Trials. I wasn’t sure if I would take another shot at doing road again given that I was getting interested in longer stuff. That being said, that’s when I decided to run Mad City. I originally planned to do the 50k. I think three weeks before, I decided I was going to do the 100k because I had a few really good back-to-back long run weekends and was feeling excellent. I think I ran by myself 4:20 for 40 miles on the road in Savannah. Everything was spot on. I was feeling really comfortable running four to five hours on the flats. I said, Well, let’s just try 100k on the road.
iRunFar: It turned out alright—6:35 for your first 100k?
Reagan: Yeah, 6:35:56 or something.
iRunFar: You come here and another solid run—so what’s up next?
Reagan: This year, I don’t race too much. Ultras—I just plan to do three a year maybe. I have hopefully if I’m selected for the USA Team for 100k, I plan to go to IAU in late November in Los Alcazares[, Spain].
iRunFar: Does that look likely based on Mad City if they’re supporting it?
Reagan: Currently, I’m second on the provisional list, so it looks likely. I think Geoff. I’m sitting second, and then Joe Binder from being top 15 [at least year’s World Championships], Matt Flaherty, Zach Bitter, and Chikara Omine.
iRunFar: Solid team.
Reagan: Yeah, it looks like a great team. I hope to be a part of it.
iRunFar: Backing up a little bit, what’s your running history before last summer?
Reagan: After university, I took two or two-and-a-half years off.
iRunFar: Did you run in high school and college?
Reagan: Yeah, I ran in high school and did mainly the mile and some cross country and some two mile in high school. University, I originally went to a Division II school in West Virginia and transferred to Slippery Rock University in PA, where I ran competitive cross country for three years. I had a fairly good career there. After college, I took a few years off not running at all, about two-and-a-half years pursuing other adventures and other things. I eventually got back into the sport. And that was 2015 that I really got more serious about training seriously again.
iRunFar: That’s a pretty quick ramp up. Obviously you have a very long background, but…
Reagan: Yeah, I did a half in 2013 and a road 10k in 2014. I think I only raced once a year those two years. Then 2015 in the winter, winter meaning January, I got a little more serious again and did my debut full marathon in March 2015.
iRunFar: You have the 100k hopefully in November, and then anything…?
Reagan: I’m going to run for Team Nedbank for Comrades [Marathon]. Yeah, I’m going to do Comrades. Between, I doubt I do anything. We’ll see. Right now I’m entered for Black Canyon 100k. If I recover really well from Worlds in the 100k, I’d like to get out and experience the desert. I think it would be beautiful to go to Arizona and race in a new area and a new climate.
iRunFar: Cool. Congratulations on your run this weekend. Best of luck.
Reagan: Thanks. I appreciate it.
iRunFar: Bonus question: I take it you like beer.
Reagan: How many beers have we shared together?
iRunFar: What’s been your favorite while you’ve been here in Sweden?
Reagan: Oooooh, Zeitgeist.
iRunFar: Brew Dog?
Reagan: Brew Dog, yeah.
iRunFar: What do you like about it?
Reagan: Very smooth finishing black porter. I enjoy that one.