Sabrina Stanley has spent the past month and a half on Madeira preparing for her debut at the Madeira Island Ultra-Trail. In the following interview, Sabrina shares what she’s learned about the course and what she’s learned about the island during her extended stay.
Sabrina Stanley Pre-2021 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Sabrina Stanley before the 2021 Madeira Island Ultra-Trail. How are you, Sabrina?
Sabrina Stanley: I’m great. Yeah, happy to be here.
iRunFar: You’ve been here on Madeira for two months now almost.
Stanley: Yeah, October third we landed.
iRunFar: So how’s your time been here?
Stanley: So it’s been a lot of work. It’s been amazing, obviously, but we’ve just been running the course on repeat as many times as we could.
iRunFar: Have you found any particular stretches that you really enjoy?
Stanley: I mean, it’s all pretty awesome. So the beginning is all like really steep and a lot of stairs and, like very jungley and then like you transition to steep and stairs but no jungle, and then you transition into runnable and so, and ocean views. So it’s like each set, each third of the race I’d say is very different. So they’re all, they’re all great in their own way.
iRunFar: Are there any, any that are going to be particularly challenging, do you think?
Stanley: Yeah, I think the first two thirds of the race is definitely going to be most challenging. I almost wished the race was run in reverse. [laughs] So it’s going to be really interesting to see, you know, the outcome if you had to save your legs for the few climbs on the back half, but those are on the front half so it’ll be good.
iRunFar: Yeah. Get those out of the way.
iRunFar: I mean there’s the separate challenge of having to have some legs to run at the end.
Stanley: Yeah, yeah. No, I’ve been looking at other splits. And you definitely, like it’s so runnable that you should be, you should be cranking the last marathon for sure.
iRunFar: Yeah. So having spent so much time here, what have you enjoyed on the island, aside from the course?
Stanley: Yeah. We’ve like kind of kept to ourselves a little bit. So we have gone to a few different restaurants. I don’t know if this is what they’re known for but every restaurant we’ve been to has made incredible steak.
iRunFar: Incredible steak?
Stanley: I love steak and the steak here is amazing. Yeah, Avery [Collins] enjoys the coffee. That’s not really my, my thing but yeah, we’ve just been kind of enjoying the island in its whole.
iRunFar: Yeah, and you’re staying in Seixal, a smaller town on the north coast.
iRunFar: A garden and vegetables and fruits just out your door.
Stanley: Yes. Our, we’ll call him our landlords, because we’ve been with them for two months. They have been like every week or sometimes every day they’ll put out a new vegetable or fruit on our patio table and just like want us to try it. Or like the first week we were here they brought out I think it was moonshine. [laughs] Wanted us to party with them. We were like, we’re good on one shot. We’ll take a polite taste and be done. So yeah, our landlords have been quite awesome.
iRunFar: Nice. Did you get any fruit that like you just couldn’t recognize what they were?
Stanley: Yeah, we were eating guava and I didn’t know what it was. At first I thought it was passionfruit.
Stanley: And they had to tell us it was guava. Then there’s some other green vegetable that they’ve been…she says it’s like a potato. It looks like an artichoke. I still don’t know the name of it. Then they gave us these like red pepper things that are also, it’s almost like a fruit. It’s not a pepper. So I’m, we’re not sure what that is either. So yeah, a lot of new things.
iRunFar: Trying new things.
iRunFar: So you had an amazing race at Hardrock  and then took some down time.
iRunFar: Were supposed to run, or thinking about running UTMB. In the end, you didn’t.
iRunFar: What happened there?
Stanley: I mean, I was signed up for Hardrock and UTMB at the time, with COVID-19 we didn’t know which one was actually going to happen. I was kind of, had my name down for both. Didn’t want to put all my eggs in one basket, and just, Hardrock happened to happen first. And so like I was going to go for it and I did and then I just didn’t feel recovered enough. I didn’t feel like I’d perform at UTMB the way I expect myself to and so I just took it off the table for myself. I didn’t want to do a race I wasn’t proud of.
iRunFar: Yeah. And so just kept that, some matches you didn’t light yet. And now you’re here at Madeira. You’re ready to race.
Stanley: Yeah, so when I took UTMB off the table, I wanted another kind of gnarly, 100-ish-mile distance. And Madeira fit the bill. I know it’s not a hundred but it’s 72, 73 miles and it’ll be good enough. Not good enough, it’ll be great. So yeah, I’m ready to race again.
iRunFar: And this is the end of your season.
Stanley: Yes. [laughs] This is the end of my season. I’m very excited to get back home and enjoy Thanksgiving with the family and take a little downtime during Christmas. Then get back after it in January.
iRunFar: Right on. Best of luck and have fun out there.
Stanley: Thank you, Bryon.
iRunFar: Thank you.