Two days after winning the associated Vertical Kilometer race with apparent ease, Norway’s Stian Angermund-Vik won the 2017 Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon, making it a weekend winning sweep. In the following interview, Stian talks about how winning was like a dream for him, how the front of the men’s race strategically played out, his training program ahead of Zegama, and where else he will race in 2017.
For more on this year’s Zegama, read our results article.
Stian Angermund-Vik, 2017 Zegama-Aizkorri Marathon Champion, Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Stian Angermund-Vik after his win at the 2017 Zegama Marathon. Congratulations!
Stian Angermund-Vik: Thanks. This is a dream come true for me.
iRunFar: Is it beyond a dream? Not only did you win Zegama, but you’ve broken the course record by three-and-a-half minutes.
Angermund-Vik: But the conditions this year were, I heard it was very dry compared to the other years, so I’m not sure this race was better than Kilian Jornet’s record, but when the conditions are so good like this, it makes it easier to run faster.
iRunFar: There were a lot of fast times. You and Marco De Gasperi and two women broke broke the old course record as well. But you had to be pretty darn happy with your performance.
Angermund-Vik: Yes, I’m super happy with this. Now the legs aren’t too happy to walk.
iRunFar: Were there any parts of the race where you felt, This is my day! When did you start knowing that this was special?
Angermund-Vik: The atmosphere around the race, I noticed from the start, was special. There was something about Sanctu Spiritu. Of course there are other times, but especially there, there were so many people cheering. They’re crazy. That made me run super fast. I heard at Sanctu Spiritu I was three minutes behind.
iRunFar: Yeah, and in fifth position.
Angermund-Vik: Yeah, something like that. At Aizkorri, up on the ridge there, I was up in the lead. That was a really good part of the run for me. On top of Aizkorri where it was technical was super fun.
iRunFar: You enjoyed that?
Angermund-Vik: Yeah, it was the best part of the running.
iRunFar: Between your skill at climbing and the fans at Sanctu Spiritu, that climb was good?
iRunFar: How about that descent? Because there are so many strong runners in this race, and you’re in the lead, are you ever doubting that you’re going to hold on?
Angermund-Vik: Yeah, I’m not the strongest downhill runner. It started with the downhill after Aizkorri—they have the drinking station there. I was falling or collapsing into the table with all the glasses, so I was emptying all the glasses. The first runner…
iRunFar: Are you sure you weren’t sabotage?
Angermund-Vik: Maybe it was that. Then it was 5k flattish before the final climb. I was running, trying to run quite quick. Then after the final climb, it was 12k downhill. It was super painful. The legs were screaming for me to stop. I was so ready to just lay down.
iRunFar: You never slowed down.
Angermund-Vik: I didn’t try to, but I’m not sure how quick I did run. It was horrible running there. But I knew that Biel, the guy in Salomon, was going to meet me around 1k before the finish line—he was meeting the winner, so I was hoping to be the first one—and I was just waiting to meet him. Finally I met him, and then I knew it was just 1k left.
iRunFar: Just a few minutes.
Angermund-Vik: Yeah, and then with the last 200 or 300 meters, I was almost too tired to raise my hands. I just laid down at the finish line. I was so done.
iRunFar: Sometimes you see the winner of a race who has a spectacular day celebrating coming across the line. You were just kind of…
iRunFar: You gave it everything you had.
Angermund-Vik: Yeah, it was a hard race today for me.
iRunFar: That and you won the VK on Friday as well, so it was a big weekend.
Angermund-Vik: It was a great weekend. I did not expect to do this. The Zegama races have been the big race for me this spring. I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time, so now I’m ready to recover.
iRunFar: Maybe a little celebrating tonight?
Angermund-Vik: Of course, especially with the team and friends. It will be great.
iRunFar: With your training, you said you live in Bergen where there are short hills, but I also heard rumors that you train a very small number of hours. Is that true?
Angermund-Vik: A lot of hours—yeah, I’m running a lot. I’m running a lot because I enjoy so much to be in the mountains. I’m running a lot slowly because then I can spend more time in the mountains.
iRunFar: So it’s not all high-intensity training. What does a typical week of training look like for you, say, three weeks ago when you’re really focusing on Zegama?
Angermund-Vik: I can’t remember, but I do long runs every day and maybe two interval sessions per week and then uphill.
iRunFar: How long are your long runs in kilometers or hours?
Angermund-Vik: I don’t focus on kilometers because… I don’t know, from 1.5 to four hours or something in between?
iRunFar: Total for a week?
Angermund-Vik: Twenty to 25 hours.
iRunFar: You’re training a pretty large volume then.
Angermund-Vik: I’m not sure compared to the other ones because I’m focusing on what I can do. I love to be in the mountains so I’m spending a lot of hours there.
iRunFar: How do you balance that with the rest of your life? What is your professional life?
Angermund-Vik: I’m selling shoes and working in a shoe shop. I’m spending a lot of hours there, and I’m running, and I’m home with my wife and dog.
iRunFar: Where can we expect to see you later in the season?
Angermund-Vik: I’m going to do some local races at home now. I’m not sure I will be running quite fast now. I need to recover. The next race outside Norway is the Mont Blanc Marathon.
iRunFar: In June—you’ll do the 42k?
Angermund-Vik: Yes. I hope the legs will work okay then maybe. Then I will do the Red Bull K3.
iRunFar: Three thousand meters of climb.
Angermund-Vik: Yeah, I’ve never done something like that, so it could be interesting.
iRunFar: You seem to do pretty well in that climbing mode, and you have endurance as well.
Angermund-Vik: Yeah, but I’ve never done the super-steep VK. Run with poles—I’ve never done that. I’ve heard it’s good to use the poles in the middle section of the race, so I’m going to try poles for the first time. It could be interesting. Then I’m going to do the VK and the short Sky Race in Tromso. I really like the Vertical up there. It has scrambling. It’s fantastic. It’s the coolest VK. Then I’m going to Scotland for Glencoe for the Sky Race and the VK. A friend of mine, Jonathon Albon, is going to do the Skyline.
iRunFar: Yeah, I didn’t realize you two do train together some.
Angermund-Vik: Yeah, we are living in the same city, and we are from the same running club. Some from our running club are going over there.
iRunFar: Once a month or once a week or how often do you think you guys train together?
Angermund-Vik: It depends. Sometimes it’s several times per week, and sometimes it’s once per month. Jon is a nice guy, so it’s cool to run with him.
iRunFar: It was the first time I’ve seen him race. It was good to see him finish 11th. It was a strong race.
Angermund-Vik: Yeah, but he did an eight-hour obstacle race two weeks ago, so it’s quite impressive that he could even finish here.
iRunFar: Well, let’s finish here. Congratulations on a great race here, Stian. I hope to see you again soon.