Tim Freriks will turn his talents to the shorter, faster Pikes Peak Marathon this weekend. In the following interview, Tim talks about when he last raced this short, what’s caused some recent running difficulties, and what he thinks he’s capable of on Sunday.
For more on who’s running the race, check out our men’s and women’s previews, and, then, follow along with our live race coverage on Sunday!
Tim Freriks Pre-2019 Pikes Peak Marathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Bryon Powell of iRunFar here with Tim Freriks before the 2019 Pikes Peak Marathon. How are you, Tim?
Tim Freriks: Doing great, Bryon. Thanks for having me.
iRunFar: It’s good to have you out here. Safe travels? Easy?
Freriks: Yeah, not to bad of travel from Flagstaff. It was about ten hours split up over a couple days: a morning and an evening. I’m happy to be here; feeling rested and recovered. Yeah, I’m excited.
iRunFar: When was the last time you focused or trained for a race this short?
Freriks: It’s been a while. I was thinking back to 2016, when Cody Reed and I did the Headlands 50k. It was the USATF trail 50k championship at the time. That was a bit more of a focus, but – running timewise – a three-and-a-half hour race, it’s been a while. Maybe… because even the Headlands was around four hours. So this might be the first time ever. I’m excited to mix it up in a little shorter distance.
iRunFar: Was it refreshing to change up that training after a couple years?
Freriks: Yeah, for sure. Ultimately, I want to get toward the bigger stuff – the longer races. I think I have the potential to do well at those races, but after Lavaredo Ultra Trail, where I dropped out with an injury, I wanted to take a step back. See if I could focus on some of the stuff I have had success at and try and focus on that. So, yeah, I’m doing Pikes Peak and I’m excited to turn it over and do stuff a little quicker.
iRunFar: Did you modify your training for that?
Freriks: Yeah, yeah. I’ve done a little bit of shorter, faster interval stuff. Realistically, a lot of it’s been similar to what I’ve done before for longer stuff, but maybe a little less vert than I was doing for Lavaredo. A little more focus on turnover and workouts, that kind of thing.
iRunFar: I mean, you’ll be running pretty much the whole race.
Freriks: Yeah… hopefully not hiking…
iRunFar: Hopefully it’s not a race that you’re hiking [laughs]. I mean, at some point at Lavaredo, no matter how strong you are, you’re hiking.
Freriks: Exactly. It’s like the best guys at races in the Ultra Trail World Tour – with the exception of the runnable stuff over here – but these European races, it’s like, no matter how good you are, these guys are hiking at some point. At Transvulcania a couple years ago, I ran through that whole race. I think I’ve had success at races that are definitely running races. Yeah, I’m trying to throw it back to that stuff.
iRunFar: And that stuff includes this race.
Freriks: Yeah, for sure.
iRunFar: As challenging as that is, it is runnable for you. Is there any coincidence – last year you ran Western States as your first 100-miler. You finished, but in a hard way. It was not a good day for you. It’s looked like a rough year for you since then, running-wise, performance-wise. Can you take us on the inside of that?
Freriks: Definitely. I don’t think that’s any secret. The results just haven’t been there for me the last 12 months or so. I’ve kind of just been dealing with one little thing after the other. I ended last year with some plantar fasciitis issues and then just had a freak ankle roll in the Grand Canyon around January or February of this year, which pulled me out of Tarawera. I’ve just been kind of nursing that; it’s taken quite some time. It just kind of felt like one thing after the other. I’ve been able to train, but it feels like training with the brakes on, kind of like trying to get things going again.
But, yeah, I feel like I’ve finally been able to get some momentum again the last few weeks and I’m excited to race here. But, yeah, the ankle issue pulled me out of Lavaredo. I didn’t think it was a big issue at the time when it happened in the Grand Canyon. I was actually able to kind of hobble my way out that day, but it kind of ballooned up over the last few weeks. I’ve kind of been nursing it ever since.
iRunFar: For a while, then.
Freriks: Yeah. I mean, I was in the San Juans with Jim Walmsley and François D’haene recently. All of us training together in this group had some kind of ankle issue and had been dealing with it for months. It sounds like it’s the consensus that a bad ankle sprain… the PT that I’m seeing said it’s some kind of tear. I didn’t get an MRI or any sort of imaging done, but it just takes a little while to recover from.
iRunFar: It’s not like you need to do a lifestyle change…
Freriks: No, and that’s kind of been running for me in the past, too. I go through these ebbs and flows with injury and energy levels.
iRunFar: But you’re back on the upswing?
Freriks: Yeah, I’m hoping so. I’m hoping this weekend will be a step in the right direction.
iRunFar: Now, you live in Flagstaff. I’ve got to think that’s a big advantage for a race like this.
Freriks: I would hope so. Coming from altitude, Flag’s at 7,000 feet and I think we’re just under that here. Yeah, you would think so for sure. But with Kilian Jornet running, a guy like that who lives lower down and is still running so well… I mean, regardless, guys living at sea level can come and be successful, too. Just being ready for anyone to be up at the front, like Kilian.
iRunFar: That guy. What do you think you’re capable of here this weekend?
Freriks: Gosh, you know, I’ve kind of been – with Kilian running – it sounds like, for the most part, he’s going to go afterMatt Carpenter’s record. I’ve just been trying not to get too wrapped up in splits and times and that sort of thing. Just trying to get in there and race guys, because this race is going to be so competitive. I think all of my best races that I’ve had have always been focusing on competing and trying to mix it up with the guys in the front. I think that’ll be my strategy here.
Capability-wise, though? Gosh, I don’t know. Carpenter’s record, from what I’ve heard and from looking at the course – I haven’t been on the course yet – but from what I’ve read and the splits I’ve seen, it just looks like it’s insane. If Kilian starts hitting those splits, it’ll be really interesting to see if he can get it. Yeah, as far as time and capability, I’m really not sure. We’ll see.
iRunFar: All right.
Freriks: I mean, under 3:30 would be awesome.
iRunFar: Nice! Well, best of luck out there and have fun.
Freriks: Thanks, Bryon! I appreciate it.