Yngvild Kaspersen shows she’s returned to form with her second-place finish at the Pikes Peak Marathon. In the following interview, Yngvild talks about how the race played out from her perspective including how she felt comfortable running at high altitude but was a bit challenged by the runnable terrain, how she’s planning a vacation in France next, and what races she’s focusing on for her fall season.
For more on how the race shaped up and for more interviews, check out our results article.
Yngvild Kaspersen Post-2019 Pikes Peak Marathon Interview Transcript
iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar. I’m with Yngvild Kaspersen, the second-place finisher of the 2019 Pikes Peak Marathon. How does that sound?
Yngvild Kaspersen: Oh, it sounds amazing [laughs].
iRunFar: So, we’re back here in downtown Manitou Springs. You started here this morning, went to the top of the mountain, and came back again. Is it a little surreal?
Kaspersen: Yeah, I was a bit worried about this race because it looks so hard. I was expecting a really hard day, but today I felt good. I was just focusing on my own race, focusing on having a good uphill and trying to have good legs for the downhill. So, yeah, I’m happy about the race today.
iRunFar: I think this is a really unique race. It’s sort of your standard “Go up a mountain and come back down.” But everything is just stretched out: 13 miles and 7,800 feet of climbing. That’s a lot of climbing.
Kaspersen: Yes, but the course is quite runnable, except that it’s at altitude. Coming up to the summit, it was harder to keep the pace up, but the course is quite runnable.
iRunFar: The course itself has a couple different sections. There’s the “W” at the bottom. How does that go? What were those beginning miles of the race like for you?
Kaspersen: I was just starting at a pace that I felt was right for me today. I didn’t want to push too hard because I wanted my legs to be good all the way up and to have some power in the downhill. So, I was just finding my rhythm and trying to run the whole way up.
iRunFar: Then there’s a flatter bit in there, and a stretch where you lose a little bit of altitude and you often have to run that really fast.
Kaspersen: Yeah, I thought it was nice to just loosen up the legs a bit, change the rhythm. I liked that part. It was a bit harder to go back to going uphill again, but going up to the mountain it’s nice to change a bit.
iRunFar: You leave the tree line around 12,000 feet and then it’s 2,000 feet or 600 meters or something where you’re above the trees, just in the rocks. Like you said, it’s very high altitude, 4,300 meters at the top. I was at the summit and, to me, you looked among the best women up there. How were you feeling at 4,300 meters while trying to run?
Kaspersen: Surprisingly good. I expected it to be worse, but I have also been in Colorado for two weeks now, living at altitude. Maybe that’s helped me a lot today, because I was coming from sea level. I felt like I needed to acclimatize here for the race, but it was better than I expected.
iRunFar: That’s fantastic. So, then comes the very, very long downhill. A half-marathon. How was that?
Kaspersen: I was just happy to get to the top, mainly because, you know, you’re halfway and you’re done all the climb. You just have the downhill left. So, I was feeling good on the downhill. The last part was hard because it was very hot. The legs started to be tired on a long downhill, especially the last part on the road was hard.
iRunFar: It’s a very steep road, too.
Kaspersen: Yeah, and your legs are already beaten up. But you know you’re finishing soon and you just keep up the pace.
iRunFar: Some people talked about feeling some cramps in the last switchbacks and the last road because of the heat coming off. Did you have any problems?
Kaspersen: Not this time. At Zegama, I had cramps at 17k, so I was a bit worried to have cramps at this race, as well. It makes it so hard to run normally when you get the cramps, but today was fine.
iRunFar: You are getting on a plane tomorrow morning and you will find your way to Chamonix where you will spectate the UTMB events this week.
Kaspersen: Yeah, I have a lot of teammates doing different races there. I will be there supporting them, crewing, and just hanging out with the team. I’m really excited about that.
iRunFar: And what’s next for your racing, once you recover?
Kaspersen: Now I will go to Glen Coefor Ring of Steall. I will also go to Sky Pirineu and Gorbeia Suzien.
iRunFar: Which one is that?
Kaspersen: It’s a race in Spain, so I will be in Spain for two weeks at the end of September.
iRunFar: And [Annapurna Trail Marathon] in the fall for this race?
Kaspersen: I hope so, but the level [of competition] is really high so I need to do a good race in the Ring of Steall, so I don’t want to have my expectations too high. I’m just looking forward to the next race and I will see how it goes.
iRunFar: If it happens, it happens.
iRunFar: Well, congratulations to you. Well done on your journey to the top of Pikes Peak and back.
Kaspersen: Thank you.