Reporting from the 2009 IAU World 24hr

Posted on May 15, 2009 by

Submitted by Tony Mangan.

More to follow

Interview with Team USA

Team USA has steadily progressed as a team through the standings in the 24hr IAU World Challenges. At the 7th edition, USA had its best placing in the event finishing second in the women’s division.

I had the opportunity to interview the team members and their Team Manager, Roy Pirrung.

The team comprised of Jamie Donaldson, Carilyn Johnson, Annette Bednsoky, Debra Horn and Jen Van Allen. They completed a total 636.159km*.

* Team total comprises of top 3 finishers for the team

Roy Pirrung’s thoughts…

NK: What do you feel about Team USA’s performance today?

Roy Pirrung (RP): I think it is great. I think we had a solid team coming in. It was touch and go for a while but our performance was very solid. We know they have endurance and it was a matter of hanging tough under difficult conditions and finishing strong and that’s what they did.

NK: What is Team USA up to next?

RP: Team USA is going for gold next!

Jamie Donaldson’s thoughts…

  1. NK: You have moved a spot up from last year. Any predictions for 2010?

Jamie Donaldson (JD): I am very happy with my placement this year in Italy.  I am actually very surprised.  I didn’t run for month and a half from the middle of March through most of April because of a foot injury.  I feel like if I can go in to the competition 100% healthy and confident, I would be willing to push it more to see what I could really do.  Regardless of placement, I feel truly honored to be running for my country!

NK: Now I was told that that this was a training run for Badwater. Is this correct?

JD: I think this is way harder than Badwater. It was a training run but it was definitely more difficult. In Badwater you are done when you complete your distance but over here you are not done until 24 hours.

NK: How does running races as an individual as opposed to in a team differ?

JD: I really love running for a team.  It really means a lot more when you are working for your teammates and your country.  I would never want to let them down, so it is very motivating!

Carilyn Johnson’s thoughts…

NK: How was your race today and did you get your 130 Miles that you were aiming for when we spoke pre-race?

Carilyn Johnson: I did not get 130 Miles. It was a good race. I enjoyed the experience. I thought it was hard during the day and once it cooled down, I thought it was great.

NK: What does one go through a 24 hr period?

CJ: I think everyone experiences a 24 hour race differently.  That is what makes them so much fun – you really never know what is going to happen!  For me, my most successful races are those where I stay relaxed and enjoy the running.

NK: Will you be back, if selected again?

CJ: I love our team!  It is a great group of people.  I will go back as long as they will have me!

Debra Horn’s thoughts…

NK: How was the race for you?

Debra Horn (DH): I was able to get a PR so I was happy overall with the race.  As the day wore on, the heat was a bit of a challenge since I have not had too much opportunity to train in hot weather in Ohio this year.  Also the slight ups and downs did break up the race but became more like mountains once night set in.

NK: It’s your 3rd year on the team. Does it get better (and more competitive) by the year?

DH: Yes, each year the host country has taken the event to the next level.  Italy really outdid itself this year with its very colorful opening and closing ceremonies and being at fantastic and enthusiastic  host.  Each year, there have also been more women competing and more countries sending women’s teams.  The more competition, the better the race.

NK: What is one thing that attracts you to this international event?

DH:  It is an honor to represent the US in an international event and to compete again the best runners in the world.

Annette Bednosky’s thoughts…

NK: First time on the team, how does it feel?

Annette Bednosky: I am so incredibly proud and so privilege to be part of this group of people.

NK: What can you say abou the orgnization of the race?

AB: The race was fabulously orchestrated and run. Volunteers, even though we sometimes had trouble communicating were ALWAYs encouraging and helpful. Pre race info was very helpful. It seemed like the entire city of Bergamo was excited about us being there! I like the course alot. Much diversity over the distance: asphalt, sidewalk, cobblestone, carpet covered wood-kept things interesting! I appreciated the English translations at the organized ceremonies! Our crew dealt with some frustrations about space, unknows about food/ice/water…yet I don’t think any of those concerns ultimatly impacted our teams abilities to perform.

Jen Van Allen’s thoughts…

NK: Jen, you had a smile on your face every time you came around the course. Is that bigger or smaller than having that silver medal hanging around your neck?

Jen Van Allen: It is hard to relate. It was just incredible to be on the podium. It was a privilege to be part of the team, to race with them and to see them in action. It totally changes your idea on what can be achieved. It is a great inspiration and a real honour.

NK: Is this your favourite distance?

JvA: My favorite distance? I’m not sure. This was only the fourth 24-hour run I’ve done, but I do like the format. It allows you to try different fuel, pacing, and mental strategies, without having to worry about getting lost in the wilderness or contending with really gnarly terrain. It feels like a very pure way to test your endurance.  The format helped me discover that 100 miles or more were completely doable, and actually, quite enjoyable. It’s amazing what your body is capable of after it’s already run 80 or 90 miles at a time. Running 100s isn’t easy by any means, but it’s definitely not impossible, and it’s a lot more doable than people think. And the people you get to meet at these events are incredible. This type of running demands a huge amount of humility, hunger, determination, and sense of humor, so you always finish feeling enriched in some way by an encounter or conversation you’ve had with another runner.

Nadeem Khan

Director of Communications

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