Tuesday, June 15, 2010

WS100 Interview: Jeff Genova

Name: Jeff Genova
Age: 42
Hometown: Bentonville, AR (Current) Ann Arbor, MI (Original)
Years Running Ultras: 5
100 Mile Finishes: (3) Heartland 100, McNaughton Park 100, Rocky Racoon
Ultra-Achievements: 5th overall 2nd Master at the Ouchita Trail 50 last year, Finishing McNaughton Parks with my little buddy Sherpa John getting him his first 100 mile finish.

SJ: Jeff, I really want to thank you for taking the time to have this discussion about your upcoming run at the Western States 100.
JG: No problem. Anything for you Sherpa.

SJ: So Jeff, in 2009 you were pulled from the Western States course late in the race, can you tell us a little bit about what happened?
JG: Well that is a long story. It all started when my flight got cancelled on the way to the race, I should have seen it coming. The first thirty miles of the race I wore the wrong shoes for the hills, too much grip, and this caused black toenails and blisters. The foot problems then caused me to travel slower on the course and have to stop at the aid stations for extra assistance from the medical staff. I then started chasing the clock to beat the cutoffs and that caused me to stop eating and drinking any sports drink at the aid stations. All of this caused me to start throwing up everything I put into my body from Foresthill aid station to the end, approximately 11 hours. So my body decided it had enough punishment around mile 99.1 and I told my pacer (I don't remember saying it but he does) that I needed to sit down. I did and rolled over in a driveway and that was the end of my Western States 2009, 3/4 of a mile short of the finish, passed out in a driveway.

SJ: With that being said Jeff, 2010 is your shot at redemption. How do you feel about that heading into this years event?
JG: I feel very good about my training and my crew it set to help me get to the finish strong.

SJ: What is it that you plan to do differently in this years event to help you avoid the issues you experienced in 2009?
JG: Well first of all I have the right shoes for the job, two pairs of Brooks Cascadias, and I plan on fueling better along the way.

SJ: You've finished a few other 100 Milers over the years, running your first in 2006 (Heartland). How does Western States compare to the other 100s that you've run?
JG: HOT! The race is very hot and hard to really prepare for with most of us coming out of winter right before the race. There are a lot of long downhills that are hard to comprehend until you get to run them.

SJ: Lets talk about Western States, it is undeniably the Boston Marathon of Ultra-Running and you've been to both Boston and Western States.. how do those two events compare?
JG: Boston is like going to a Convention for runners and WS is like a big family reunion. Everyone is so friendly and you get to see all of those people that you talk to through-out the year and hear about all of there accomplishments. It is a great time and there is really no comparison of the two.

SJ: What would you consider to be the toughest section of the Western States course and what about Western States (as a whole) makes it tough?
JG: The long downhills and Duncan Canyon because it is so exposed to the sun and the heat.

SJ: If you could give any of those first time Western States runners any advice heading into this years race, what would it be?
JG: Pace yourself and run your race don't get caught up in the clock and chasing the buckle. Run to finish first then if the race is going well and as you planned then and only then run for the silver buckle.

SJ: Are you bringing a crew with you to this years race and if yes, who are they?
JG: Yes I am bringing a crew with me. Ultra runners from Arkansas Ryan Holler and Tom Lane.

SJ: Pacer?
JG: Yes, Tom Fassbender.
SJ: What are your goals for this years race? Do you have a time goal?
JG: First and foremost is to finish the race! Then I would like to finish the race in around 26 hours so that I do not have to deal with the heat on Sunday morning.

SJ: Jeff, before you were an ultra-runner you raced in Iron-Man events. Do the two sports compare and if not.. which do you think is tougher?
JG: Ultras because the time it takes to complete an ultra is twice as long as it takes to complete an Ironman.

SJ: With that in mind Jeff and looking ahead beyond Western States... where do your athletic aspirations take you? What races would you like to do next?
JG: I have not even thought past WS. I just want to get that race behind me, then I will be able to focus on future endeavors.

SJ: Jeff, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us about your past and future Western States experiences. Good luck to you this year as you get your shot at redemption. I want to point out to folks that they can follow your progress LIVE during the race by visiting the WS100 Website. http://www.ws100.com Your bib # for the 2010 race is 314. Good Luck Jeff and we'll see you in Auburn at the finish line!