Interview with Jonathan Wyatt – goals for 2009
I spoke with Jonathan after he won the LGT Marathon in Vaduz, Liechtenstein on 6 June. He won in a time of 3hr 01min 00sec. The mountain marathon consisted of 1800 metres of uphill, and 600 metres of down hill. He said it was tough one, he won this race last year but his time was not as fast as last year. The weather conditions were horrendous: it was raining almost the whole time; it was about three or four degrees at the finish area; and it was wet, cold and close to snowing.
Jonathan Wyatt at Kramsach, Austria. “A very steep race, 6 km in more than 1200 metres of uphill running. It was so slippery and steep that you felt like you were going forward two steps and back one.
Which have been your standout races recently?
The LGT Marathon was the first long test that I have done - the other races I have done have been quite short, warming up events. This year I will do some of the longer marathon races, and that was the first one of a series of three Switzerland based races that join together for an overall marathon title. I also plan to do the other two,
I guess the current goal is the World Mountain Running Champs?
To be quite honest I haven’t quite decided on that. I have made my self semi-available for selection. I had a talk with the selectors and said I would be happy to be selected, as long as I wasn’t holding anyone else out of the team. They said there wouldn’t be a sixth person in the team so they put me in. So it’s given me a bit more time to decide if I want to do this year’s worlds because it’s an up and down race, and typically I don’t race the up and down races at the world championships.
Tell me about the upcoming races that you have lined up?
I’m always looking at doing new races. I’m quite keen to do some longer events this year. There are so many mountain races in Europe that I can really just pick and choose, and I have decided to look at the mountain marathon events as my main goals this year. There is also the World Long Distance Championships in Austria in October, and that’s the marathon distance - that’s one of my main goals.
What’s the weekly distance or time spent training at the moment?
Not as much as I would like as I’m quite busy. Probably about 130 to 140 kilometres, but I do want to bump that up over the next few weeks to get a bit more mileage in for the longer races. The plan is to build up to 150km to 160km.
What’s the training schedule like and how will it fit in with the upcoming races?
I pick and choose the races, I won’t go 100 percent in all the races, some of them I will train through as hard work outs. Because I mostly race uphill ones, they don’t really knock you around too much so you recover very quickly from an uphill race.
I do two specific hill workouts during the week, one would be a longer consistent tempo climb – it could be 30 to 40 minutes of consistently running uphill, so that run could even be up to a couple of hours. Another session is repetition hill work, three minutes uphill, two minutes recovery, repeated.
Who do you consider your opposition as far as the worlds are concerned?
The Italians are always very strong. The main athlete over the last ten years that I have raced alot is Italian, Marco De Gaspari. He typically wins the world event on the up and down year, and I typically win it on the uphill year. I think he’s up to about five world titles, and I have six. Between the two of us in the last 11 years we’ve won almost every world trophy except for one.
How do you rate your chances at winning the next World Mountain Running Championships?
I don’t want to do it to come second, if I’m going to do it I’m going to give 100 percent - that makes the decision even more important, because I would be disappointed to go up and run for a top ten position. If I am going to run it I will be running for a medal and to try and win. That’s what I have done the two times that I have won the up and down race - I have put myself in the best position both times to win it.
I have a race in Switzerland just across the border from where the world champs will take place in Italy, so I will have a look at the course and that will be a major factor for me. If I see that the course is going to suit my style of running then that will certainly help my decision.
I hear that you got married recently?
We came back to NZ in April and got married at the beginning of the month. Three weeks later we got married again in Italy. We decide to do it in both places, so that all the families were involved. It worked out really well and we had a lot of fun.
What about work?
Not alot but I am actually working alot with one of my sponsors - Solomon. I’m involved with them online, with events as well as doing some design work and testing for them – that keeps me busy when I’m not training and racing.
Do you have any advice for other athletes wanting to base themselves in Europe and race off-road and mountain races?
Coming out to Europe and staying a long time means that I have found a few really interesting places to run and train, because I always enjoy running off road. Some of the areas that we have here in the mountains are just fabulous and I certainly encourage anyone thinking of travelling over and wanting to base themselves around Europe to get out and do it.
About three or four of the New Zealand Mountain Running Team have contacted me and are keen to come over and base themselves and do a couple of mountain races in Europe and learn what it’s all about.
For some of Jonathan’s work with Salomon see: http://www.salomonrunning.com/os/insiders.aspx
Jonathan’s web site: