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August 22, 2016 Comments (0) All Posts, Athlete Stories

Jasmin Paris: Why It’s All Smiles On Mountains & Trails

Jasmin Paris all smile inov-8 blog
Jasmin touches the final of 42 summit cairns on her way to setting a new women's record time for the Bob Graham Round.

Jasmin Paris runs with a smile on her face. Always. Even when competing in the toughest of trail / fell / mountain / ultra races, she beams from ear to ear. But what lies behind the smile? We talk to Jasmin about her recent experience in winning the Tromso Skyrace, her preparations for this year’s UTMB and how it feels to run on her favourite types of terrain… all of which make her smile. Just don’t ask about lost luggage…

Read: Jasmin Paris becomes first woman to win Spine Race & smashes course record

1. How would you describe your Tromso Skyrace experience?

I loved the race! It was wild, rough, technical, and very beautiful. In many ways it was also very similar to Scotland, which is probably why the British fell runners did so well. The terrain, weather, and lack of significant altitude (compared with the Alps for example), all felt like home.

2. Did you expect to win given you went into it on the back of a heavy race schedule?

I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I knew the course would suit me, given the level of technical difficulty, but I hadn’t really studied my competition. I knew from the first climb that my legs hadn’t recovered from the Buff Epic Trail Skyrunning World Championships (105km, or 108km if you go by my GPS) two weeks before, so I just took it easy at the start, and moved forward through the field in the second half of the race.

3. It didn’t all go smoothly though did it, tell us about ‘lost’ luggage?

We (Konrad and I) flew into Tromso the afternoon before the race, but owing to a rather rushed connection in Oslo, our bags didn’t make it. Stupidly, we had packed nothing in hand luggage except a book to read on the journey. So we spent a few hours frantically assembling a kit composed of everyone’s spares. Luckily our bags arrived on the last flight, so I was able to race in my trusty Mudclaw running shoes after all.

Like being a child again, but the playground is on a grander scale

4. Tromso was the first race in the new extreme skyrunning series. What is it that you really like about extreme skyrunning races and how do they compare to fell/hill races in the UK?

I love technical running, especially the rockier stuff. When I’m scrambling along an exposed ridge I’m having so much fun that I forget I’m tired. It’s like being a child again, but the playground is on a grander scale, with much better views. Whilst fell/hill races in the UK are generally less rocky and exposed, they frequently involve steep ground and rough terrain, both of which feature heavily in the extreme skyrunning races.

5. Once again, the photos show you racing with a big smile. Tell us about what’s behind the smile… what is it that makes you so happy and want to smile when you’re racing?

The mountains, the freedom of running, and the challenge of technical terrain.

Jasmin Paris @JasminKParis rocked the rocks winning #skyrunning #extreme #tromsoskyrace @inov_8

A photo posted by (@iancorlessphotography) on

6. You’ve had a superb 2016 to date and have certainly packed a lot in. You have big races / challenges coming up too. How is your body coping with the demands and are you worried about a potential burn-out?

Yes, I currently feel I go from one recovery period straight into a taper! I probably don’t worry as much as I should about burn-out, but I am prepared to take a step back if it happens. At least my PhD would benefit! 😉

7. Next up for you is a UTMB debut. What are your expectations and hopes ahead of the world’s most famous trail running race?

My only expectations for the UTMB are to try and make it to the finish line in one piece. It will be significantly further (170km) than I’ve ever raced before (108km), and will be significantly less technical than the races I usually run. I plan to try and start steady, eat lots, and enjoy the atmosphere.

Planning your UTMB kit and running shoes in advance

8. What kit will you be using for UTMB and why?

I’ll be running in TrailTalon 275 or RaceUltra 290 (I’ll put the pair I am not wearing in my drop bag), and I’ll be carrying my kit in a RaceUltra 10 or RaceUltra 5 (depending on how efficiently I pack).

9. For those new to ultra running, what would be your top-3 tips for anyone preparing for their first ultra event?

Ha ha! If you intend to use poles, practice with them earlier than 10 days before the event (my first run with poles took place last week, and I concluded after two climbs that the uphills were easier, but that my arms were already tired). In all seriousness, three ultra running tips would be:

* Plan your kit and shoes well in advance, and practice running in them before the race.

* Do some hiking. I’m a firm believer that climbing up and down mountains with a rucksack is perfect endurance training for mountain ultra races. It’s hours on your feet without the same risk of injury.

* Don’t start too fast. It’s far better for morale and general race enjoyment to be the runner moving forward through the field in the second half of the race, than the one sliding back.

Jasmin Paris inov-8 smile trail running blog

Jasmin on her way to setting a new women’s record for the Bob Graham Round.

10. And of course we couldn’t let you go without mentioning the potential of a Paddy Buckley Round in Wales. You’ve already set records this year for the Bob Graham Round (15hrs 24mins) in England and Ramsay Round (16hrs 13mins) in Scotland… have you started making plans for a Paddy Buckley record attempt in 2016?

No change on the Paddy Buckley news front… I am still hoping to squeeze it in before the end of the season, but it will depend on how I feel after the UTMB and Glencoe Skyline, as well as the weather and daylight hours. I would like to try and get around, even if it isn’t super-fast, just to complete the three big rounds in one year.

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