Stian Angermund: A discussion with the flying Norwegian!

Από 28 Ιουν 2021

The top of the first race of the Golden Trail Series 2021 in Olla De Nuria had a breeze from the North! The Norwegian Stian Angermund had an excellent performance and strategy during the race and managed to climb at the first position on the winner’s podium. A few days before the second race of the series in the historic Marathon du Mont Blanc we spoke with Stian about the race in Catalonia, his athletic career, his racing philosophy and what he likes about mountain running; we discussed his goals in this year's racing season and much more! Read the exclusive interview of the flying Norwegian of the Salomon team at Advendure!



[Advendure]: Stian, you started the Golden Trail Series 2021 with an impressive victory in Olla De Nuria. Tell us a few things about the race, your effort and the competition.
[Stian Angermund]: The Olla De Nuria was a fantastic start to the season for me. The course and atmosphere were amazing. I felt good from the beginning of the race. Remi pushed hard in the first uphill. I decided to let him go, to drink some Maurten drink mix and save my legs for the ridge. Early on the ridge, I caught up with Remi, and we ran together most of the ridge. I noticed that he was not as fast as me in the downhills. In a longer descent, I got a gap and started to push harder in the following uphill to increase the gap. Luckily for me, none managed to catch me before the finish line.



[Advendure]: Next race of the Golden Trail Series is Marathon Du Mont Blanc, a very different type of race than Olla de Nuria. Interesting that you finished 2nd in 2017, 3rd in 2018 and 4th inn 2019! Is it time for the first place at the podium?
[Stian Angermund]: Marathon du Mont Blanc is a more runnable race with almost no technical sections. I´m happy with my earlier performances in this race. I guess there will be high pace from the beginning. The first ten kilometers are almost flat. I guess the runners with strong road running skills will set the pace from the start. I hope to be able to run smart and catch them later in the race when we get some hills.


[Advendure]: You had only a few races in 2020, due to the pandemic. However, you started the racing season very strongly, with a first place in Catalonia. After all, did the pandemic period work well for you in terms of rest from competition and training?
[Stian Angermund]: 2020 was a special year for me. Very few races, but I found the love of my life. She is supporting me a lot. I'm happy and she helps me believe in myself. I have never trained as well as I have this year.



[Advendure]: Sports always have been a key part of your life? What draws you to running and especially to mountain running? Give us a brief description of your athletic career.
[Stian Angermund]: I have liked competing for many years. First with football when I was a kid, then I did biathlon from when I was 12 years old until 20. That is a super fun sport, but there is too much equipment and the need to prepare it for competitions. I did my first running race when I was 15. It was a short uphill race in Bergen, Norway. 300 vertical meters in 900 meters distance. It was fun. I have run that race around 15 times now. Around ten years ago, I started doing more uphill running races in Norway. In 2014 I ran my first races outside Norway. That was Grossglockner Berglauf in Austria and the Vertical Kilometer and skyrace at the Dolomites skyrace. In 2015 I got in touch with Salomon and have run with them sense.


[Advendure]: When you’re running races, your focus is of course on the clock, but what about the beauty of nature around and the feelings of the effort? Has an elite runner like you a different approach for our sport compared to the vast majority of average runners? What about all the side effects of mountain running growth (commercialization, intense competition, money prices etc…). Are we moving away from the pure roots of our sport as mountain running or it happens in a solid frame?
[Stian Angermund]: I like spending time in the mountains and running. The combinations of that are the best. When I run races, I don't look at the watch. I do look at nature, not much, because I want to run as fast as possible. On my training runs I spend much time looking at nature. I love that.



[Advendure]: It seems that there are two kinds of mountain runners. Those that push with all their power from the beginning, “going all-out” as we say, and others that start the race in a more conservative way and try to gain positions and time at the later stages of the race. Where do you belong? Tell us about your philosophy behind your way of racing. Is there really a right or wrong way to run races?
[Stian Angermund]: I normally run races progressively. Starting “slow” and run faster and faster. In Zegama 2017, I was three minutes behind the leader after ten kilometers. After 23-24 kilometers I was overtaking the lead. I use different tactics when I'm racing. It depends on the profile of the race and how I see myself compared to the other runners. Like now in Olla de Nuria, I let Remi go on the first uphill to have more energy on the ridge. There are many ways of running a race, but there is the runner with the fastest average pace that will win.


[Advendure]: You run several races around the world with great results. In USA most races are more runnable, but in Europe the hard technical terrain of the paths requires more than great physical condition. Also, several runners say that the “way of racing” of Europeans is different. Do you agree? Tell us about your experiences of racing in different continents.
[Stian Angermund]: Yes, the races are different from continents to continents, but also from country to county. I don’t have much experience, but I have done some races. The races I have done in France are not very technical. Races like Marathon du Mont Blanc, OCC and Grand Templiers, do not require a high level of technical terrain skills, but in Italy, they make many technical skyraces. The races I have done in Spain are in the middle of France and Italy when it comes to the technical level. I have only done one race in America. That was the Pikes Peak marathon. In that race, we were not allowed to cut, as we do in skyrunning. It was a challenge to remember that.



[Advendure]: Do you have a favorite distance when racing or it’s all the same for Stian? What about ultra-races?
[Stian Angermund]: I like that races are different from each other.  I think my favourite distance is from Vertical Kilometer up to a marathon. I like that the course is technical and not too warm. I have done some ultra. That is also fun, but when doing that, I can't run many races. At the moment I like to do shorter races and race more.


[Advendure]: Golden Trail Series or Skyrunner® World Series seems to be significant milestones for mountain running worldwide, supporting races and athletes and making the sport more visible, accessible and united. What is your opinion about such initiatives?
[Stian Angermund]: I think it's good that the best runners race together. I like that they have doping controls to make the sport clean.



[Advendure]: What was your worst and best experience so far from your races?
[Stian Angermund]: At Limones skyrace I have had some bad experiences. Like not eating enough between the vertical Kilometer and the skyrace and had to pay for it at the skyrace. The best experience is hard. There is so many. When I won the Vertical Kilometer and skyrace at the skyrunning world championship in in 2016. When I won the Vertical Kilometer and skyrace in Zegama in 2017. When I became 2nd after Kilian at Marathon du Mont Blanc in 2017. And when my sister finished her first marathon at the Otter Trail in 2018.


[Advendure]: Is there a dream race for you? A race that you “must” run in the future?
[Stian Angermund]: There are many races I would like to do. In Italy, they have plenty of skyraces I hope to run. Skyrhune in France I’ve heard is fun. Maybe Trofeo Kima and Glen Coe skyline. A friend of mine and I want to organize Bergen skyrace. Hopefully, that will happen soon.



[Advendure]: FKTs (Fastest Known Times) are a big trend nowadays. You have tried and set some impressive uphill / vertical FKTs during the last couple of years. Are you considering trying something like that more frequently in the future or you’re more of a racing guy?
[Stian Angermund]: FKT project is fun. Last year I ran an FKT at a trail in Bergen. Its called 7-fjellsturen. It goes over Bergen´s seven summits. I haven't planned anything for this year, but it might happen.


[Advendure]: Are you aware of any races in Greece? We will be very happy to see you racing here in the future, and believe me; we have some very beautiful, hard and inspirational mountain running races.
[Stian Angermund]: I have heard about the Olympus Marathon skyrace. That looks fun. Besides that, I don’t know much about the races in Greece.



[Advendure]: In addition to being an athlete, you also offer coaching services to others. Tell us a few things about this part of your life. Are you going to organize a training camp in 2021 as we read?
[Stian Angermund]: Yes, I started coaching half a year ago. It is fun. The athletes I’m coaching are interesting to talk with, and I’m always looking forward to the conversations with them. When it comes to training camp, I don't know if it will happen. I want to organize it, but I don't know if I will have time for it. We will see what will happen this autumn. Last year, my girlfriend and I organized a training camp for the youth skyrunners in Norway. That was fun and inspiring to see the new generations of mountain runners.


[Advendure]: Tell us a few things about your 2021 racing schedule.
[Stian Angermund]: I'm now in the Alps running the three first races of the Golden Trail World Series (Olla de Nuria, Marathon du Mont Blanc, Dolomyths run). After that, I'm travelling back to Norway. I hope to run Skaala up (that is a Norwegian uphill race), then I hope to run CCC (the 100k in UTMB). That will be my first 100k race. Then Ring of Steall and hopefully some skyraces and Vertical Kilometers in the Alps. Later in the autumn, the final of the Golden Trail series, if I qualify.


Dimitrios Troupis

Photos copyright: Matias Novo, Honzadropachech - sports and adventure photography, Miro Cerqueira - photography, John Ortiz photography, Last race studio, youre pics, Golden Trail Series


Δημήτρης Τρουπής

Κατάγεται από το Ξυλόκαστρο Κορινθίας και ζει μόνιμα στην Πάτρα. Συμμετείχε στην συντακτική ομάδα του Adventure Zone από το 2009, ενώ μαζί με τον Τάκη Τσογκαράκη ίδρυσαν και "τρέχουν" το Advendure.  Το τρέξιμο στα μονοπάτια των βουνών και η μεταφορά εικόνων και συναισθημάτων μέσα από τα άρθρα του αποτελεί αναπόσπαστο κομμάτι της ζωής του. Παθιάζεται με τους αγώνες ορεινού τρεξίματος, υπεραντοχής και  περιπέτειας. Έχει πολλές συμμετοχές και διακρίσεις σε αγώνες ορεινού τρεξίματος όλων των αποστάσεων, με έμφαση στους αγώνες ultra trail.  Θεωρεί ότι το τρέξιμο και η πεζοπορία στη φύση είναι μια εσωτερική ανάγκη του ανθρώπου, μας φέρνει πιο κοντά σε αυτήν και μας κάνει να αγαπήσουμε περισσότερο το περιβάλλον.