Eugeni Gil (24), a top level trailrunner from Spain, will participate the NUTS Ylläs Pallas 30 km’s race.
First of all, thank you Eugeni for the chance to interview you and welcome to the NUTS Ylläs Pallas event!
Thank you for the invitation, I am very pleased to travel to Finland and I am really excited to discover the north and its people.
How did you get the idea to participate our event in Northern Europe, while you have mainly raced in the other areas of Europe and in the US?
I love discovering new places, I always wanted to travel to the north. Oslo is the most northern location I’ve been. I did a quick search about your race, and I falled immediately in love. The landscape, the forests… everything looks wild.
You have succeeded in tough races like Buff Epic Trail 42K and Matterhorn Ultratraks in 2017.
How did you find trail / mountain running and since how long have you done it?
I’ve been doing trail running for two years now. Until then, I did cross country and track and field. In my case I didn’t find trail running, it was a simple transformation into what I wanted to do. Everything happened during the summer of 2015. My training program was based on accumulating miles. Tired of repeating always the same loop I decided to go out on the trails and do something different. Quickly I noticed that was way more entertaining than always running on flat. Since that moment , my practices were always on the trails , and step by step I decided to change my sport into mountain running.
You used to train track and traditional xc running before you chose to be a trail runner, right?
Yes, I used to run track and xc. I started when I was 5 years old until almost now. 😉
Was it an easy choice to make?
It was an easy choice. Trails are always more “fun”. I don’t like to use the word fun because running is always a repetitive sport. However, all the variables such as uphills, downhills, rocks, ridges… make trail running a more interesting sport.
Are you a professional athlete nowadays or do you have some other work or profession too?
I am professional athlete since last year. I don’t earn too much but enough for living. I’ll be a professional athlete until the end of this year. After that, I don’t know what will happen.
You have grown up in the region of Catalonia. Did you like outdoor activities or sports in the mountains already as a kid?
I used to travel to the mountains with my family and do all kind of different activities. Nevertheless I never thought it could be a real sport until now.
You have told at your website that you chose to live by “doing what you like from the start and trying to make a living out of it”. Could you elaborate it a bit?
I like trail running, two years ago I decided to put all my focus into this sport and do it all the time, no matter what. It worked and currently I only do trail running for a living. Nevertheless, in two years or maybe in five I can get tired of what I do, and change completely my life. What that sentence means is to dedicate all your resources to one thing and try it all out.
Where are your “home trails” nowadays?
I live in a small village in France, next to the border with Spain. The mountain range is called the Pyrenees, and I have all kinds of different trails to practice everyday.
Are you also active in some other sport besides training on the trails?
I like any kind of mountain sports. Rock climbing, mountain biking are two of my favorites.
What is your favorite environment to run on trails from thick forests to high altitude mountains?
It depends on the day. If it’s a warm day I prefer high altitude mountains, if it’s cold or rainy the forest offers more protection. Although I don’t really care.
What is your favorite race distance?
I really like the marathon. It is a fast race, but at the same time long enough for strategy. It is also the event where I perform better. I can run shorter or longer but I am not as good.
What kind of expectations you have regarding to NUTS Ylläs Pallas 30km? Certainly you are one of the front runners or favorites while being a top level skyrunner.
That’s a hard question. When I go to a race I always expect to win. However, I am sure there will be a lot of good competitors ready to beat me. I’ve training hard and I should be in really good shape but my body is not responding correctly. Hopefully, I am ready for NUTS Yllas.
What is the most memorable race you have run and why?
There are couple of races I do remember. I would like to say last year Buff Epic Trail. It was a race in Catalonia, I knew the circuit perfectly, and I was ready to race. It was my first world series victory and everything went according to the plan.
What kind of goals or dreams you have considering to the trail running sports?
My goal is to keep enjoying this sport. Well, I think everybody who runs “seriously” dreams of winning the best races against the best runners. Zegama or UTMB are the first things that come to my mind. Nevertheless, my dream is to discover new places, run new races and win them if it’s possible.
How does your ongoing season look like after the NUTS Ylläs Pallas? Any big challenges waiting for you?
Looks interesting, I will follow the ISF world series, and run the OCC in UTMB. So many place to visit . 😉
Do you wish for making new friendships while visiting Finland or are you more likely to be on your own like a lonely rider?
It is always nice to meet new people, nevertheless I am a shy person too. I’ll be happy to talk to everyone who is interested.
Eugeni, we wish you the best luck to the race and we hope NUTS Ylläs Pallas will be one of those unforgettable and awesome events. See you in Lapland!