Whitney Dagg- Pre Routeburn Interview

They say it is harder returning as the defending champ- but as the Breakers just proved, it can be done.  This Saturday at the Routeburn Classic Whitney Dagg will be looking to defend the title she claimed this time a year ago and get rare back to back titles. We have been lucky enough to chat to Whitney about all kinds of stuff, OK, really its just about running-
Backcountry Runner - You are the returning Routeburn Classic Champ- how does that feel a week out and how has your build up been?
Whitney Dagg (WD) – Being the returning champ does make me feel a bit more nervous than I usually would for a race, however I am determined not to let it worry me too much and just focus on running to my full potential on the day. I’m also really excited to race the Routeburn track again as it is such an awesome track over some challenging terrain. Last year was my 1st time on the track, but this year I know exactly what to expect and when to push myself.
My build up has been pretty good. I have taken a more relaxed approach to training, as I haven’t had a structured program set out like I have had for previous events, but I have been focusing on my speed work up the hills. I raced the three peaks here in Dunedin on the 1st of April (26km mountain run) and took 6 mins off my PB, so I  figured I must be doing something right.
BCR- What have you been up to since last year’s impressive win at the Routeburn? What races have kept you busy over the last 12 months?
WD- Here’s a list of results and races I have been doing since the Routeburn last year….
 2nd Open Women – River Run Trail Series Race 3 – Wanaka (14km), May 2011
3rd Open Women – Mt Isobel Challenge Off Road Duathlon – Hanmer Springs (8km Run and 25km Mountain Bike), May 2011
1st Open Women Team – Peak to Peak – Queenstown (competed in run section), August 2011 
3rd Open Women – River Run Trail Series Race 1 – Wanaka (Off Road Half Marathon), October 2011
2nd Open Women – Frost Buster Duathlon (9km Run, 35km Road Cycle, 1.6km Run), October 2011
1st Open Women – Kaitangata Black Gold Trail – Off Road Half Marathon (21.1km), November 2011.
Completed the Kepler Challenge in December 2011, but had an injury so ended up hobbling the last 10km.
1st Open Women  – Big Easy Mountain Marathon, Wanaka, January 2012
1st Open Women – River Run Trail Series Race 2, Wanaka (13km), February 2012
3rd Open Women – Papatowai Challenge – Off Road Run (15.5km), February 2012
3rd Open Women - Mototapu XTERRA Triathlon (2km Swim, 42km MTB, 15km Off Road Run), March 2012
1st Open Women – Three Peaks Mountain Run (26km), April, 2012
1st Open Women – River Run Trail Series Race 3 (13km), April 2012
BCR- Has this year’s Routeburn been the main goal for the summer, or are you currently working towards a bigger goal?
WD- My main goal was the Mototapu XTERRA Triathlon which was in March, so now that is done and dusted I have ditched the swimming and mountain biking for a while and have been enjoying trail running. I have been enjoying the River run Trail Series in Wanaka and am looking forward to the final run in the series which is on the 19th of May. Then I will work towards the Kepler Challenge in December. 
BCR- Elina Ussher holds a very impressive course record here- is that time in the back of your mind, something that has helped with training, or do you look to run your own race on Saturday?
WD- Yes I would like to give that record a good crack. I would like to shave 5 mins off last year’s time hopefully, so that will put me in a good position.
BCR- The women’s field is looking very solid, who do you think might be standing in your way of a 2nd title?
WD- Sia Svendsen is a very strong runner who I know will be there, however she may be slightly fatigued after her very impressive effort at the Godzone Adventure Race in Queenstown not that long ago. I’m not really sure who else is a threat at this stage.
BCR- Thanks for your time Whitney- all the best for Saturday’s race!

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