Senseman wins over Torture
22 April 2016
Congratulations on your victory and 4:45:05 course-record time at the Tortola Torture 54k. How did it feel to come away with the win?
Eric Senseman: Thanks! Ultramarathon finishes—not to mention victories—are hard earned and almost always involve a bit of luck. I was fortunate to run well and have a good day. It’s easy to look back and say, ‘oh I could have run faster,’ or ‘that could have gone better,’ but ultimately you have to feel good about the result when you finish with a win. It’s especially comforting to run well after a few disappointing races.
And what races were those?
I ran well at the USATF 50k Road National Championship in early March but thirteen days later I dropped halfway through the Chuckanut 50k and three weeks after that I finished only 60k at the USATF 100k Road National Championship. It’s clear to me now that I simply wasn’t recovered from the effort at the 50k Championships and that I shouldn’t have tried to run those next two races. But, you know, it’s tough to know that ahead of time—you want to think that you can bounce back from a good race, recover quickly, and keep the momentum going. It’s frustrating when those next races go poorly and you only then discover that hadn’t yet recovered from the previous race.
Sure. Maybe this latest win suggests you’ve finally recovered from your 3:06:54 at the 50k Championships in March?
Yeah, right, I think I’m getting there. I think it was unfortunate but smart to drop from those two previous races, for sure. Fortunately, I didn’t have to race full-bore at Tortola and so that should make for swifter recovery this time around.
Why did you decide to run the Tortola Torture?
I hadn’t heard of the race—actually it’s only in its second year—until the race director, Richard Morgan, contacted me a few months back. Rich has lived in Tortola for about eight years and he started this race mostly as a way to get people to explore the island. It took off a bit better than he expected last year and the race grew even bigger this year. He wants to turn the Torture into a destination event and hopefully one that draws a large and competitive international field. He has the right location for that sort of event, and for such a young race it’s incredibly well organized and staffed, so I was thrilled to get involved.
What’s the course like?
It’s really splendid. There are ridiculous views from almost everywhere on the course: it takes you beachside and you hear waves crashing; you ascend to Sage Mountain and have these panoramic views of the nearby islands and crystalline water far below. And then it’s really diverse: the first 15 miles are flat and fast and the remaining 18-plus miles include really steep climbs and descents with very few flat sections. It’s almost entirely on the roads, so you have to enjoy road running, but it’s short enough that the pavement doesn’t kill you. And then of course there’s the heat: it’s 30°C/86°F at the start and warms to 34°C/94°F with huge amounts of humidity and the sun beaming down on you. The heat adds an interesting and difficult element.
It sounds like an intense race! And we have noticed that once you’ve been over the full on NOSHORTCUTS attitude of racing, you were still able to enjoy the area and local activities!
Ha! It’s important to let loose after focusing and racing so hard. Because in the end this is only running and life offers so much more to enjoy. So when a young teenager ask me to propulse her in the air, it’s a no brainer, I jump anytime
So after recovering from this race, what’s next for you?
TransVulcania in just three weeks. I’m really excited for that one!