Interview with Sheila Avilés, champion of the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series 2017

Published at 08-02-2018

Few elite athletes shed the joy and sympathy of Sheila Avilés. For the general public it may be a complete unknown but in the world of Skyrunning she is one of the most well-known athletes and currently holds the crown of champion of the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series 2017. A trajectory linked to athletics and conscientiously worked that has converted this 24-year-old BUFF® Pro Team skyrunner in the star of the skyrunning.

First of all, Sheila, congratulations for your great season last year. You were present in the first edition of the BUFF® Mountain Festival but you couldn’t compete due to an injury. This year will we see you in any of the races?
We are still defining the calendar, but my intention is to be on the starting line of the of the BUFF® Epic Trail Skymarathon.

Now that you are one of the best-known faces of the BUFF® Pro Team, does not it make you dizzy to attend such an important event and that everyone recognizes you?
It's true that now you're not the surprise of the year, everyone has expectations about you and thinks you're a superwoman and you always have to be at the top. But all athletes know that the reality is different and that it costs a lot to stay up there even though my situation does not make me dizzy. I will try to do it the best way to feel fulfilled myself. The problem is in constantly fixing on the outside and not on the improvement of oneself.

As you know in addition to the BUFF® Epic Trail, the BUFF® Mountain Festival will have activities for everyone. Who will accompany you to Barruera the weekend from 30th June to 1st of July?
I hope to be accompanied by my trainer, Andrés Arroyo and my podiatrist Idoia Pascalet.

You had excelled in many races and accumulated national triumphs but without a doubt the turning point was your podium in Zegama. Did you think you could get on a podium so coveted?
No, the truth is that I had 0 expectations for that race. I had fun running and thanks to that I think I was able to sneak in the podium.

The other great race in the Pyrenees is the Skyrace Comapedrosa where you won your first victory in the Migu Run Skyrunner® World Series, how would you define that day? Is it a kind of race that favors you?
It was my first victory in the world cup and the truth was something unexpected and very exciting, when I crossed the finish line I could not believe it, but as you can imagine, I was so happy. Yes, the Comapedrosa is a race in which I can develop very well because it is a very tough race and also ends in technical downhill, so I think that I can gain positions there, I like to descend quickly and take risks, the harder and more technical the descent is the better for me.

In 2017 you gave the surprise and you became the world champion of Skyrunning. How were the sensations after achieving such an important and fought triumph like this one?
Of great satisfaction for having done well the work with much effort and much perseverance. The truth that a joy that the results came along with the effort, we all know that this sport is very hard and you appreciate it when things go well.

You come from athletics and probably there is the secret of your devilish speed in the flat but Sheila Avilés stands out as one of the athletes that best descends from the World Series. How have you achieved excellence in all fields?
It's true that I'm good descending, but I think that's something innate. It is not that I have done specific training to improve my descents, simply with the experience and the day to day I have been taking more and more technique in the descent. On the other hand, the uphill was my weak point and this year I managed to improve, with series on the slope and gaining power in the legs, although I still can improve.

Tell us about this season because you are already the athlete to beat in all races. Do you think that the title of favorite can hurt you?
You always have more pressure, but as I said before I will try to avoid this that this affect me in my performance. I am competitive and always give my best, therefore, I should not be affected by what others think of me, but at what point of form I am.

You are a graduate of INEFC and have started the project Beyond - forget your limits. Tell us a bit about your role with the athletes.
Yes, and this year I will continue studying the Master of Sports Performance in Madrid (COE). The project of Beyond- forget your limits is an idea that arises from the requests received from people who want to train with me, and I can not supply all of them. The project was born in collaboration with great professionals such as Andrés Arroyo (my coach) and David Rodríguez, and in this way we professionalize the project to meet the needs of each athlete. We carry out personalized trainings for each one of them regardless of the level they have, and we constantly ask for feedback from the training sessions in order to plan the next weeks and reach the point in the competitions. Our idea is to create a great family of athletes in the future.

Finally, can you reveal your goals for this season?
We still have to finish deciding what to do this year, although you will surely see me in more than one race of the Skyrunner® World Series and also at some races of the Salomon Gold Trail Series.