Last year I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to represent New Zealand at the World Mountain Running Champs in Poland. I didn’t know quite what to expect other than it was going to be tough… and it definitely was. So having had a taste for this kind of racing I was really keen to have another crack with some focused training and some solid goals.
I heard rumours early in the piece about the course for this year being pretty exciting and decided it was something I would really like to be a part of. After a long summer of training and racing the Coast to Coast and Godzone, I had 5 weeks to get myself back in shape. It was tough especially coming out of Godzone nursing a concussion, broken rib, sprained wrist and an infected leg wound. I gave the trial at the National Champs in Nelson a good go but felt quite unwell during and after the race.
Luckily the selectors had some faith in me and I had time on my side, allowing me to build myself back up to a level I am comfortable with. Just in time too, as in a few days I will be heading off to represent New Zealand once again at the World Mountain Running Champs in Cassette di Massa, Italy.
First stop on the journey is to join up with the rest of the NZ team and take part in a warm up race in Austria. Then we will spend a week preparing ourselves in the Dolomites with one of New Zealand’s best runners, Jonathon Wyatt (6x World Mountain Running champion). In the final few days before the race we will head further south to the event centre at the World Champs in Tuscany.
The course for this year is uphill (only) and 11.7km and with approximately 1100m of vertical climb. The race starts in a small town called Forno (near Pisa) and climbs its way upwards through the forest, another village and then upwards through a marble quarry to the finish at the top of a small peak overlooking the Mediterranean.
This year should be interesting for me as I have specifically focused in on the physical aspects of this event (alongside working on some of my multisport skills!) which is quite different from the build up to Orienteering events where you need to practice navigation, physical and mental aspects. So my training for the last few months has involved a lot of hill reps and long runs in the hills. Although my speed might not be quite where I would like it to be but I have been feeling strong on the hills and since its an uphill only course I think the focused training is just starting to pay off. I will be going into the race with the aim of improving my positioning from last years up and down race (78th), but also to push myself at a comfortable pace and allow my hill and mental strength to come through during the middle and latter stages of the race.
Thanks to Bivouac/Outdoor, the Sumner Running Club and Osprey Packs for supporting me!