28th World Mountain Running Championships- Team NZ

The 28th World Mountain Running Championships, held in Vallecamonica, Italy,  are right around the corner and the New Zealand team’s prep is well under way.  This year the race is an up-hill only event and with less than a week to the championships some of the team are already in Italy, running some small build up races. Kiwi mountain running legend Jono Wyatt, who is based in Italy, is hosting the team and wrote the below race report-

Team NZ lead out the Trofeo Rifugio Scarpa in the Dolomiti mountains, Italy

The New Zealand team arrived in Italy after the long travel to prepare for the World Mountain Running Championships to be held in Ponte di Legno on Sunday 2 September.
As part of their preparation all New Zealand based athletes decided to travel early to Europe in order to acclimatize to the altitude and expected conditions.
Sunday 26 August saw 5 team runners compete in the ‘Trofeo Rifugio Scarpa’ held in the heart of the Dolomiti mountains of northern Italy.

The 5.5km and 650m+ uphill mountain race proved to be a good test for the team and they enjoyed some local competition from runners in the Agordo and Belluno area. All started conservatively because of the recent long travel from the New Zealand. The New Zealand Senior Men’s team finished 2nd and 3rd, Glenn Hughes (33:58) narrowly edging out Dougan Butler (34:12) on the final 400m climb by 14s. The race winner was Jonathan Wyatt (33:02).

Junior Men’s runner Ryan Mcalister had a convincing win back in April at the New Zealand Championships that doubled as the World Mountain selection race and has improved on this form by racing to 7th place in amongst the senior runners.

Sally and Helen relaxing post race

Helen Rountree (41:02) and Sally Gibbs (41:13) shared the lead in the early stages of the women’s race and pulled away easily from the competition. Sally crossed the line first 11seconds before Helen while local runner Cinzia Salvi was 5minutes back. This capped off a successful day for the New Zealand team and a good test before the World Championship race in a weeks time.

The local organizing committee for the race invited the entire NZ team and shared some generous local Italian hospitality including giving the team typical local mountain cheese, meats, wine and grappa and many good memories.

The New Zealand mountain running team for the 28th WMRC is

Senior Women – Helen Rountree, Sally Gibbs and Anna Frost

Senior Men – Dougan Butler and Glenn Hughes

Junior Men- Ryan McAlister

Originally James Coubrough and Marjolein Ros were also named in the team. Marjolein will now represent the Netherlands (where she is from originally) due to citizenship issues, while James pulled out due to injury/fitness.

In the next few days we will be posting a few interviews we have with some of the members of the New Zealand team.

Dougan Butler WMCR interview HERE

Thanks to Jonathan Wyatt for photos and race report

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