WMRC- Jonathan Wyatt Report

The 28th running of the World Mountain Running Championships took place yesterday in Italy and while New Zealand’s 6x WMRC Jonathan Wyatt was not racing he was the New Zealand Team manager. Hot off the press is Jono’s World Mountain Running Championships Report -
The New Zealand team awoke to sunshine with snow on the surrounding hills on the day of the World Mountain Running Championships in Ponte di Legno, Italy.
After two days of rain and some snowfall near the finish area the cool but dry weather conditions suited the kiwi athletes.
Ryan Mcalister from Wellington was the first New Zealand runner to compete and even though he competed for the first time he arrived in 14th position.  A great result in a very competitive field won by Michael Cherop from Uganda with 71 runners in the race. After starting conservatively and keeping out of trouble on the tight and twisty first kilometre he came through strongly on the steep climbs that counted.  The higher altitude made it tough for all the runners but Ryan held his position and finished less than one minute from a top 10 place.
 The Senior Women featured Sally Gibbs (Tauranga) and Helen Rountree (Hamilton) and after a fast start where Sally was in the top 15 for a long time on the flatter section and then she settled into a strong climb on the steep ski field section to finish an excellent 33rd place.  Helen started more conservatively and for both women it was their first real taste of international mountain running.  She fought hard over the closing stages and her 47th position puts her close to the top half of the field of 88 runners who finished and valuable international running experience.
Marjolein Ros who lives in Wellington but representing Holland had requested early citizenship in order to run for New Zealand but it hadn’t been possible to speed up this process.  This unfortunately meant that after the withdrawl of Anna Frost (Dunedin) New Zealand didnt have a team to count in the teams race.  Marjolein finished in 25th place.
The men’s race was probably the strongest ever assembled and Glenn Hughes and Dougan Butler had a rough start as the runners headed into a narrow path soon after the start. Dougan was able to gain some places on a steep downhill before the main climb but Glenn got caught up with a Portugese runners fall as he raced down a slippery single trail falling heavily on his elbow and wrist.
The Eritrean team dominated this men’s race though the fast middle part of the race while the steep climbs and descent favoured the host nations athletes from Italy.  Dougan was able to run into an excellent 59th position out of 138 finishers while Glenn battled on to the finish in 84th place having difficulty with the injury sustained earlier on in the race.
The mens race was won by Petreo Mamo (Eritrea) followed by Azeria Teklay (Eritrea) with Adreai Safronov in 3rd.  
Overall an excellent result and the team not only gained an amazing experience and racing on the World stage but showed that the kiwi runners were very competitive in this World event.
Link to full results HERE
New Zealand Mountain Running Team- Left to Right: Glenn Hughes, Sally Gibbs, Dougan Butler, Ryan Mcalister, Helen Rountree - Photo: Jonathan Wyatt

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