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Vivian Cheng pre World 24hr Champs Interview

BCR continues a small preview and interviews of the world 24hr champs this weekend

The 9th IAU 24 Hour World Championships take place on Sept 8-9th in Katowice, Poland.  Among the 150 Men and 104 Women representing 33 countries New Zealand will have a strong team, with a mix of experience and youth. The New Zealand team includes members of the men’s team that took bronze at last year’s Commonwealth 24hr champs and world age group record holders Val Musket and Brian McCorkindale.

The team is-

Women - Amy Campbell, Valerie Muskett, Vivian Cheng.

Men- Alex McKenzie, Brendon Keenan, Graeme Butcher, Brian McCorkindale, Wayne Botha.

The start list as of August 26th can be found HERE on the IAU web site. Live updates should also be avablibe during the race on the IAU web site as well as the Run24 web site.

Vivian “I’m a road runner through and through” Cheng. Photo- Andrew Shelly

Today’s interview is with New Zealand team member Vivian Cheng. When we caught up with Vivian she was “in the tapering phase now  so am enjoying it but starting to get nervous……. ” Below is our interview-

BCR- How did you get into 24hr foot races and what motivates you to race these?

Vivian Cheng-  I first got into it because I wanted to run 100 miles and thought that a 24 hour track race would be a great event to do it in – plenty of time, nice flat course, and easy for the support crew. I did my first one at the Sri Chinmoy race in Auckland in 2008 and it took me almost 22.5 hours for the 100 miler. I stepped off the track immediately after that (so it probably doesn’t really count as a 24 hour!) and promptly collapsed. It was a real eye opener but I was hooked. I enjoy doing the 24 hour races because they are always well organised and supported, there is plenty of cameraderie with other runners and their support crew, and I enjoy the challenge of seeing how far I can push my body (and my mind!).

BCR- Is this your first time representing NZ?

VC - This will be the second time. The first was at the Commonwealth Mountain and Ultra Running Champs in Keswick in 2009.

BCR- What is a typical training week or training block for you?

VC- I am ashamed to admit that I’m a road runner through and through! I do, however, run on trails sometimes just for a bit of variation. Typical training week in a lead up to a 24 hour will be 20-25km 4 mornings during the week, followed by back-to-back long runs in the weekend. My usual goal is to hit about 200km a week, but this is subject to injuries, work demands, etc and I don’t always get there unfortunately.

BCR- 24hr races are, generally, on flat, smooth terrain. Is this what you stick to in training or are you getting out in the hills and trails also?

VC-Yes I generaly stick to the flat in training. The Wellington waterfront is where I do most of my training. But for my long runs I’ve been doing them on an undulating loop around home to try and build up some strength. I also run on trails now and then with friends just to mix it up a bit. I very much enjoy the trails, but am a newbie to them and therefore not very confident on my feet.

BCR- What is your current best for 24hrs and what are your expectations going into the World Champs?

VC- My PB for the 24 hours is 201.4km. Given that the course in Poland is a bit lumpy (with 6m to 13m of climb per 1.5km, which equates to over 1,700m of climb over 200km), I expect the distances to not be as great. I would be stoked if I can beat my PB. However, I have been hampered by injury in the lead-up this time so I haven’t done as much training as I would have liked. The goal has just been to get to the startline in one piece but hopefully the mind will see me through.

Our other interview with Amy Campbell can be seen HERE. Keep an eye out for 1 more interview in the next day or 2.


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A Backcountry Running Community for New Zealand trail, mountain and ultra runners- We want this to be the place you come for all things trail running including race previews and reports, interviews with New Zealand runners and hopefully a whole lot more! Our aim is to provide as much original content- previews/reports/interviews on New Zealand trail, mountain and ultra races. We can't be everywhere- so feel free to get in touch if you have the scoop on a race or event.

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