Kiwis in Sky Running World Champs

 The 2014 Sky Running World Championships take place this weekend in Chamonix, France. What New Zealand lacks in numbers in Chamonix, we certainly make up for in quality. Joining Europen based Salomon super star runners Anna Frost and Jono Wyatt in the Australia/New Zealand team are kiwis James Kuegler and Ruby Muir.

We caught up with Ruby and James ahead of this weekend races. Ruby will be doing the 80km Sky Ultra on Friday, while James tackles the Mount Blance Marathon on Sunday.

  • You have both had a bit of time out from major trail running races here in NZ over the summer- what have you guys been up too?
Ruby checking out the French Alps. Photo: Blake Hose

Ruby checking out the French Alps. Photo: Blake Hose

RM- Mainly rolling around on a foam roller, and an evil little ball. Going to work and feeling sorry for myself. Was recovering from a stress fracture and after that found my back was dysfunctional and it was a long journey back from there.

JK- I devoted 2013 to my chiropractic studies, and CADENCE coaching, and put any ideas of competition on hold for twelve months. I graduated as a chiropractor at the end of 2013 and have spent the early part of 2014 building my fitness.

  • With this time out, this is a “come back” race of sorts- how are you feeling about our first big race back?

RM- I am really happy to be running again, especially in such a mind blowing place. To be honest I haven’t been able to do anywhere near the preparation I’d like, but I am thinking of it in a positive way; I am very fresh.

JK- It is great to be back training, and I am excited about getting to Chamonix and mixing it with the best that Europe has to offer.

  • How has the build up been? How have you prepared for such an under taking?

RM- I have been having to train a bit smarter then usual as I haven’t been able to put in anywhere near the milage I am used to. I have been doing a more conventional road runners training, keeping my easy days real easy. Racing some short fast Harrier races in the weekends and doing a fartleck and a hill rep or track session each week. I managed to get two longish runs in the mountains which were a good confidence booster. I think I am really only hitting around 100km a week tops as I am still quiet near the beginning of my journey back.

JK- My progression over the last three months has been exactly as I had hoped. I have, and continue to work hard on my technique, flexibility and mobility in order to keep my body functioning the way that I need it to. When I sat first discussed the plan with the CADENCE Coaching team, we identified that it was important to put myself into tactical situations due to my lack of racing in recent times. So, I have raced a lot (by my standards) generally on tired legs. I put the finishing touches on my preparation last week with a week staying and training out of Snowline Ski Club on Mt. Ruapehu.

  • You have both compete in championship events before (James Commonwealth Ultra, Ruby World Mt Running), but have either of you raced in France or a Sky Running Event before?
James racing the Commonwealth Ultra Champs in Wales.

James racing the Commonwealth Ultra Champs in Wales.

RM- When I went to the Mountain Running Champs I also ran Drie Zinnen in the Dolomites in Italy. This is my first time in France and my first Sky Running race.

JK- This will be my first time racing in France, and my first Sky Running event

  • Ruby I know you are now in Chamonix- first impressions? James?

RM- Chamonix is awesome, a beautiful tourist town with lots if tempting french treats and expensive things to spend money on. everyone here looks fit. The mountains and trails are so close to town and good fun running. I am already certain the Kristian and I will be heading back here, hopefully in the not too distant future.

JK- I think I one of the last of the Australia/New Zealand team to arrive in Chamonix. I will be arriving in Chamonix on Thursday.

  • What are your expectations for the Sky Running World Champs?

RM- I don’t really know what to expect, sometimes I believe I will do quite well, others I am preparing myself for a schooling. I guess I will back myself to say I believe I have the potential to do well at these events, and even win them but I don’t know that this is the time. There are the top runners here with much more experience than me.

JK- It is hard to know what to expect from Sunday’s race. If nothing else it will give me a great benchmark to work from as my fitness and speed continue to develop over the coming months and years.

  • Post Sky Running World Champs- will you be doing any other races in Europe?

RM- I am heading home the monday after my race. I would love to but have work and more importantly a beloved at home. The original reason I signed up to this was I was given an extension until the end of June to get a 3 point race in for UTMB, and this was the last race in June. I am not sure about UTMB though, I don’t really have the money to come back again. More so I am pretty sure I can’t bring myself to leave KDay back home again, UTMB is on his birthday and it seems pretty cruel.

JK- After Chamonix, my partner and I are planning to follow the Tour de France. I don’t have any other races planned, though if an opportunity presents itself we shall see.

  • What do you have planned for the upcoming summer in NZ- where can we expect to see you race next and what are your major goals for 2015?

RM- If things go well my next plan is Kepler, going to give that record a shot. Beyond that I haven’t laid any plans. Running is a fickle mistress and I am not confident enough to plan that far ahead.

JK- I haven’t set any major goals beyond the Mont Blanc Marathon, though Total Sport’s new Coastal Challenge Series looks like it has my name written all over it.  Also, A big thank you to CADENCE Coaching, Barefoot Inc, Total Sport & Out Wear NZ for their continued support.

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