World Mountain Running Trophy Wellington 2005
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Saturday, October 01, 2005


Posted by: Ian 1:24 PM
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Official photos from the World Mountain Running Trophy last weekend in Wellington are now online. Go to: www.marathon-photos.com
 
Other World Trophy photos can also be seen at www.nesport.co.nz
 

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Posted by: Ian 11:12 PM
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New Zealand’s Unsung Heroes

 

Amid the cheering for New Zealand’s two new world champions, several other top Kiwi performances went almost unnoticed.

 

No one could ever take away Jonathan Wyatt’s historic fifth world title. The Lower Hutt mountain man became the first person to win World Mountain Running Trophy’s and the first person to win World Trophy’s in both the uphill and up and down formats. But not too far behind another New Zealander made the top 10 in his first ever mountain race.

 

The selection of Dale Warrander for New Zealand’s World Mountain team caused more than the odd murmur. Warrander, a 2:13 marathon runner and several times New Zealand champion over mainstream running disciplines such as road and cross country, is renowned as a formidable uphill runner. So despite having no mountain running experience he was included to bolster New Zealand’s team chances.

 

Frankly, he was considered New Zealand's third man, after Wyatt and Phil Costley, who had finished sixth in the World Trophy in 2001. But Costley, although well placed in the top 10 through the first lap, had a rare bad run to end up 49th. But in his place Warrander rose to the occasion, letting the field wear itself out chasing Wyatt and then moving up from 12th at halfway to take an excellent sixth place.

 

While elated with his debut on the world mountain scene, Warrander was initially just awe struck with Wyatt’s win. In mainstream disciplines such as marathons, where they have similar best times, Wyatt and Warrander are very similar runners. But Wyatt is a different animal on the mountains and shaking his head as he walked through the finish shute Warrander said, “Geez, that Wyatt is just a machine. We never saw him.”

 

Five minutes later, however, Warrander was wondering aloud as to how he might go next year in Turkey when the format is an uphill only race. Watch this space.

 

Spare a thought too for Sarah Devoy. The former world junior trophy silver medallist was having a tough day at the office, sitting in 40-something position, when she fell on the last lap of the elite women’s race. Losing control on the big downhill dipper leading into Charles Plimmer Park, Devoy stumbled and fell, landing face first and sliding at full speed for several metres. But knowing that she was the New Zealand teams last point scorer the plucky 22 year old picked herself up and stumbled the final kilometre to the finish line in an unnoticed but brave 48th place.

 

Another Kiwi that went almost unnoticed was Canterbury’s Ruth Croft. The determined 16 year old has dominated the national scene of late and in Wellington she illustrated an affinity for international competition with a very strong sixth place. If she had run six seconds slower she would have been an anonymous 11th, but gunning the last kilometre all the way to the finish she collapsed across the line utterly spent but elated at her world championship debut.


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Kiwis Dominate Wellington World Champs

 

Wellington’s own Jonathan Wyatt and Kate McIllroy gave huge crowds in the Capital reason to cheer when they totally dominated the World Mountain Running Trophy, held in Wellington today.

 

Wellington once again illustrated that it is New Zealand’s event capital. On a warm but blustery day more than 10,000 people turned out to cheer their hometown favourites to world titles.

 

Lower Hutt’s Jonathan Wyatt lived up to his billing as the best mountain runner in history by winning his fifth World Mountain Running Trophy. But Kate McIlloy took the world’s best women by surprise wi8th an equally dominant display.

 

Run over the steep slopes of the inner city Mount Victoria, the spectacular venue was a hit with spectators and competitors alike. Both the start/finish area on Oriental Parade and the summit of Mt Victoria saw crowds five deep. “It was amazing,” said Wyatt after becoming the first person to win five world titles.

 

“On Mt Victoria the crowds were wall to wall. It was great having so many people screaming just for you.”

 

Wyatt certainly screamed around the course, following eager Aussie Scott McTaggart for the first kilometre of the 13.3k course before hitting the front halfway up Mt Victoria for the first time.

 

The day before at the pre-race media conference Wyatt had talked of the race being won on the last lap by the person who had spread their effort best. But in the practise he dared the world’s best to chase him, opening up a 25sec lead by the summit that he extended to 45secs after the first lap. Over the summit for the second time his lead was 70secs and despite being only halfway done, the race was won.

 

Finishing though a tunnel of thousands of fellow Wellingtonians, Wyatt crossed the line in 53min 23secs. The clock ticked for another 2min and 12secs before Italy’s Gabriele Abate came through to claim silver.

 

As expected Italy dominated the teams competition, with Abate in second, Davide Chico third, Marco Gaiardo – the only runner to try and stay close to Wyatt early on – fourth, and Emanuele Manzi eighth.

 

Behind Wyatt the New Zealand team rallied well, with Auckland’s Dale Warrander confirming his controversial selection with a sixth place in what was his first ever mountain race. After Warrander came Wellingtonians Ben Revell and Mike Wakelin in 31st and 37th, which was enough to give the Kiwis second in the team competition.

 

This matched New Zealand’s previous best men’s team effort from the 2000 World Trophy. But for Italy it was the 20th World Trophy team title. “We came here to retain our team trophy for Italy, so we are happy,” said Emanuele Manzi after the race. “But we were also very glad for the support of the people. They were generous in supporting Italian runners when their own runner was winning the race.”

 

The crowd support was the highlights of the world title event. Earlier in the day Russia’s Juylia Mochalova retained her junior women’s title from 2004 despite only just making it to the start line in time.

 

After flight delays and missed connections the Russian team only landed in Wellington at 11:30pm the previous night. After customs and finding their accommodation Mochalova had only three hours sleep. She had no food, had not seen the course, didn’t even know where the race started and only arrived with 1min until start time. But it didn’t matter.

 

With out any warm up the 18-year-old Russian schoolgirl went straight to he front of the field and proceeded to run away with her second junior title. Slovenia’s Mateja Kosovelj, third in this race last year, gave chase but every time she came within striking distance the Russian would accelerate away.

 

Eventually Mochalova floated home with a comfortable 10secs in hand, clocking 21min 50secs for the 4.7k distance. “I am very happy,” she said through an interpreter. “I arrive only late, so I take it easy on the uphill then run the downhills very fast. I am happy to win, but I am happy that I could be here. It was a very beautiful course and the people very nice. I only arrive a few hours ago but New Zealand very beautiful country.”

 

Turkey also left Wellington’s World Mountain Running Trophy raving about the Capital City. Hulya Ongun was a surprise third in the junior women’s race, leading Turkey to third in the team race behind Slovenia and Russia. But it was Turkey’s junior men who provided the biggest surprise when Vedat Gunen lead his team to victory in both the individual and team titles.

 

Gunen and Mexico’s Juan Carlos Carera, two of the youngest runners in the junior field, broke away late in the first lap. Carera tried to drop the Turk on the long climb back up Mt Victoria, but Gunen struck hard over the summit and romped away to a 32secs win.

 

Behind them Italian twins Martin and Bernard DeMatteis filled third and fifth and with compatriot Diego Scaffidi-Ingiona in eighth they thought they had won the team title. But Turkey pipped them by three points thanks to Ahmet Arslan and Fahri Tunctan in fourth and seventh.

 

After several minor medals in recent years, this was Turkey’s first-ever individual and team titles. “This is a great day for Turkey,” said Gunen through an interpreter. “I am very happy to win, but for our country it is even more important. Next year Turkey host the world mountain running and we hope to win many more medals.

 

Gunan also waxed lyrical over the Capital City crowds. “All week we have been very welcomed here. It is a beautiful county and the people very friendly. We invite you all to Turkey for next year.”

 

One runner who has probably already booked a ticket for Turkey is Wellington’s Kate McIlroy. The 24 year old has been the dominant runner on the domestic scene this winter, and race favourite Melissa Moon even picked her as the runner to watch. But no one could have predicted the way in which McIlroy decimated the world best female mountain runners.

 

This race was meant to be about fellow Wellingtonian and 2001 and 2003 world trophy winner Melissa Moon. Although, in a race with four former world trophy winners and several medallists, there were close to a dozen women capable of talking out the top honour. But McIlroy paid no respect to any of them.

 

Admittedly she did initially follow the early pace, for perhaps 400m, until the start of the first assent of Mt Victoria where she opened up the gas and never looked back. The first time over the summit she hand 45secs in hand. Spectators wondered aloud if she wasn’t being overambitious. But after the first lap of the 9k course she was an amazing 1min 36secs ahead.

 

Behind her came pre-race favourites Melissa Moon (NZ), Tracey Brindley (Scot) and Anna Pichrtova (Czech). Many expected them to hunt her down on the second lap, but McIllroy extended her lead, and a new star was born.

 

The crowd were going crazy for the new girl on the block. Over the summit for the last time and then down the home straight the commentators were drowned out by chants of “Kiwi, Kiwi, Kiwi.”

 

In the end McIlroy romped home with 2min 02scs in hand over Brindley and Pichrtova. “That was too much,” said the new world champion. “I just ran how I felt. The crowds were amazing. It was great.”

 

Three minutes and 41secs behind McIlroy Melissa Moon struggled home for a solid seventh behind Mary Wilkinson (Eng), Isabelle Guillot (Fra) and Vittoria Salvini (Ita), who led Italy to the team title for the second year in a row.

 

Melissa Moon, the former two-time world champ, suffered for recent interruptions to her training after illness and injury. But she refused to offer any excuse, saying, “Kate was amazing. It was her day.”

 

“I can’t use that as an excuses,” said Moon. “It’s all just part of running. It’s a tough sport. You suck it up, set some new goals and come back determined to do better.”

 

The New Zealand women may well come back more determined after narrowly missing a medal, even a win perhaps, in the team competition. Led by McIlloy and Moon they finished fifth, but only in count back after tying for points with Czech Republic (3rd) and England (4th). The mid-race collapse of Dunedin’s Anna Frost, currently ranked seventh in the world, and a heavy fall to Sarah Devoy on the last lap may have denied them second, if not first.

 

But with two world champions, no one was disappointed in the Capital city today. As Jonathan Wyatt said, “Normally we have to travel to the other side of the world. I was just good to race a world championship at home.”

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Full provisional results are now posted on the results page. Some photos are available from the same page, with more to come over the next few days.

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Comments and results during the day's racing are being posted on the web site on the COMMENTARY page www.mountainrunning.org.nz/commentary.html.

Messages of support can be posted on the discussion page www.mountainrunning.org.nz/discussion.html.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Posted by: Ian 9:38 PM
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Italy Looking to Spoil NZ’s Party in Wgtn World Champs

 

The World Mountain Running Trophy got underway in Wellington today with a street parade and an admission from Italy that they are in ton to spoil the party for New Zealand’s world championship hopes.

 

The 21st World Mountain Running Trophy was officially opened with a street parade through the heart of the city watched by thousands. Competitors were welcomed into Civic Square by a traditional Maori powhiri (welcome), which clearly moved many of the foreign entrants.

 

“We do not see so much of this culture in Europe,” said Norwegian competitor Jon Tvest. “It is very impressive, very moving.”

 

Norway are just one of 27 countries here in Wellington for the world championship event. Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast and World Mountain Running Association Chairman Danny Hughes (UK) officially opened the event, with Prendergast making special mention of Wellington’s own mountain running world champions, Jonathan Wyatt and Melissa Moon.

 

Wyatt and Moon go to the line on Sunday, with Wyatt attempting his fifth world title while Moon attempts her third. The Wellingtonians also lead very strong teams, with both the men and women squads among the favourites for team honours.

 

In a media conference this afternoon, however, the proud Italian team hinted at their defiance. Italy have traditionally dominated the world mountain running scene, with their men being unbeaten in the team title since the inception of the World Trophy in 1985. Their women are similarly dominant, having won nine times over the 20 years.

 

Italian team veteran Antonio Molinari, the 1996 World Trophy winner, speaking through an interpreter, talked of their team’s history and experience and said, “We come to New Zealand with the idea of winning. We are here to win our 21st team trophy.”

 

None of the Italians, however, could be prompted to predict their individual chances, with Emanuele Manzi, the silver medallist in 2001, saying, “I have good form and will try to win, but Jonathan Wyatt numero uno.”

 

England’s Bill Burns also deferred to Wyatt’s unbeaten status. “I don’t really think about Jonathan,” he said. “I just think about holding on for as long as I can and hoping for the best.”

 

Burns, third in 2001and one of the most consistent performers on the world scene, also warned not to forget England in the race for the team title. “We have probably our strongest ever team,” he said of a squad that includes three former top-10 finishers at the World Trophy. “It’s a team that will suit this course, especially the downhills,” he said.

 

For his part Wellington’s own Jonathan Wyatt, who won the title in 1998, 2000, ’02, ’04, was playing down his favouritism, saying, “This is a world championship race. There are more than a dozen runners capable of winning.”

 

“The course on Mt Victoria will suit the runner with the best all round ability,” said Wyatt, before adding, “But you also need all things to go perfectly to win a world title. In a race of this depth, there is no room for mistakes or bad luck.”

 

On the demanding slopes of Mt Victoria, which the men must run up and down three times for 930m of total elevation gain, Wyatt predicted the race would be won on the last lap.

 

“It’s a tough course and I think the first lap will see a lot of runner being cagey and looking around to see what others are doing. All the changes in terrain make it hard on your legs and you’ll need to be strong on the last lap. I think the race will be won on the last lap.”

 

New Zealand team captain Phil Costley (ChCh) spoke of their chances in the men’s race. Costley finished sixth in the 2001 World Trophy, so has obvious individual aspirations. But he was keener to talk about New Zealand’s opportunity to roll the Italians at home.

 

“The Italians have that reputation and experience, but we’ve got the home course advantage. We’ve all run on the course before. And not just in training. Every country has trained on the course this week, but we’ve experienced racing flat out on the course. We know exactly where to push & where to save it for later. This is the best chance we’ll ever get to beat the Italians.”

 

The Italian reputation has been built up over two decades. Even without their number one runner, Marco DeGasperi, who was controversially not selected due to injury problems earlier in the year, they are still the favourites. Team members Manzi and Marco Gaiardo, the bronze medallist in 2003, both attributed their reputation to tradition and their legendary team coach Raimondo Balicco, with Manzi explaining, “We have the same coach for 21 years; he is the architect of our success.”

 

Balicco himself talked of Italian running’s “grand passioni” for the mountains. Speaking through a translator he said, “Italy is a very mountainous country, all our best mountain runners come from the North, which is the most mountainous.”

 

Balicco, who is as much a legend in the mountain running world as his runners, also spoke of the support his programme gets from their country. “We have good organisational support and many good trainers in all regions. So several times a year we come together as a squad to train together as a family.”

 

The New Zealand team have also been very much a family in the build up to the world trophy, with several camps on the Mt Victoria course prior to spending 10 days together in Wellington prior to this weekend. At the media conference the entire team sat in the back in support of their stars, and looking up at them, women’s favourite Melissa Moon said, “this is probably the strongest team New Zealand has ever fielded.”

 

The New Zealand women won the world team trophy in 2000 and hope to do the same again. Moon also spoke of her fellow Wellingtonian Kate McIllroy as the darkhorse. McIllroy has been the dominant force on the domestic scene this year, defeating Moon on one occasion, and said, “This has been my best ever year. I’m feeling strong and looking forward to testing myself against the world’s best.”

 

Moon has admitted that the team is wary of the Italians. Despite being without their defending world trophy winner, Rosa Gota Gelpi, she pointed to a depth that could see all four Italians inside the top 20. At the media conference Italian number one Vittoria Salvini confirmed, “As a team we have prepared very strongly.”

 

Speaking through an interpreter Salvini, currently ranked 2nd in the world, played down her own chances, saying “I always try to win, but there are many who also try.”

 

Indeed, the women’s race this year is one of the strongest ever for the World Mountain Running Trophy. Contenders include Salvini, Anna Pichrtova (Czech), Emma Murray (Aus), and Angela Mudge and Tracey Brindley (Scot). Mudge is the 2000 World Trophy winner and runner up behind Moon in 2003. But Pichrtova, a two-time runner up at the World Trophy, has been the form horse in 2005.

 

Moon and Pichrtova go way back. The Czech was runner up to the Wellingtonian in the 2001 World Trophy and runner up again in 2004. Earlier this year she defeated Moon in the American mountain running championship, only to have Moon turn the tables two weeks later in the Prestigious Mt Washington mountain race.

 

Pichrtova’s form has continued all year, with a recent second in the European championship. In contrast Moon has experienced a few set backs, with a heavy influenza at the start of August and an Achilles tendon strain just two weeks ago that while healed now, did interrupt her final sharpening process.

 

Moon, however, is confident in her form and the advantage of local knowledge on the course. She also revealed a refusal to focus on just one runner as her main rival.

 

“The World Trophy is so full of tough competitors,” she said. “Some years I’ve aimed at a few key names only to have others come through that I hadn’t expected. There are a maybe 20 women in the race who could win, you just have to run our guts out and see what happens.”

 

Moon was also keen to talk about what it meant to her to have the world title event in her hometown. At he opening ceremony she could be seen close to tears while she sung the Maori national anthem, and later at the media conference she said, “Walking in the parade, with thousands of people on the street, it makes me proud to be a Wellingtonian.”   

 

All week Wellington has been abuzz with the World Mountain Running Trophy. Newspapers, radio and television have been covering the event like no running race ever seen in New Zealand. The Wellington people, too, have been right behind the race. Moon spoke of TV interviews taking an hour instead of 10min because, “people on their lunchtime runs kept stopping to wish Jonathan and I good luck.”

 

Organisers expect 10,000 spectators on Sunday. Prime viewing points include the Oriental Parade start/finish area and the summit of Mt Victoria. Italy’s Vittoria Salvini was looking forward to racing on the spectacular venue, saying, “It is courso bello”, a beautiful course.

 

The day starts with locals getting the chance to experience the World Trophy course in the NewstalkZB Open Fun Run and the Dominion Post Childrens Run, which has close to 1000 kids entered.

 

Race organiser Arthur Klap said it was an indication of just how close knit the Wellington community is, and also paid tribute to New Zealand Community Trust and Wellington City Council, “for ensuring that the event had the support and promotion it needed.”

 

Athletics New Zealand CEO, Jeremy Kennerley, agreed, saying that a world championship event gave the sport much-needed exposure in New Zealand. He also paid tribute to Wyatt and Moon, saying their successes don’t receive as much attention as they deserve and having a world championship in New Zealand, in their hometown, would rectify that.

 

The World Trophy racing starts on Sunday at 10:00am with the New World Junior Men and Women world title events. The feature elite races start with the Meridian Energy Elite Men at 1:00pm and then the Meridian Energy Elite Women at 3:00pm.

 

For further information see: www.mountainrunning.org.nz


Thursday, September 22, 2005


Posted by: Ian 6:53 PM
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Wyatt looking forward to tough challenge.
Jonathan Wyatt is looking forward to the daunting challenge of adding another world title to his name on his home course in the world mountain running championship in Wellington on Sunday.
"It is a great course and I am looking forward to the challenge," said Wyatt.
"It would be great to get another one against my name, as the title has never been won two years in a row."
The 32 year old won the title in Italy last year, a week after finishing a creditable 21st in the Athens Olympic Games marathon, to make it four world mountain running titles.
"I have never won on an up and down course, the best I have done on this type of course was seventh in Borneo in 1999."
Wyatt sees the Italians as the toughest opponents on the Mt Victoria circuit.
"The Italians are always very strong, Marco Gaiardo and Emanuele Manzi are very good on this type of course and I have had some great battles in the past with Antonio Molinari," said Wyatt.
Virtually straight off a plane from Austria last Sunday Wyatt showed he is in top form with a convincing uphill victory in a local race in Wellington.
"That was good, and blew away the cobwebs," said Wyatt.
After Sunday Wyatt is back on a plane to Europe for one mountain race as a guest appearance.
"I will be back in October looking at how I will go about qualifying for the Commonwealth Games in the marathon," he added.
It is only the second time in 21 years that the championships have been held in the southern hemisphere and it is the second world athletic championship event to be held in New Zealand. In 1988 the world cross country championships were held in Auckland. Over 30 countries will be represented in Wellington on Sunday. 

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Moon delighted with interest in world champs on her doorstep.

Melissa Moon is getting a real buzz out of the international athletes that have arrived for the world mountain running championships in Wellington on Sunday.
The twice world champion in 2001 and 2003, said that it is creating a positive vibe around the city.
"All the athletes I have got to know in the past seven years over the world, and now seeing them here in little old Wellington is exciting," said Moon. 
"It is creating awareness about mountain running and athletics. It is amazing, we have 700 kids entered in the kid's race. I have been around the schools talking about the world champs and creating interest," she added.
 
The 36 year old said it has been a bit of a roller coaster for her leading up to the race over Mt Victoria.
"I had a terrible bout of flu then a bit of an ankle injury back from the Australian cross country champs.
"It has healed in the nick of time."
Moon said that when she won the title for the first time it was the most amazing thing out.
"When I won it a second time it was a lovely bonus," she said.
 
Moon says that from past experience no one athlete stands out from the rest going into a world championship.
"The courses vary so much, there are so many variables. You get to know which course will be absolutely perfect for a particular athlete in that it plays to their strengths like no other course," said Moon.
Wellington's other New Zealand representative Kate McIlroy has had an outstanding build up to the world championship, winning the New Zealand short and long course cross country titles in consummate ease.
"I'm pleased with the way training has gone, I'm looking forward to racing now, I'm just hanging out," said McIlroy.
"I definitely have gained confidence from the winter racing so I hope to use it to my advantage and that the good season continues." 
McIlroy has done plenty of practice on downhill running, something she says she doesn't enjoy but it has to be done. 
 
The strength that Moon and McIlroy carry over the top Europeans going into the championship, over 9.1km, is local knowledge, having raced and regularly trained over the course.
There are up to six athletes that are likely to press Moon and McIlroy hard for the title.
Angela Mudge the 2000 champion from Scotland who was second to Moon in 2003. Andrea Mayr of Austria, the European champion and third last year. Anna Pichrtova of the Czech Republic, European champion last year, second in the world championship last year and in 2001. Izabela Zatorska of Poland, over 10 years has won everything but the world trophy, was third in 2001 and 2002. Tracey Brindley of Scotland, third in 2003. Emma Murray from Australia, winner of the world mountain marathon title last year.
 
Jonathan Wyatt and Phil Costley carry New Zealand chances of the title in the men's event. Wyatt is the master of uphill running having won the title four times on the "uphill" format. On Sunday Wyatt will attempt to become the first person to win world titles in both the uphill and up and down formats.
 
Costley said that he has become pretty familiar with the course to the extent of working something out similar in his hometown of Christchurch to train on.
"The way the terrain of New Zealand goes I was able to work out something in Christchurch.
"Training has gone well. Uphill is my strength and the aim is to get a bit of a lead on the uphill as I can't compete with some of the Europeans on the downhill.
"Going into the last lap, It will be a case of building up a lead on the uphill to hold out the fast guys in the run to the finish.
Interest will also focus on Dale Warrander in his debut for New Zealand in a mountain race. Warrander will team up well with the rest of the New Zealanders in their bid for a high placing in the team competition.
European runners expected to feature in the top ten are from Slovenia Mitja Kosovelj and Peter Lamovec, Helmut Schiessl from Germany, Italians Marco Gaiardo and Immanuel Manzi and from England Billy Burns and John Brown. 
Manzi was second in 2001, Burns was third in 2001 and Gaiardo was third in 2003.
 
Juan Carlos Carera of Mexico is favourite for the junior men's title over 9.1km. Hayden McLaren, the New Zealand junior champion has recovered from the injury scare that forced him out of the New Zealand road championship at Feilding and could challenge for a medal.
The first three place getters in last year's junior women's, Jioulia Mochalova of Russia and Slovenia's Lucija Krock and Mateja Kosovelj should feature again. Ruth Croft is New Zealand's leading hope in the 4.7km race.
 
All events are based on a 4.2km lap with a total altitude gain of 310m. The first climb from Oriental Bay heads straight to the trig on Mt Victoria, a climb of 196m. The run then descends 96m on Mt Victoria's tracks before climbing back to the summit. Then follows a fast descent back down to Oriental Bay. There is a 400m flat section at the start of each event before commencing the uphill.
 
Start times:
10.00am Junior women 4.7km
11.30am Junior men 9.1km
1.00pm Men 13.5km
3.00pm Women 9.1km. 
 

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Posted by: Ian 11:12 PM
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Visitors Ready for Wellington World Champs

 

With the World Mountain Running Trophy just two days away Wellington is awash with international athletes from 28 countries. And both parties are loving it.

 

Everywhere you look in the Capital City this week, there are people running. Not just your lunchtime fitness fans either: leaner, meaner, faster runners, zipping here there and everywhere. And in particular up and down the slopes of Mt Victoria where they will come together on Sunday to race for the World Mountain Running trophy.

 

“It’s great to see all these international athletes running around town,” said Wellingtonian Lisa Phelan, a keen recreational multisporter who has been putting a year in Italy as a teenager to good use as interpreter for the heavily favoured Italian team.

 

Italy are the dominant nation on the world mountain running circuit. Their men’s team have not been beaten at a world championship for 20 years. Their setup, with as many managers, doctors, physios and coaches as athletes, is the envy of every other nation, many of whom travel on a shoestring.

 

On Wednesday Goran Cegar from Serbia and Montenagro was a lonely sight arriving in Wellington airport. It’s the first time his country has been represented at the World Mountain Running Trophy, and it hasn’t been easy. The airfare out to New Zealand is almost exactly the same amount as Cegar’s annual salary. A friend living in the U.S.A. paid for his airfare, and while in New Zealand he has only enough money for food.

 

Wellingtonians, however, have welcomed these fit figures. Every team has a local liaison person. On Thursday the Polish team will be welcomed at Wellington airport by the Polish Ambassador and a huge contingent from the Polish community. Later in the day the Turkish community will host a team from their home country in a visit to the war memorial around Wellington’s waterfront.

 

The New Zealand has also been in on the act. On Thursday they will visit schools around the Wellington region, hoping perhaps to inspire the next generation of mountain runners.

 

World Mountain Running Association Chairman, Danny Hughes from Great Britain, also arrived in Wellington today. Hughes is pleased with the Mt Victoria venue for the 21st World Mountain Running Trophy, saying: “It’s beautiful venue, and I like the multi lap course. It makes it a great race for spectators and media.”

 

The athletes too have been raving about the spectacular inner city course. This is the first time the World Mountain Running Trophy has been held in the Southern Hemisphere, and typically the event is held in remote high mountain locations. During training run on the course on Wednesday Canadian competitors Peter Vale and Lenny Mann waxed lyrical about the Capital City.

 

“It’s a great course. Really spectacular and varied, and so close to the people. It’s very unique.”

 

The World Mountain Running Trophy gets underway on Sunday, with races for Elite men and women and junior men and women. Wellingtonians Jonathan Wyatt and Melissa Moon are among the favourites to for the world titles. Moon has won two previous world titles (2001, 2003), while Wyatt has won four world titles (‘98, 2000, ‘02, ‘04) and is the defending champion.

 

Before Sunday, Wellington will open the World Trophy on Friday with a Parade of nations at midday through the city centre to Civic Square for an official welcome (powhiri). For more details: www.mountainrunning.co.nz

Monday, September 19, 2005


Posted by: Ian 6:14 PM
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Australia Adds Darkhorse World Champion to World Champs

 

Australia’s improved its chances in this weekend’s World Mountain Running Championships in Wellington with the surprise late addition of a former triathlon world champion.

 

Australia will have two world champion women on the start line when the World Mountain Running Trophy gets underway in Wellington on Sunday. But both have been a surprise to the international mountain running scene.

 

Australia made a surprise announcement over the weekend, replacing injured team member Vanessa Haverd with triathlon legend Jackie Fairweather (nee Gallagher).

 

Fairweather joins a strong Australian women’s team led by Emma Murray, who earlier this year surprised the mountain running scene with a surprise win in the world mountain marathon championships. If Fairweather can transfer her triathlon and marathon running talent to the rough and tumble of Wellington’s Mt Victoria, Australia will have a good chance for honours in the women’s team competition.

 

Fairweather is one of triathlon’s best ever performers. In an international career that started in Wellington with the 1994 World Triathlon Championship, she won two world triathlon and two world duathlon titles. In recent years she has returned to her teenage running roots and was a surprise bronze medallist in the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games marathon.

 

While a late replacement for the Australian team Fairweather has shown good recent form, wining the Australian marathon title in July. Her employment as head triathlon coach for the Australian Institute of Sport no doubt made it easy to whip across the Tasman at late notice. While her mountain running experience is limited, Fairweather – who is married to Olympic champion archer Simon Fairweather – is renown as a ferociously determined competitor.

 

In contrast to Fairweather her teammate Emma Murray is a mountain running specialist, but like Fairweather wasn’t known at all on the international scene until her surprise world mountain marathon win earlier this year. Ironically the least known contender has been drawn at random to wear race number “one” on her vest on Sunday.

 

Mountain running world champions Melissa Moon (NZ) and Angela Mudge (Scotland) might have something to say about that number. But with Murray and now Fairweather, the Australian team becomes the dark horse contender for the women’s team title on Sunday. With Moon and fellow Wellingtonian Kate McIlroy, New Zealand is also in with a chance. As is Scotland, with Mudge and former world mountain runner-up Tracey Brindley leading their team.

 

The favourites, however, are Italy whose entire four-person team have all won individual or team medals in previous world mountain running championships.

 

The World Trophy event kicks off on Sunday. Competitors race over the slopes of Mt Victoria from the start/finish base in Oriental Bay. A parade through central Wellington of all competing countries is scheduled for 12noon on Friday. Teams from 30 nations will march from Midland Park on Lambton Quay to Civic Square for an official welcome.

 

For further details see: www.mountainrunning.org.nz


Sunday, September 18, 2005


Posted by: Ian 4:15 PM
R

Wyatt Wins World Champs Warm Up


Wellington's Jonathan Wyatt enjoyed a winning warm up today for the defence of his world mountain running title next week in the Capital.

Wyatt, who only arrived home in Wellington on Thursday after six months training and racing in Europe, brushed off any thoughts of jetlag with a dominant win in the Meridian Energy Wind Turbine Run this morning.

After weeks of perfect weather Wellington turned on a southerly storm for the 7k run from the Botanical Gardens up to the Hawkins Hill Wind Turbine. But Wyatt, the four-time world mountain running champion, handled both the weather and a world-class field.

Several competitors for next week's world trophy event lined up for the Meridian Energy Wind Turbine event. Like Wyatt, runners from USA, Canada, Scotland, Poland, Czech Republic and Ireland all took the opportunity to test their form ahead of the world title race on Mt Victoria next Sunday.

The Wellington world champion had company for the early going through the Botanical Gardens, with Canada's Jason Louttit, Americans Simon Gutierrez and Paul, Czech Republic's Jan Hamr and Germany's Tino Zeiker following a solid early pace. But ironically it was on the flatter sections of the course through Kelburn that Wyatt stamped his authority.

By the last steep climbs along the edge of Karori Wild life Sanctuary up to the Wind Turbine, Wyatt was well clear and cruised through a wet and windy finish line more than a minute ahead in 18min 37secs.

Despite the weather he slashed the course record by more than a minute, with second placed Simon Gutierrez (USA) also close to the old record. Twenty-six seconds behind the American, Germany's Tino Zeiker out sprinted USA's Paul Low for third.

Wyatt was pleased with this last test before defending his world title next week. "Actually, with the weather being so bad I wasn't sure I should run," said the winner. "I was a bit worried about getting the flu or something, but I felt good out there so I'm glad I raced."

The women's race also produced a record. Laura Haefeli of the USA only arrived in the country yesterday but showed no signs of weariness when she romped away from a strong woman's field in a new course record of 23min 29secs.

The American didn’t have things all her own way. England's Victoria Wilkinson stayed close until the final few kilometres when Haefeli romped away on the only two downhills in the race to win by 23secs. Both women broke the previous course record, with Germany’s Lisa Reisinger third.

"That was fun," said Haefeli. "I actually quite like the rain, and I felt pretty good, better than I thought I would after only flying in yesterday."

Almost 20 countries are still yet to arrive for next Sunday’s World Mountain Running Trophy, which will feature more than 250 athletes from 27 countries racing on Mt Victoria. On Thursday Wellington will officially welcome the event with a Parade of nations through the city to Civic Square.

Results have been posted here:
http://www.mountainrunning.org.nz/results-turbine-2005.html

Friday, September 16, 2005


Posted by: Ian 8:38 PM
R
World Class Field for Wgtn Wind Turbine Run

What was designed as a fun run has turned into a world class race when close to 300 people go to the line for Wellington’s Meridian Energy Wind Turbine Run on Sunday.

The Wind Turbine Run is the opening event in a week of activities leading into the World Mountain Running Trophy to be held in Wellington next Sunday 25 September.

Organisers designed the Meridian Energy Wind Turbine as a promotional and fun event to inspire and inform locals about the following week’s World Trophy. But many of the World Trophy entrants have also entered for the 7km fun run.

More than 250 athletes from 30 countries will contest the world championship racing next Sunday. Competitors from Germany, Ireland, England, Poland, USA and Scotland have also entered the Wind Turbine event, which races from Anderson Park through the Botanical Gardens and Kelburn to the Wind Turbine on Hawkins Hill.

Wellington’s own four-time world mountain running champion Jonathan Wyatt was hoping for a low-pressure test of his form, but will face Germany’s Helmut Schiessl, the current world mountain marathon champion, and former world mountain running champion John Lenihan from Ireland.

Organisers are expecting more than 300 entrants for the Wind Turbine Run, but stress the event is a fun day for runners and walkers of all age, ability and aspirations.

Entries for the Meridian Energy Wind Turbine Run are still being taken: www.mountainrunning.org.nz.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Posted by: Ian 10:57 PM
R

Wyatt Warms Up With Wind Turbine Run

World mountain running champion Jonathan Wyatt arrives home this week to
defend his title on home soil in Wellington.

The four-time world champion has spent the past six months racing in Europe
where he leads the mountain running world series. He arrives home on
Thursday and will be looking for a last minute confidence booster in this
weekends Meridian Energy Wind Turbine Run.

The Wind Turbine Run is the opening of activities for the world champs week
in Wellington, which hosts the 21st World Mountain Running Trophy on Mount
Victoria on Sunday September 25.

More than 250 athletes from 30 countries are in town for the world title
event and like defending world champion Jonathan Wyatt, many of them will be
warming up with the Meridian Energy Wind Turbine Run this Sunday.

Wyatt is the favourite for the seven kilometre fun run and walk from
Anderson Park, through the Botanical gardens and Kelburn up to the Wind
Turbine on Hawkins Hill.

Organisers are expecting more than 300 entrants, but stress the event is a
fun day for runners and walkers of all age, ability and aspirations.

Sponsors Meridian Energy have entered almost 30 staff and challenge other
corporate houses to follow suite. Wellington’s Morrison family are certainly
taking that challenge. The wife of high profile businessman Lloyd Morrison
entered the whole family as a birthday present for her husband.

Entries for the Wind Turbine Run are still being taken:
www.mountainrunning.org.nz.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005


Posted by: Ian 6:57 PM
R
Entries for the 2005 World Mountain Running Trophy have been posted on the event web site and can be viewed at this address:

http://www.mountainrunning.org.nz/entrylist.html

The final newsletter for team managers is also online and can be viewed at the Managers' page

http://www.mountainrunning.org.nz/managers.html.

Friday, August 05, 2005


Posted by: Ian 1:07 PM
R
Online Entry is now available for the open race to be run in conjunction with the WMRT on 25 September 2005 on the World Trophy Course.


Sunday, June 05, 2005


Posted by: Ian 10:29 AM
R
The newsletter for team managers can be viewed now at the Team Managers' page.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Posted by: Ian 5:41 PM
R

Wellington's Melissa Moon and Christchurch’s Phil Costley claimed the first spots for the New Zealand team in the World Mountain Running Trophy to be held in Wellington when they dominated the national championships in the Capital today.

Racing on Wellington's Mt Victoria, both Moon and Costley used their international experience to defeat strong fields as New Zealand's best runners came out to test the course for the World Mountain Running Trophy in Wellington on September 25.

For Moon it was business as usual as the former two-time world mountain running champion won her fifth national title. But Costley called on a touch of desperation to shrugged off injury and defeat New Zealand rep Mike Wakelin (Wgtn) and defending national champion Callum Harland (Central Plateau).

Costley came to the Capital short of race fitness following a severe ankle injury in February's Speights Coast to Coast. But he also came hoping that his experience as a top 10 placegetter at the world championships would see him through to one of the three automatic spots in the New Zealand team for the World Mountain Running Trophy to be run over the same on September 25.

The two-time national champion opened up cautiously, running with a tight main bunch that included Wakelin, Harland, former national junior champion Glenn Hughes (Wgtn), national reps Wayne Atkins (Wgtn) and Seaton Meredith (Akld) and recently crowned Coast to Coast champion Richard Ussher.

A darkhorse in former sub-four minute miler Alan Bunce was also in the front bunch. The former Commonwealth Games 1500m runner came out of retirement earlier this year with a view to making the world championship team. Despite only a couple of months training following two years of inactivity Bunce held fourth position for much of the race only to suffer an injury on the last lap of the three-lap 13.5k course to struggle home in 11th.

Costley meanwhile shrugged off his own injury woes to romp away for a comfortable 36 second win. Despite doubts surrounding his fitness, the field played in the hands of the most experienced runner in the race, allowing Costley to dictate the pace and move when it suited him.

That moment came toward the end of the first lap when Costley decided to test his ankle on a downhill section and quickly found himself with a five second lead. Defending national champion Callum Harland chased hard but lost contact on the long climb up the 300m high Mt Victoria and a lap later Costley’s lead was out to 30 seconds.

On the final lap only a slight twist to the suspect ankle held Costley back as he cruised to his third national mountain running title ahead of Wellington Olympic's Mike Wakelin, who came from behind to rob Callum Harland of second place in the closing stages.

"I wasn’t really sure how I was going to go against a good field like this," said Costley moments after a win that surprised even himself.

"I knew Callum Harland likes the uphills, but I was more worried about my ankle on the downhills. I managed to get away on the second lap and was feeling pretty good. But on the last lap I started relaxing, lost concentration and rolled over on the ankle. That gave me a bit of a scare, so I eased back a bit and enjoyed the win after that."

The win gains Costley instant selection for the world championship event, to be held on the same Mt Victoria course on September 25. "I'm just glad to have got in that team," said a relieved Costley. "Now I have four months to get back to top shape for the world champs."

The first three place getters in Wellington gaining instant selection for the world title race, so Costley is joined by Mike Wakelin and Callum Harland. The three remaining spots in the six-man men's team for the world champs are chosen by selectors before August 10.

Wellington's reigning world champion Jonathan Wyatt is currently racing on the European mountain running circuit. Wyatt has won four world mountain running titles and a record-breaking win just last weekend in Meltina, Italy in the opening round of the World Mountain Grand Prix indicates that he is an almost automatic selection.

Wyatt's fellow Wellingtonian and fellow world champion Melissa Moon was racing on home soil yesterday though. In her first mountain race since winning the word title in Alaska back in 2003, Moon demolished a strong woman's field to win her fifth national mountain running title by 6 seconds.

Moon came into the race shy on racing but confident of her form after recording some of best ever training times on the Mt Victoria course. The Wellington schoolteacher and two-time world champion (2001 & 2003) trains on the world championship course almost every day and used that knowledge to her advantage to despatch a spirited challenge from fellow Wellingtonian Kate McIlroy.

McIlroy is one of New Zealand’s up and coming female middle distance runners and already has national titles to her credit. In her first mountain running race she clung to Moon on the first ascent of Mt Victoria, but was no match for the world champion on the steep and technically challenging downhill sections. After the first of two laps on the 9.7k course Moon held 33secs in hand and happy now that her racing legs had returned she romped away to win in 41min 52secs.

"That was a great confidence booster for the worlds," said Moon of the first major step in her goal of winning a third world title right outside her back door.

"I was conscious that Kate was going to be a threat today," she said. "The only way was to keep the pressure on and use my experience on the downhill sections."

The women's team for the world title event consists of four people. Moon and McIlroy gain automatic selection, with the final two positions to be filled by selectors before August.

The national championship event may well have been held in Wellington, but the scene was more akin to a Canterbury champs as Moon provided the only relief for a race that was dominated by the red and black. Cantabrians took three of the four main races on the tough Mt Victoria course, with Costley being joined on the top step of the podium by Hayden McLaren and Ruth Croft.

McLaren and Croft totally dominated the junior events, with McLaren defending his junior men's title from a year ago with a 51secs win ahead of Olympic Wellington club mates Brendon Blacklaws and Matt Singleton. McLaren and Blacklaws gained automatic selection for the four-person world champs team.

Ruth Croft was even more dominant in the junior women's race, winning the 4.7k race by a whopping 55 seconds to take the only automatic spot on junior women's team for the world title event. Wellingtonians Hayley Green and Samara Sheppard will be hoping they impressed selectors enough with their second and third placings.

In other races Wellington unknown Joseph Bulbulia dominated the masters men race while former world veteran champion Carlene Thomas finished fifth overall among women to take the masters woman's title.

With the World Mountain Running Trophy only four months away, the event director Arthur Klap was impressed both with the strong running of the top New Zealanders and the impressive support of the several thousand Wellingtonians who came out to support the event.

"This race was important to select New Zealand's team for the World Trophy," said Klap. "But it was also important to show Wellingtonians what to expect when the World Trophy comes to town."

The Mt Victoria course is unique in the mountain running world circuit. September will be only the second time the World Mountain Running Trophy has been held outside of Europe and most of the World Trophy events are based in relatively remote mountain and ski towns. Based on the popular Oriental Parade and Mt Victoria the Wellington World Mountain Running Trophy runs past the back door of tens of thousands residents.

Says Klap: "More than 300 athletes from 30 countries and more than 10,000 Wellingtonians screaming for their hometown world champions – it's going to be huge."

Results can be viewed at the Mountain Running Results Page.


Thursday, May 12, 2005


Posted by: Ian 11:13 PM
R

Costley Taking Long Shot At World Champs

Christchurch distance running doyen Phil Costley will face one of the
toughest challenges of his career this weekend when he shrugs off injury in
an attempt to make the New Zealand mountain running team for September's
World Mountain Running Trophy in Wellington.

Wellington's Mt Victoria hosts the Athletics New Zealand national mountain
running championships on Sunday. Racing over the steep and rugged trails of
the inner city Mt Victoria, the race is both a dress rehearsal for the world
title event on September 25 and the first stage of the selection process for
New Zealand's world championship team.

In normal circumstances Phil Costley would be a contender at any national
championship. The Christchurch schoolteacher has won more national distance
running titles than any other person in history, more than 20 at last count.
And as a former sixth place getter at the world mountain running trophy
Costley would normally be a shoe-in for the national team. But 2005 has been
anything but normal for Costley.

It started with a foray into multisport, when for a break from hard-core
distance running Costley took a tilt at the Speights Coast to Coast over
last summer. He finished a solid 13th, but the placing proved unlucky when
he severely turned his ankle while leading on the mountain run.

Four months later Costley is still struggling to regain full fitness. Three
weeks ago he won the Hanmer Half Marathon but just last week he was
comfortably beaten by New Zealand duathlon champion Mark Bailey over a 15k
road race. Racing over 13.5k on Sunday, he faces the countries best mountain
running exponents and must finish in the top three to be guaranteed a place
in the world championship team.

Facing defending champion Callum Harland (Central Plateau), former sub-four
minute miler Alan Bunce, Coast to Coast champion Richard Ussher and several
current and former New Zealand reps, it's a big ask. Especially with his
ankle still not 100 percent recovered or ready for the rough and tumble
terrain of Mt Victoria. But over the last decade Costley has proven to be
one of the gamest distance runners in New Zealand history.

One thing Costley will be happy about is the non-appearance of Wellington's
three-time world mountain running champion Jonathan Wyatt. The reigning
world champion is on an overseas campaign right now and will not be lining
up for the national championship, which is part of New Zealand's selection
process for the world title event.

The first three across the line get automatic selection, with the final
three placings open to selector discretion. With Wyatt not racing finishing
in the top three is more realistic. But if Costley can't make the top three
on Sunday his chances get smaller. Wyatt is expected to take on of the
discretionary places and Olympic marathoner Dale Warrander is also putting
his hand up. So unless Costley nabs a top three his world championship
chances will hang on whether the selectors think he can regain his form of
old by September 25.

Another putting her reputation on the line is Wellington's two-time world
mountain running champion Melissa Moon. Moon is chasing her fifth national
mountain running crown, but after a lengthy break from this discipline the
2001 and 2003 world champion could be open to challenge from a strong woman'
s field.

Racing over 9.1k, Moon faces Waikato's former world junior silver medallist
Sarah Devoy and former national reps Anna Frost of Dunedin and Jo Burkett of
Auckland. An unknown factor in the race is the entry of Wellington's Kate
McIlroy, a national champion in mainstream distance running disciplines
lining up for her first major mountain race.

Moon hasn't raced over her specialist format since winning her second world
title in Alaska in 2003. It was that year that Wellington was announced as
the host of the 2005 world title event, which prompted Moon to take a year
off from international competition to recharge the batteries for a 12-month
build-up aimed at winning the world title on the trails that she trains on
every day.

Despite being shy on racing the Wellington schoolteacher has been putting up
some of her best training ever around Mt Victoria. On Sunday she has to
finish first or second to guarantee selection for the four person women's
team for September's world championship. The last two places are then at
selector discretion.

In other races, Christchurch's Hayden McLaren is also favoured to defend the
national junior title he won on Cardrona ski field last year. Among junior
women the race is expected to come down to Wellington's Hayley Green and
Melissa Murrihy from Taumarunui. Wellingtonians are favoured for the veteran
titles, with former national reps Barry Prosser, Paul Forster and Liam
Healey taking on Nelson's Patrick Meffan, also a former national rep.
Wellington's Michelle Allison is favourite among veteran women.

Based from the spectacular Oriental Parade beach front, the tough Mt
Victoria course is the same that will be used for the World Trophy event on
September 25. Thus far close to 350 fifty athletes from 30 countries have
signed up for the world title event.


R

Costley Taking Long Shot At World Champs

Christchurch distance running doyen Phil Costley will face one of the
toughest challenges of his career this weekend when he shrugs off injury in
an attempt to make the New Zealand mountain running team for September's
World Mountain Running Trophy in Wellington.

Wellington's Mt Victoria hosts the Athletics New Zealand national mountain
running championships on Sunday. Racing over the steep and rugged trails of
the inner city Mt Victoria, the race is both a dress rehearsal for the world
title event on September 25 and the first stage of the selection process for
New Zealand's world championship team.

In normal circumstances Phil Costley would be a contender at any national
championship. The Christchurch schoolteacher has won more national distance
running titles than any other person in history, more than 20 at last count.
And as a former sixth place getter at the world mountain running trophy
Costley would normally be a shoe-in for the national team. But 2005 has been
anything but normal for Costley.

It started with a foray into multisport, when for a break from hard-core
distance running Costley took a tilt at the Speights Coast to Coast over
last summer. He finished a solid 13th, but the placing proved unlucky when
he severely turned his ankle while leading on the mountain run.

Four months later Costley is still struggling to regain full fitness. Three
weeks ago he won the Hanmer Half Marathon but just last week he was
comfortably beaten by New Zealand duathlon champion Mark Bailey over a 15k
road race. Racing over 13.5k on Sunday, he faces the countries best mountain
running exponents and must finish in the top three to be guaranteed a place
in the world championship team.

Facing defending champion Callum Harland (Central Plateau), former sub-four
minute miler Alan Bunce, Coast to Coast champion Richard Ussher and several
current and former New Zealand reps, it's a big ask. Especially with his
ankle still not 100 percent recovered or ready for the rough and tumble
terrain of Mt Victoria. But over the last decade Costley has proven to be
one of the gamest distance runners in New Zealand history.

One thing Costley will be happy about is the non-appearance of Wellington's
three-time world mountain running champion Jonathan Wyatt. The reigning
world champion is on an overseas campaign right now and will not be lining
up for the national championship, which is part of New Zealand's selection
process for the world title event.

The first three across the line get automatic selection, with the final
three placings open to selector discretion. With Wyatt not racing finishing
in the top three is more realistic. But if Costley can't make the top three
on Sunday his chances get smaller. Wyatt is expected to take on of the
discretionary places and Olympic marathoner Dale Warrander is also putting
his hand up. So unless Costley nabs a top three his world championship
chances will hang on whether the selectors think he can regain his form of
old by September 25.

Another putting her reputation on the line is Wellington's two-time world
mountain running champion Melissa Moon. Moon is chasing her fifth national
mountain running crown, but after a lengthy break from this discipline the
2001 and 2003 world champion could be open to challenge from a strong woman'
s field.

Racing over 9.1k, Moon faces Waikato's former world junior silver medallist
Sarah Devoy and former national reps Anna Frost of Dunedin and Jo Burkett of
Auckland. An unknown factor in the race is the entry of Wellington's Kate
McIlroy, a national champion in mainstream distance running disciplines
lining up for her first major mountain race.

Moon hasn't raced over her specialist format since winning her second world
title in Alaska in 2003. It was that year that Wellington was announced as
the host of the 2005 world title event, which prompted Moon to take a year
off from international competition to recharge the batteries for a 12-month
build-up aimed at winning the world title on the trails that she trains on
every day.

Despite being shy on racing the Wellington schoolteacher has been putting up
some of her best training ever around Mt Victoria. On Sunday she has to
finish first or second to guarantee selection for the four person women's
team for September's world championship. The last two places are then at
selector discretion.

In other races, Christchurch's Hayden McLaren is also favoured to defend the
national junior title he won on Cardrona ski field last year. Among junior
women the race is expected to come down to Wellington's Hayley Green and
Melissa Murrihy from Taumarunui. Wellingtonians are favoured for the veteran
titles, with former national reps Barry Prosser, Paul Forster and Liam
Healey taking on Nelson's Patrick Meffan, also a former national rep.
Wellington's Michelle Allison is favourite among veteran women.

Based from the spectacular Oriental Parade beach front, the tough Mt
Victoria course is the same that will be used for the World Trophy event on
September 25. Thus far close to 350 fifty athletes from 30 countries have
signed up for the world title event.


Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Posted by: Ian 12:04 PM
R
The World Mountain Running Trophy, to be hosted in Wellington on September 25, is shaping up as the most prestigious running event in New Zealand for 16 years.

At the recent close of preliminary entries for the World Mountain Running Trophy 344 athletes from 30 countries had registered for the Wellington world title event, making it the most prestigious international running event on New Zealand shores since the world cross country championship in Auckland in 1988.

New Zealanders are the dominant force on the world mountain running scene, with Wellingtonians Jonathan Wyatt and Melissa Moon both being multi-world title holders. In 2004 Wyatt won his fourth world title (1998, 2000, 2002, 2004), while Moon has won two world titles (2001, 2003).

Wellington event promoter Arthur Klap has been successful in bringing the World Mountain Running Trophy event to their hometown, to be run on Mt Victoria on September 25.

Wyatt and Moon train on Wellington's Mt Victoria almost every day. Based from Oriental Parade, the course will runs up and over the steep and rough tracks of Mt Victoria, which while giving runners a suitable challenge will also make for the most spectator friendly course in the history of the world trophy event.

Jonathan Wyatt recently ran a time trial over the course prior to leaving for his annual European campaign. Other Kiwi standouts will get a chance to run a full dress rehearsal on the Mt Victoria course when the New Zealand championships and world trophy trials are held on May 15.

The New Zealand and World event will be run over the same course. Both the New Zealand championship and the world trophy event will also feature a mass-participation fun run that will give citizens the experience of running and walking over the same course, on the same day as the world's best mountain runners.

According to New Zealand Community Trust CEO, Bill Day, the event provides another great opportunity to showcase Wellington to the world.

The championship and peoples race are being funded in part by the New Zealand Community Trust and Day says, "It is particularly pleasing that the people of Wellington and visitors to the city will have opportunity to see the world's very best mountain runners, free of charge, racing for the sport's highest honour".

Wellington will be only the second time the World Mountain Running Trophy has been held out of the mountain running hotbed of Europe and interest from sponsors and the local community has pleased Arthur Klap and his organisational committee. Schools are set to adopt each of the 30 countries and a huge civic reception will welcome the 344 athletes to Wellington.

Standout countries other than New Zealand are expected to include Italy, Eritrea, Austria, England, Ireland, Slovenia, Turkey, Wales, USA and Mexico. National teams are limited to six in the men's race and four in the women's and junior men and three in the junior women.

Klap is pleased to see world number one, Italy, sending a full team. But is equally pleased to see mountain running minnows such as Monaco and San Marino sending teams.

Klap is also looking forward to seeing Wellington's own world champions taking on the best in their own backyard. "I think New Zealanders are going to be surprised with just how much Jonathan Wyatt and Melissa Moon are revered in Europe. Overseas countries want to come down here and see how we do it."

Countries Entered for World Trophy
































CountryMenWomenJ/MenJ/Women
Australia6443
Austria6440
Belgium4200
Belarus4100
Canada6400
Croatia6400
Czech Republic6443
England6443
Eritrea5043
France6432
Germany4332
Ireland6443
Italy6443
Mexico4120
Monaco1100
Netherlands1000
Nthn Ireland6400
New Zealand6443
Poland6233
Russia2233
Serbia & Mont6443
Scotland4441
Slovenia6443
San Marino5000
Switzerland6400
Slovak Republic2221
Turkey2133
Ukraine4000
USA6432
Wales6443

Sunday, February 13, 2005


Posted by: Ian 9:57 PM
R
Race Director Murray McGoughran advises that the 2005 WMRT course is now marked - so that local runners and travellers to Wellington are able to try out the courseat their own convenience.

Course markings are in place from the bottom of Hay Street (Oriental Bay), and consist of a capital 'M' with a captial 'V', the point of the 'V' indicating the direction of travel - left, right or straight on. The markings are in fluoro green and easy to spot.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Posted by: Ian 5:15 PM
R
Organisers of the World Mountain Running Trophy in Wellington next year have been blown away by the response from the world scene.

New Zealanders are the dominant force on the world mountain running scene, with Wellingtonians Jonathan Wyatt and Melissa Moon both being multi-world title holders. But in September next year the world's best mountain runners come to Wellington.

Wellington event promoter Arthur Klap has been successful in bringing the World Mountain Running Trophy event to Wellington, to be run on Mt Victoria on September 25. Klap, who has twice staged world triathlon championships and is also behind Rotorua's world mountain biking championship in 2006, sees the world trophy event as a great chance for Wellingtonians to see their own world champions compete in their own back yard.

Wellingtonians Jonathan Wyatt and Melissa Moon have dominated the World Trophy event in recent years, with Moon winning it twice (2003 and 2001) and Wyatt this year winning his fourth world title in Italy just a week after competing in the Olympic marathon. And both are very keen to face the world's best mountain runners on a course that they know only too well.

Wyatt and Moon train on Wellington's Mt Victoria almost every day. The World Mountain Running Trophy will be held on those same steep slopes, which while giving runners a suitable challenge will also make for the most spectator friendly course in the history of the event.

However, international interest in the Wellington world title event has caught Klap and his organisational team on the hop. Wellington will be only the second time the event has been held out of the mountain running hotbed of Europe and Klap was expecting a decline in usual entries.

"Based on past World Trophy events, and the fact that this is the first time the championships have been held so far out of Europe, we had budgeted for 320 athletes from 30 countries" says Klap. "But preliminary entries are up to 389 competitors from 33 countries and we still haven't heard from Asian countries like Japan, Malaysia, Singapore etc."

Klap has just returned from the 2004 World Trophy event in Italy, where he watched Jonathan Wyatt decimate the field for the fourth time. But where he also fielded huge enthusiasm surrounding next years Wellington World Trophy from mountain running heavy weights such as Italy, Austria, England, Ireland, Slovenia, Turkey, Wales and USA.

"New Zealand really has always been seen as a great place to travel to," says Klap. "But we have this reputation among mountain runners too. I think New Zealanders are going to be surprised with just how much Jonathan Wyatt is revered in Europe. Overseas countries want to come down here and see how we do it."

Klap is pleased that Italy, who have been the traditionally dominant nation in mountain running prior to New Zealand, have indicated their enthusiasm, saying, "It's important that we have the best runners in the world here." But he is also just as excited with entries from mountain running minnows such as the Czech Republic, who have not been a major player in mountain running.

But as pleased as he is, Klap says, "As organisers we now have to work through the headache of accommodating them all."

Team sizes are limited to 17 athletes, made up of six men, four women, four junior men and three junior women. But with support staff from each country also totalling more than 200 people, organisers must find inner city group accommodation for almost 600 people.

But as Klap says: "If accommodation is our major worry then Wellington's World Trophy is shaping up to be hugely successful."

For further details: Ph: Arthur Klap - 04 386 4992. Email - arthur@sportsimpact.co.nz. Web: www.mountainrunning.org.nz

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


Posted by: Ian 10:18 PM
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Whether or not you are a competitive mountain runner, you can be part of
the event and part of New Zealand's running history.

The event managers are now seeking volunteers to help operate the New
Zealand mountain running champs and/or the World Mountain Running
champs. If you would like to be involved please send your name, email
address and phone number to the Event Director Arthur Klap -
arthur@mountainrunning.org.nz


Monday, September 06, 2004


Posted by: Ian 10:14 PM
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Wyatt Wins 4th World Title

Just a week after finishing 21st in the Olympic marathon, Jonathan Wyatt
once again led NZ's efforts at the world mountain running trophy. Racing in
Sauze d'Oulux in Italy, Wyatt dominated the uphill race to finish more than
a minute ahead of Tesfayouhanis (Eritrea) and Raymond Fontaine (France).

Other New Zealander4s in the 154-strong men's field included Callum Harland
(46th), Alistair Snowdon (62nd), Mike Wakelin (69th), Joe Piggin (84th) and
Kim Hogarth (95th) in a field of 154 runners.

In the women's event New Zealand's top performer was Shireen Crumpton with
a strong run in eighth place, followed home by Rachel Penney 25th place,
Anna Frost 44th and Belinda Wimmer in 64th.

In the junior men's race New Zealand's leading athlete was Hayden McLaren
in 46th place, Matthew Singleton 55th, Bevan Stevens 63rd and Hamish
Clareburt 65th.


Monday, August 30, 2004


Posted by: Ian 5:00 PM
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NZers were in action in the weekend at the World Masters Mountain Running
Championships in Turin, Italy. Highlights included three medals to NZ. The
official World Mountain Running Trophy will be held next week at the same
venue: for further details: http://www.wmrt2004.org/en_index.htm

MASTER M40
17 PEARSON Graeme 1959 NZL Lake City Athletic 50'18

MASTER MASCHILE M45
3 MEFFAN Patrick 1959 NZL Atletic Nelson 49'28
11 FORSTER Paul 1959 NZL 52'10
15 EARWAKER Colin 1956 NZL 52'51

MASTER MASCHILE M55
3 OGILVIE Trevor 1948 NZL Lake City Athletic Clu 56'06

MASTER FEMMINILE MF35
5 DRURY Leanne 1966 NZL 1:00'59




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The first-ever World Mountain Long Distance Championship were raced in Switzerland on Aug 10. Run in conjunction with the famous Sierra-Zinal Mountain Run at the base of the Matterhorn, the race attracted almost 3000 starters and was won by Mexican ultra legend Mejia Ricardo. For further details visit: http://www.wmra.info/
 

Thursday, July 29, 2004


Posted by: Ian 10:38 AM
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The organisers of the 2005 World Mountain Running Championship extend a warm welcome to runners from around the world who will travel to Wellington to compete in 2005.  In addition to the World Championship itself, there is a chance to try out the course at the New Zealand Mountain Running Championship to be held in May 2005.  There is also a warm-up mountain race to the landmark wind turbine at Polhill, to be held the week before the World Championship.  Full information, online registration, results, photos and full coverage will be provided via this web site.

The event director's welcome is here.