The 2018 World Mountain Running Champs are about to take place in Canillo, Andorra and this year New Zealand has a strong senior women's, with 4 women representing, ALL running in Altra Running shoes!
Below Nancy Jiang gives us a run-down on the 34th World Mountain Running Champs and chats with her fellow New Zealand mountain running reps-
Nestled in the Pyrenees and wedged between France and Spain is the small mountainous country Andorra. Andorra has a current population of around 80,000 and to drive from one end of the country to the other takes approximately one hour. On 16th September, 311 runners from 39 countries will compete in the 34th edition of the World Mountain Running Championship taking place in Canillo, Andorra.
Every year the competition alternates between a full uphill race and a half downhill-half uphill race. This year will be a full uphill year. The competition programme includes two races: senior and junior, for both males and females. The senior race will be 11.7 km long, with 1,110 m of positive difference and 200 of negative. The junior race is 7.7 km long, with 610 metres of positive difference and 170 of negative.
I made the switch from road running to trails/mountains a year and a half ago when I was in France for 5 months, 3 of which were spent in the French Alps. I felt like I had plunged head first into the world of mountain running, not sure if I was going to sink or swim. My mountain running journey has taken me from small races organised by local villages in the Alps to the largest trail running event in the world and now to the championships. I am very fortunate to be able to share my first Mountain Running Champs with three incredible ladies whom are all running in Altras. You could say we hope to be the A-Team.
Senior Women’s NZ team
Why do you run? Enjoyment, health and to see amazing places. And to counterbalance my enjoyment of beer.
Why mountain running? The higher you go, the better the beer.
Why Altra shoes and which model is your favourite? Aside from how fashionable they are, I wear ALtra for the wide toe box. I have multiple Neuroma’s in both my feet, the wider I can spread my toes the better they feel. I’m going to have to categorise on the model question. Technical trail: Superiors, non technical trail/road: Escalante, Races (road and non technical trail): Vanish R
Which model will you be wearing for the race? Right now the Vanish R. But if it rains a lot before the race then I will wear my Superiors.
How many Mountain Running Championships have you competed in? This will be my second. I raced in 2016 in Bulgaria.
Which one is your most memorable? Hopefully this one. Bulgaria will always be memorable...the cabbage, the hospital, the cabbage, the language barrier, the cabbage and the laughs.
Do you have any pre-race rituals/superstitions? Aside from the normal check you have the right day, time and place (we’ve all been there right?!), I also triple knot my shoes so they know it’s not a normal doubled knotted running day.
What will be your race tactic/strategy? To do the silver fern proud
What are your goals/key races? My goal for the World Champs is to do better than I did in 2016 and to soak up the atmosphere of representing my country. I’m also hoping this is a qualifying race for Crush the Cargill.
Why do you run? For fun! To clear my head, to explore and for the love of a bit of competition.
Why mountain running? Whats better than the feeling of satisfaction you get when you’ve been grinding up a hill? Not much for me so far.
Why Altra shoes and which model is your favourite? Shoes that are effective. Altra Escalante are my go to, have not had a blister since I got them!
Which model will you be wearing for the race? Escalante or Superior depending on the day.
How many Mountain Running Championships have you competed in? Lucky enough for this to be my second.
Which one is your most memorable? Hopefully this one! Premana last year was amazing but his year with an amazing team of women I am much more excited.
Do you have any pre-race rituals/superstitions? White bread with honey, triple knot the shoes (after they came undone 3 times at the Dunedin Marathon).
What will be your race tactic/strategy? Go hard, leave it all out there.
What are your goals/key races? Do myself, my team and my training proud. Race with spirit.
Why do you run? I run for many reasons. I really enjoy the freedom that running gives me, I can run wherever I want to whenever I want to. It allows me to see the places I run in a totally different light. I have also found that running has taken me places that I thought not possible; like world mountain running on the other side of the world for example.
Why mountain running? That is a long story. When I was year 12 (16 years old) I broke my toe and had to have surgery, because of this I could not run for 10 weeks but I was still determined to be part of the scene. During this 10 weeks the New Zealand mountain running champs was held in my home town Nelson. I went to go and watch to support my friends who were racing. I ended up hobbling all around the course with my foot in a brace. However I remember being really inspired and I told myself that as soon as I recovered I would train up and run this race the next year. And my love for mountain running just blossomed from there.
Why Altra shoes and which model is your favourite? Altra shoes because they are the only shoe that fits my foot and still does the job of a shoe - protecting it from rocks and other harm. My favourite shoe is the superior 3.0
Which model will you be wearing for the race? The altra superior 3.0. This was my first pair of altra shoes and are perfect for the mountain running terrain.
How many Mountain Running Championships have you competed in? I feel very privileged to say that this will be my third mountain running champs. However this is my first year in the open women’s grade.
Which one is your most memorable? Well I can not pick one. All have been memorable in different ways.
Do you have any pre-race rituals/superstitions? Not really, I have just adjusted to being able to work with anything before a race. In the past I have liked to race in highlighter yellow socks, eat bananas and drink coffee before a race.
What will be your race tactic/strategy? Now that is a secret haha! To be honest I think I will decide a second before the start gun goes and adjust it according to the terrain and what else happens in the race. You never really know. However I do plan to finish with being able to say that I left it all out there.
What are your goals/key races? I just want to keep running, being inspired and keep challenging myself. I would love to in the future do some ultra marathons.
Why do you run? Running is freedom for me, I love the ability to go where I desire and explore on my own two feet.
Why mountain running? I am an outdoors person. Being out in nature is relaxing. Prior to mountain running, I have struggled with niggles from the endless miles on the road, since the switch to mountain running, my body has been feeling a lot better.
Why Altra shoes and which model is your favourite? My asian square toes do not like the pointed toe box of most other running shoe brands. Before wearing Altras, I was battling with black toenails. But now my toes are not squished and the feeling is amazing. My favourite model are the Lone Peaks 3.5, which is my go-to shoes for training in the rocky terrain of the Alps. They were also the shoes that I wore in my UTMB 2018 OCC race.
Which model will you be wearing for the race? Because the race is a lot shorter than what I have been running this season, I will be wearing the Superiors which are a lighter trail running shoe.
How many Mountain Running Championships have you competed in? This will be my first.
Which one is your most memorable? I guess this one!
Do you have any pre-race rituals/superstitions? I always sleep in my racing clothes the night before. I don’t know if it is a pre-race ritual or just purely out of laziness to get changed in the morning. I guess it is one less thing to think about in the morning of the race
What will be your race tactic/strategy? Go hard or go home, and home is too far!! I hope the strength I have developed from the past few months of running in the mountains will give me the kick I need in the last few km’s of the race.
What are your goals/key races? I have been given the opportunity to compete in the World Sky running series which I am super excited about. I am also keen to run a few of the mountain running races in the south island especially as I will be basing myself down in Queenstown this summer.