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Former champions to battle out the national mountain running title

Former champions to battle out the national mountain running title

Glenn Hughes

Glenn Hughes

Glenn Hughes is expecting a pretty tough race over an exposed rugged up and down course when he tackles the New Zealand mountain running championship in Porirua on Saturday.

The 28 year old from Wellington Scottish Club won in 2009 was third last year and second in 2007 and 2008. He has considerable experience in mountain running having also won the national under 20 titles in 2000 and 2001. Hughes has also represented New Zealand at the world championships.“I have been trying to be consistent in training rather than doing big mileage in the lead up to the race,” said Hughes.
“The weather will play a part as the course is exposed to the weather,” he added.

Angus Bell of Tauranga, the 2007 champion when the race was held on a similar up and down course will provide Hughes with plenty of competition in the 13.3km race on Colonial Knob.

An interesting entry is Neville Smith from Hastings, a handy steeplechaser who won the national 3000m steeplechase titles in 2007 and 2010.

Daniel Clendon of Wellington, a quick down hill runner and solid up hill comes into the race fresh from his victory in the Mt Lowry 22km race last month.
The event will have an international flavour with Canadian representative James Richardson taking part. Richardson who competes for Wellington Scottish ran for Canada in the 2008 and 2010 world mountain running championships. Former New Zealand junior representative Hayden Prosser of Olympic Wellington is entered.

Ruby Muir of Tauranga Ramblers has the form and background to take out the senior women’s title over 8.8km. The 19 year old won the Queen of the Mountain title in bare feet at Mt Maunganui at the end of December and regularly features in the trail and off road mountain events.
“It is a shorter distance to what I used to; I’m into the trail runs over the marathon distance,” said Muir.

Also competing in the women’s race are Demelza Murrihy-Topp third for the last two years, Jane Reedy from the UK, Piret Klade, Tina Harris and Emily Solsberg from Wellington Scottish. Klade beat Solsberg last month in the Mt Lowry 11.75km mountain race by four seconds. Solsberg, wife of Richardson, represented Canada at the 2009 world mountain running championships. Sarah Coughlan from Christchurch, third in the Kepler Challenge in December, is also entered in the women’s race.

Shay Williamson from Whakatane will be defending his junior men’s title over the 8.8km course. Nicole Mitchell, Alice Forster, Zara Murrihy and Elizabeth and Kathryn Bunckenburg who were fifth and sixth respectively in 2009 are the leading runners in the junior women’s 5km.

Grant McLean, Liam Healey, Paul Forster and Mark Handley should feature in the masters men over 8.8km and Wendy Cottrell-Teagan winner in 2009 should lead in the master women over the 8.8km distance.

There is an open event over 5km at 9.45am, the first championship race, the junior women also starts at 9.45am. The senior women is timed for 10.30am with the senior men starting at 12.30pm.

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