22 SEP 2011 General News

Wales set to host Commonwealth Mountain and Ultradistance championships

Defending Commonwealth 24-Hour Race champion Sharon Gayter of England (Sharon Gayter)Defending Commonwealth 24-Hour Race champion Sharon Gayter of England (Sharon Gayter) © Copyright

The 2nd Commonwealth Mountain and Ultradistance Running Championships take place from 23-25 September in North Wales.


The championships this year comprise of three events encompassing the 24 Hour ultra run, The Up- and Down- Mountain race and 53km Trail run. The events are taking place in three different venues: Llandudno (24 Hours), Up- and Down- Mountain Race (Llanberis) and the 53km Trail run (Anglesey).


One hundred-ninety athletes from 18 nations will be participating in the three-day championships and competing to take individual and team titles within the Commonwealth nations.


24 Hour Race (23-24 September, Llandudno) -


The 24 Hour race begins at noon on Friday (23). The race has several outstanding athletes in the field. A lot of these runners have been preparing for the Commonwealth Championships since the event was announced last year.


Jo Blake of Australia will be hoping to lead the men’s team to another gold medal performance after notching up silver in Keswick 2009. He will be given a challenge from the local favourite John Pares who ran an outstanding bronze medal finish two years back. Christopher Carver will be leading the charge for a strong English team.


In the women’s race Sharon Gayter of England is back to defend her title. Gayter is the only returning champion in all the contested events, and will have her work cut out for her running against Australian Sharon Scholz, the current IAU Athlete of the Year who established several personal bests in the 2010 season. Perennial top performers Valerie Muskett of New Zealand and Scotland’s Pauline Walker will attempt to run top performances in Llandudno as well.


The 24 Hour run is on a one-kilometre loop. The course is on a tarmac based dual carriageway and is well lit for night time running.


Up- and Down- Mountain Race (24 September, Llanberis)


The Up- and Down Mountain race takes place on Saturday (24) with the women starting at 14:00 and men at 15:30 local time. Several runners in the event are coming off of strong performances at the recently concluded World Championships.


In the men’s event Billy Burns of England was a podium finisher at the last edition of these championships. He will try to move up the podium in Llanberis. James Coubrough (NZL), Robbie Simpson (SCO) and Tim Davies (WAL) will all try to secure individual and team placing during the race.


In the women’s event, former European championship podium finisher Sarah Tunstall (ENG) will try to emulate her outstanding run from Keswick. She will be part of a strong English team including recent fifth place finisher at the worlds, Lizzie Adams. Hubertien Wichers (AUS) and Anna Barlett (WAL) will try to lead their teams to a podium finish.


The race is taking place in the village of Llanberis and will be run in the shadow of the famous Snowdon Mountain, the highest in England and Wales.


53.75km Trail Race (25 September, Anglesey)


The 53.75km Trail Race takes place in Anglesey on Sunday (25) starting at 10:45. This race is a new addition to the Commonwealth Championship programme given the growing popularity of trail running.


In the men’s event, current silver medalist from the World trail championships, Jason Loutitt (CAN) will be in the field. The competition also includes several fast Englishmen in Paul Fernandez and Allen Smalls. Brendan Davies (AUS) and Paul Halford (WAL) will try to land personal bests and podium spots.


In the women’s event, bronze medalist from Connemara, Lucy Colquhoun (SCO) will toe the start line and will face former 100Km World champion Lizzie Hawker (ENG). The race also included current 50Km World Trophy Final winner, Emma Gooderham (ENG). In addition former World trail championship second place finisher Angela Mudge (SCO) and a former top-5 finisher at the World Trophy Final 2010, Helen Taranowski will also be in the field.


The trail race is scheduled in Newborough Forest on the Isle of Anglesey. The course is looped and will see the runners come by the spectators’ area frequently during the race.


The Championships are an avenue to promote the two disciplines of mountain and ultrarunning in the Commonwealth arena. The events have the support of both the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) and the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU).


Nadeem Khan (IAU) for the IAAF