News & Updates

6 June 2023 • Mountain Running

New Zealand all set for 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships challenge

Women’s team skipper Sarah Douglas is all set for her fifth World Mountain Running Championship appearance.

New Zealand boast a 19-strong team set to compete in the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Innsbruck-Stubai Austria from Wednesday-Saturday 7-10 June.

Comprising a mix of experienced performers and international debutants, the Kiwi athletes will line up against the best in the world in the uphill mountain running race, the classic mountain run (uphill and downhill) and short and long trail races across the four-day programme.

Leading the four-strong Kiwi line up in the 7.1km (elevation 1020m) women’s uphill mountain race starting at midnight (Wednesday) is the four times national mountain running champion Sarah Douglas.

The 38-year-old Queenstown Athletics club member is lining up at her fifth World Mountain Running Championship having placed 44th in the uphill race at last year’s event in Thailand. Douglas will also serve as the women’s team captain in Austria.

Joining Douglas on the New Zealand team in the uphill event is three-time New Zealand Mountain Running champion Sabrina Edwards. The 29-year-old Lake City athlete is also set for her fourth World Mountain Running Championship appearance. Kate Morrison of Sumner AC returns to compete for New Zealand having placed 47th in this event at the 2022 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Chiang Mai. Set for her debut appearance in the championship is 19-year-old Maia Flint (VUW Athletics), who impressed to win a national mountain running silver medal in March.

Edwards, Douglas and Morrison return to compete in the Classic Mountain Running on Saturday at midnight. Also competing over the two-loop total distance of 15km for New Zealand in Andrea Peat (Wellington Harriers). who finished 44th at the 2019 World Mountain Running Championships.

Three Kiwi athletes line up in the men’s uphill only mountain race on Wednesday at 11pm led by Toby Batchelor (Pakuranga) who finished number one Kiwi in 40th in this event at the 2022 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships. Versatile Michael Sutton (Athletics Tauranga) the national steeplechase champion and 2023 New Zealand Mountain Running silver medallist, who finished four places behind Batchelor in Chiang Mai last year, also competes. Niam Macdonald of Wellington Scottish is set for his third World Mountain appearance after competing at the 2018 and 2019 editions.

Batchelor, Sutton and Macdonald return for the classic race at 10pm on Saturday and they will be joined by men’s team skipper Andy Good (University of Canterbury) the reigning New Zealand Mountain Running champion who finished 59th at the 2019 World Mountain Running Championships in Argentina.

The 2022 and 2023 national U20 mountain champion Ben Rickerby (Auckland City) will compete in the U20 Classic race at 8pm on Saturday keen to improve on his 31st place finish from the 2022 edition in Thailand.

The 45.2km (3132m elevation) Short Trail Championships takes place from 7pm on Thursday with four women and one man set to take to the start line.

Katie Morgan (Run Timaru), the 2022 and 2023 national trail running champion, leads the Kiwi quartet in the women’s race keen to make an impact at her first global championship event in New Zealand colours.

Athletics Nelson duo – Caitlin Fielder, a former winner of the 50km at the Tarawera Ultramarathon, and Amelia Horne, a bronze medallist at the 2022 New Zealand Short Course Trail Championships, are all set for the debut appearance at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships. While Jessica Campbell of the Sumner club returns having placed 51st in this event at last year’s edition in Thailand.

The sole male Kiwi representative is Dwight Grieve (Fiordland), who placed fifth in the 2022 New Zealand Trail Running Championships.

Four New Zealand athletes compete in the 85km (5554m elevation) long trail race starting at 4.30pm on Friday with the three-strong male contingent spearheaded by Weston Hill. The Trentham United Harriers athlete and reigning New Zealand Trail Running champion, who placed 43rd in this event at the 2022 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, will be seeking a quality performance against a world-class field.

The 2022 New Zealand long trail running champion Samuel Hansby (Wellington Harriers) and experienced endurance athlete Wayne Botha (Takapuna Harriers) also compete. The sole Kiwi woman set to take on the gruelling 85km test is former national 100km champion Shannon Leigh-Litt (Hatea Harriers). 

Women’s team captain Sarah Douglas said: “I’m very grateful to have been able to pull on the New Zealand singlet many times before. In some ways as I get older it becomes more special as it is harder to keep the body healthy. I never take these moments for granted.”

Men’s team skipper Andy Good said: “I’m really honoured to be named team captain. I’m proud to be given that responsibility and I hope to lead from the front and put in a good performance, which can hopefully lift the rest of the team.”

New Zealand Team Manager John Bowden said: “We have an exciting blend of experienced athlete and international newbies athletes who will take up the challenge for New Zealand. The opposition is formidable with the depth of quality and nations competing greater than at the 2022 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Thailand. It will be a big test for our athletes, but I look forward to seeing how they all perform across the four-day programme.”

***For live results go here

***There will be a livestream of the event via the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships see more here  and via their Facebook page