ANU student, Elizabeth Humphries, has defended her Australian Mountain Running Championships in Adelaide on Sunday 9 April with a dominant 4 minute victory over second place.
The Australian Mountain Running Championships in Adelaide consisted of two laps of a 6.5 km course in the Adelaide hills. Each lap contained over 430m of very steep uphill running (up to a 40% gradient in some sections) and a gradual and very fast downhill. Mountain running is a lot more strength-based than conventional road running; it requires good glute and hamstring strength for uphill climbing and then downhill speed with strong quads to prevent cramping.
After a reconnaissance of the course two days before the race, Elizabeth planned to race very conservatively. She overtook the race leader on the final uphill climb of the first lap, and then ran hard into the downhill to extend her lead and get out of eyesight of her competitors. By the end of the first lap that she had a two minute lead. Despite thinking she had taken the lap conservatively, fatigue began to set in on the steep uphill of the second lap and it wasn't as fast as her first lap. Elizabeth raced hard on the final downhill and managed to finish in 69 minutes with a 4 minute lead over the second placed female, placing 12th outright.
Elizabeth was working hard with ANU Sport's Athlete Development Coach, Billy Mason, in the lead up to the event. She resumes training for her next goal later this year.