Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Trail World Champs in Ireland on Sat

You may have heard about the IAU Trail World Championships coming up, this weekend (Sat, 9 July), in Ireland. Fab news is that we have adventure racer presence in the form of Bruce Arnett and Jeannie Bomford. I seem to think that Iain and Su have some AR events under their belts too. ARers rule!

When the team was announced in early June there were questions around the team selection. No, there were no disagreements about the runners selected being suitable - they all are, but on how the team was selected.

The invitation to run was a surprise to all of them and the trail community had no idea about the World Trail Champs, that ASA was involved (the ASA Track & Field Commission selected the team) and which SA races would count. There are a number of men and women who would certainly be in contention for a place on this team but they may not have done the races assessed to select the team. We also don't know how/why ASA chose the races that they did to count. The most media publicity around these events? There are many, many other ultra trail races like like Addo 50miler, Skyrun, PUFfer, Amatola, Mnweni...

You may also be questioning why trail running's poster-runner Ryan Sandes isn't in the line-up. I haven't asked him but can presume that either he didn't get invited or was unavailable to run. With reference to the former, to my knowledge Ryan didn't run in either the 2011 African-X, nor the 2010 The Otter and nor the 2010 Table Mountain Challenge; he did win 4 Peaks and PUFfer in 2010. With reference to availability, Ryan is currently in the US and about to run the Leadville 100, a trail mountain ultra in Colorado and he has just recently run the North Face 100 in Australia.

IAU is linked to IAAF, of which ASA is a member. We can hope that for next year ASA Track and Field Commission will, under counsel from the trail running community, will notify runners of which race results will count for team selection for the World Trail Champs in 2012. We have many competitive and competent ultra trail runners, many of whom could have been eligble for a place on this team if they'd done the races considered in the selection process.

Would they have knocked out any of the current team members? Maybe, maybe not; but all runners interested in competing for SA in the Trail World Champs should have the opportunity to try out - not just be lucky that they chose to do a specific race.

But, this is a stepping stone and nice to have ASA supporting these runners (expenses paid for athletes). I'm under correction but I don't think that any of them have ever competed in an international ultra trail race, including Bruce. As you'll agree, a wonderful, wonderful opportunity for our trail runners to stretch their legs abroad. I hope to see many of our runners' names cropping up on the live race coverage.

IAU Trail World Championships 2011 site is www.runconnemara.com. The IAU website, at www.iau-ultramarathon.org will carry ticker tape-style live coverage during the race.

Elevation profile of Saturday's race


adventurelisa said...

As an update, Ryan Sandes was originally invited to join the team. He declined, certainly due to commitments.

According to Pieter de Jager, ASA technical manager who was appointed as team manager, ASA Track & Field Commission made the selection. He says, "Being part of the IAU as an ultra distance championships, ASA decided to be part of it."

IAU is associated to IAAF (not part of). According to IAU website, "The IAAF granted its patronage to the IAU in 1988 and the 100km race became a standard distance recognised by the Federation."

ASA Track & Field asked few other people to give their input as to potential team members. There is no clarity or transparency as to who these people are or how the selection was made.

Again, this is an issue not around the runners, but on how ASA steps in all of a sudden, when they have no involvement in trail running, and selects a team.

While I think this is fantastic for our trail runners and I am delighted that ASA is financially supporting the team and that trail running in SA is not represented by an association, I still have questions around how it all happened; and with only one month notice to the runners.

Anonymous said...

Another of our own to watch - Ake Fagereng, running as an individual. He is an elite orienteer and chairman of Peninsula Orienteering Club (www.penoc.org.za). Recent trail achievements: winner and record holder of 2011 Bat Run (Devils Peak, Table Mountain and Lions Head night race), winner 2010 Hout Bay Trail Challenge, among others.

adventurelisa said...

Awesome! Go Ake! I'll be cheering for you too.

Thanks for the update Bruce. I saw him up here three weekends ago at the Gauteng O Champs.

Chris said...

A slightly disappointing performance by the selected athletes.The criticism of the selection criteria/qualifying races was obviously justified. International competition is obviously not as easy as people believed. Sandes recent international runs (3rd TNF 100, 4th Zugspitz 100)show him to be up there with the top Euro runners (besides being a "poster runner")

adventurelisa said...


I've been told that it was Ryan who originally approached ASA about sending SA team of IAU Trail World Champs but with them dragging their feet he then committed to other events, like TNF100 and Leadville 100 (coming up shortly). He should have a superb showing there too.

The races that seem to have been considered for team selection locally are all short races. 42km for The Otter, less for TMC and African-X. Yet Trail Champs was 70km. Bruce was probably the one with the most distance experience.

Even so, they were all good runners who went and I think it also illustrates that there are really good runners abroad and I am certain that our runners can only be better for the experience and that in years to come we'll see improved results.

adventurelisa said...

To update you on the results...

Bruce Arnett was highest placed South African at 36th. He finished in 7:49:39. Ake Fagereng (orienteer from Cape Town, running as an individual for Norway) was 41st in 7:56:31.

Erik Clavery from France won in 6:39:07. Unbelievable how fast the front guys run! And only five minutes between 1st and 6th.

William Robinson 68th place in 8:48:08.

Then Su Don-Wachope 77th in 09:02:11 and Katya Soggot in 10:42:12 (104th). I don’t know what the women’s placings were in the women’s field – these are overall positions. First woman was Maud Gobert (France) in 7:41:31. 31st overall.

Iain Don-Wachope may have gone out too hard. At 28km he was second place and from 40km he seemed to go backwards and looks like he didn’t finish. Jeannie Bomford also had a bad one and from the splits it looks like she DNFd by 40km too. Pity as both are good runners but perhaps not used to this distance.

Bruce got home this morning and says, “7:49 – but it was well slower than what I could do on full fitness. The route had 2800m of climb, not the 1700m the profile indicated, and the open grassland sections were pretty much bog all the way. There was still over 30km of tar or hardpack gravel, which, for me, was actually the non-fun part. It was a tough course that would have been better to tackle fully fit.”

Chris said...

Agreed Bruce Arnett was the best distance suited selection(was Robinson fit?). My team selection for what its worth - Arnett, Sandes,de Beer,Prins,Doke and Hanks.
It would be great to see Bruce and Ryan team up in the Trans Alps as I believe they are at present easily the best all round trail runners in SA.

adventurelisa said...

Good team selection Chris. Linda only just started running again, like a day or two ago (12 weeks off with stress fracture). Tatum currenly doing full Freedom Challenge (last stage, Berg River starting tomorrow). And Sandes overseas with other commitments. Your team could have been a reality...

As for Bruce and Ryan running together at TransAlps - that would be awesome. I like the combo. Both superb runners. Nice.