Headed by world long distance champion Emma Murray of South Canberra Tuggeranong Athletics Club and two time Australian men's champion Scott McTaggart of North Canberra Gungahlin Athletics Club, the ACT is strongly represented in this year's Australian mountain running team.


Murray will be defending her world title on 20th August at the 42 km Pike's Peak marathon in Colorado in the USA. There is a gruelling 21 km climb to a snow-covered, boulder-clad summit over 4000 metres in altitude before the tough 21 km descent back to Colorado Springs that will fully test the quadriceps muscles. The other Australian representative is Canberra ultra running legend Trevor Jacobs of Weston Creek Athletics Club. Both have been doing 2 or 3 sessions a week either on a treadmill or a bicycle in the AIS altitude training tent under the supervision of Dr Philo Saunders to prepare themselves for the high altitude. At the summit they will experience 25% less oxygen than at sea level.


Murray is also preparing for the World Women's Mountain Running Championship on 10th September over an uphill 8km course on My Olympus in Turkey. She is being joined by her South Canberra Tuggeranong club mate Jessamy Hosking who was the second finisher in the Australian championship on Mt Tennent, and Sydney's Cindy King (Randwick Botany) who was third. Hosking smashed the course record in winning the Black Mountain Run Up on Tuesday 18 July in 14 mins 49 secs.

Scott McTaggart led the field in the early stages of last year's World Mountain Running Championship in New Zealand and could easily finish well up in the top ten this year in Turkey. He has one ACT team mate, Stuart Doyle of South Canberra Tuggeranong Athletics Club. Doyle has been in fine form, setting a new course record of 11 mins 37 seconds for the 2.6km ascent in winning the Black Mountain Run Up on Tuesday 18 July. The other men's team members are Sydney's Jeremy Horne (Rand wick Botany) and Wollongong's Ben du Bois (Kembla Joggers), Stephen Brown (Kembla Joggers) and Barry Keem (Illawarra Blue Stars). Du Bois finished 7th in last year's World Mountain Running Association Grand Prix series and in November won US $50,000 in taking out the world's richest mountain running race in Uganda. Brown was 40th and Keem 45th in the 2005 World Championship and may go even better this year with more experience.


The junior men's team includes outstanding national junior cross country and track runners Ryan Gregson of Kembla Joggers and David Mainwaring and Dominic Perry of Gosford Athletics Club.


There is very little financial support for the team. The main fund raising event will be the Jaggad Bush Capital Bush Marathon Festival on Saturday 29th Festival. As well as 16 km and 25 km bush walks, runners can participate in 5 km, 16 km, 25 km, 42 km and 60 km runs on trail in Canberra nature park, starting and finishing at Campbell High School. The 60 km event takes in Mt Ainslie, Mt Majura, Goorooyarroo and Mulligans Flat nature reserves and the race favourites are world rogaining champions David Baldwin and Julie Quinn who are preparing for this year's World Rogaining Championship (24 hours long distance orienteering in teams) on 13th October near Coonabrabran in north western New South Wales. The most popular event is the 16km run around Mt Ainslie. More than 200 runners will be participating.


More details: see http://www.mountainrunning.com.au/events/bmarathon/2006/


Released by:

John Harding
Australian Mountain Running Association