Canberra's Emma Murray faces her greatest running challenge this Sunday
when she attempts to successfully defend her World Long Distance
Mountain Running Championship title at the Pike's Peak Marathon in the
USA. The race distance is 42kms up and down the mountain and has a climb
of 2,382 metres. However, the starting point in Colorado Springs is over
2,000m in altitude and the summit is over 4,000m, with 25% less oxygen
than at sea level.

To prepare for the high altitude for the last 3 months Murray has been
training on a treadmill 2 to 3 times a week in the altitude training
tent at the AIS under the supervision of Dr Philo Saunders. To complete
her preparation Murray arrived in Colorado Springs 2 weeks in advance of
the race in order to fully acclimatise. To win she will have to defeat
the Czech Republic's Anna Pichrtova, undefeated in the World Mountain
Running Association Grand Prix Series in Europe this year and second in
last year's World Mountain Running Trophy in New Zealand.

Last year Murray won the World Long Distance Mountain Running
Championship by the huge margin of 18 minutes in the Marathon du
Vignemale in France, despite falling heavily with 15kms to go and
requiring several stitches in her knee afterwards. This race was 42kms
and also involved a climb of over 2,000m. This year Murray's form has
been even better than in 2005. In March she slashed several minutes off
her course record in the 45km Six Foot Track Australian Trail Running
Championship from Katoomba to Jenolan Caves and finished 4th outright in
the field of over 900. In April she jogged the first 30kms in the
Canberra marathon before accelerating home over the final 12kms and
clocking 2hrs 45mins in her debut road marathon. On 29 April she easily
won the Australian Mountain Running Championship on Mt Tennent south of

Also representing Australia at the Pike's Peak race will be Canberra's
Trevor Jacobs, who was 3rd placed Australian in the Australian Trail
Running Championship and a winner of the 54km Brindabella Classic
several times.

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