Elizabeth Humphries

 

What is your sport?

Mountain running/ trail and cross country running/ road running

How many hours per week do you spend training/playing?

7 hrs of running

What course are you studying at ANU?

Masters of Environment (Geography)

What year of study are you currently completing?

Masters

Does sport assist you in your academic pursuits?

Yes. Greater happiness and focus

Greatest sporting achievement

2016 & 2017 Australian Mountain Running Champion

What is your long term sporting goal?

Continue running when I am old and gray

Who has had the greatest influence on your sporting career thus far?

My partner – he is a former Australian mountain running Champion and world stair runner

Who is your sporting idol & why?

No-one in particular – Jess Trengrove seems to do a great job of running well and being a happy, normal person.

Any superstitions or unusual game day preparations?

Spag bol for dinner the night before

Tell us something interesting or fascinating about yourself

I am a teacher =)

Post Competition Report:

The terrain, gradient, and conditions of mountain running races are usually variable. This year, the World Mountain Running Championships consisted of a two-lap course. Each lap ascended and descended about 400m. The Australian team consisted of myself and three others as part of the senior women’s team, as well as four senior men, two junior men and one junior female.

The race started in the historic town of Premana, ascending through narrow cobbled streets before a technical and varied climb predominantly on singletrack on rocks, grass, and cobbles. Overtaking would not be easy. Moreover, after the ascent, the first two kilometres of the downhill was on technical singletrack, making overtaking difficult. A good starting position was important. Before I had seen the course, my plan was to start conservatively, with the aim to evenly pace the two laps of the course and to work my way through the field. However, after previewing the course two days beforehand, I changed my plan. I decided to start moderately fast to obtain a good position, and then aim to keep my position in the race. I knew that I would need to be comfortable with possibly losing a position or two and racing a slower second lap; a race strategy I usually wouldn’t use.

I incredibly happy that on the day I was able to execute this plan. I was hoping to place between halfway and two-thirds of the way through the field. On the day I bettered this, by placing 29th out of 64 females that finished the race.

In previous years I have not performed as well, often due to jet lag, lack of acclimatisation to race conditions (mountain running is often at altitude and in heat), and due to work and/or university stress. This year, I was lucky that I was able to take some time off work to arrive in Europe well before the race to get over my jetlag, and to spend time training at altitude and in heat. I also received excellent mountain running specific coaching from my partner, fellow mountain running teammate, and ANU alumnus, David Osmond as well as advice from running coach Dick Telford. I received gym support from Billy Mason at ANU Sport, massage from Faye and Phil at Pivotal Therapy at ANU, and pilates and physio treatment at PhysioSport O’Connor. Being able to run with friends in Canberra’s beautiful trails and mountains, as well as the all of the previous factors, all contributed to a good race result.

At the culmination of all of the races, I was incredibly emotional. It wasn’t so much my performance that made me so emotional but rather the performance of the team. There is a high chance that an athlete might not finish a mountain running race due to exhaustion or injury on the course. It was incredibly gratifying to see all 13 Australian athletes finish the race, with some amazing performances and some deep digging, especially of the senior men who raced at 12:30 in almost 30-degree heat. The camaraderie amongst the Australian team, all athletes competing at the event, the hospitality of the Italians and the phenomenal crowd are things that I will never forget.