Beaumont burns off – to the US

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Mountain man: Jack Beaumont PICTURE: PHOTOS4SALE.CO.NZD

Like the field in last Saturday’s Routeburn Classic, New Zealand is about to watch top runner Jack Beaumont disappear into the distance – for four years, at least.

Queenstowner Beaumont – who smashed the Routeburn Classic’s record at his first attempt – is likely to head to the United States in August to take up a four-year university scholarship, studying nutritional science.

“I’ve just got a choice to make of which one I’m going to go to, but it’s looking all go,” he tells Mountain Scene

“I have at least three full scholarships and there’s a good dozen others that have been interested in me.

“I’ve narrowed it down to about three or four at the moment that I’m pretty interested in.”

A move Stateside might temporarily put paid to his mountain running, meaning the world champs in Italy in July might be his last official race, for a while at least.

Beaumont, 19, who originally hails from Winton, says of his university: “They’ll have me doing long distance on the track and then running cross country in the team in winter.”

He’s basically ruled out a berth at next year’s Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast because, he says, NZ is only allowing a small team to go.

His aim now is to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, in the 3000m steeplechase.

Beaumont won the 3000m steeplechase at last month’s NZ Track and Field champs in Hamilton, in 9min 13.58sec.

Qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics was 8min 30sec.

“It’s a bit of time to make up but it’s definitely achievable in three years.”

Beaumont’s excited about his American college dream, saying he’s been wanting to go for years – but he’ll miss Queenstown.

“I’ll definitely be back. Hopefully every year I’ll come back home for a wee bit.”

Beaumont won the Routeburn Classic in 2hr 37min 51sec, from Lumsden’s Ryan Carr and Wanaka’s Don Channon.

Hamilton’s Cecilia Flori won the women’s race in 3:25.30sec, from Christchurch’s Tania McWilliams and Anna Fischer, of Dunedin.david@scene.co.nz