By PHILIP CHANDLER
Someon carrying good form into the 50km race held as part of tomorrow’s Northburn 100 mountain run, near Cromwell, is Queenstowner Maureen Stachowicz.
The 27-year-old Frenchwoman, who loves nothing better than running in the mountains, won the women’s marathon in Queenstown’s Shotover Mountain Moonlight Marathon last month.
Remarkably, she’d rolled her right ankle just after Christmas, during a 60km training run, and couldn’t train for seven weeks.
Last November, Stachowicz won another mountain run, the 58km Valley Ultra, in Canterbury’s Craigieburn Valley, breaking the women’s record.
In October, she was one of only 12 runners to complete the hazardous Taki Traverse, across Southland’s Takitimu mountain ridge.
She was also one of the only two runners to complete it solo, and the only woman.
Last winter, she also finished second in Cromwell’s 44km Mt Difficulty Ascent, to Queenstowner Nancy Jiang, after winning it the year before.
Stachowicz says mountain running, for her, is less about winning than exploring the mountains, and they’re quicker to get to when you run rather than walk.
‘‘I love it when it’s very technical and steep.’’
Her favourite was the Taki Traverse, as it was hazardous as well as physically hard — she completed the 43km run, held in atrocious conditions, in 19 hours.
She’s grateful to the support she gets from both her local coach, ultrarunner Adam Keen, who’s also run ning Saturday’s 50km race, and her partner, former national motocross champion Scott Columb.
Being a chiropractor also helps in terms of injury prevention, she adds.
Meanwhile, locals James Harcombe, Adam Carlson and Bernard Robinson are competing in this weekend’s Northburn 100 Miler.