Climbing to worlds


Queenstown athlete Sarah Douglas has been altitude-training in Europe for almost four weeks ahead of Sunday’s mountain running world champs in Andorra.

The 34-year-old, part of an eight-person New Zealand team, finished 37th at her only other world champs in Bulgaria in 2016.

This time her goal’s a top-30 finish.

Douglas says her train-ing’s gone well, “with a big focus on adjusting to altitude because the race finishes at 2430 metres [above sea level]”.

“I’ve been lucky enough to spend some time training on the trails in Bardonecchia, Italy, and in Zermatt, Switzerland.

“An amazing dream of mine to run next to the [world-famous peak] Matterhorn has been ticked off the bucket list.”

In a build-up event in Susa, Italy, the Memorial Partigiani Stellina – a tough 14.5km race with 1600m of uphill – she finished 11th fastest woman.

“I was happy to be a part of a race that holds a lot of history and memories for Italians and to place [so well].”

The Andorra course is 11.9km long with 1028m of uphill.

It’s been no mean feat for Douglas, a two-time NZ champion, to make it to the worlds again.

In recent years she’s struggled due to a painful nerve tumour in both her feet till she was successfully treated last year.

She says she’s grateful to the support she’s received from the Queenstown community and her husband Martin to make her trip possible.