Queenstown mountain runner Sarah Douglas is hoping for her first top-30 finish at her fourth world champs this weekend.
Douglas — who qualified for the New Zealand team by winning the women’s title at the NZ champs on Queenstown’s Deer Park Heights straight after recovering from Covid — is tackling two races in the steamy heat and humidity of Chiang Mai, in Thailand.
Tomorrow she’s in the uphill race, which is ‘only’ about 8.5km but features more than 1000 metres of climbing.
Then on Sunday she’s in the 11.5km uphill/downhill race.
She’d probably not have entered both races if they were in reverse order — ‘‘I tend to find with the up-down my quads get pretty banged up’’.
On the advice of her Italy-based Kiwi coach, six-time world mountain running champ Jonathan Wyatt, she’s done her recent runs and workouts in tights and a seam-sealed jacket under a tracksuit.
‘‘Some of my friends I run with will be glad to see the end of my heat-training tracksuit because I have moaned more than I have ever moaned in runs before.’’
Douglas also ‘warmed up’ for Thailand by competing in the NZ half marathon champs in Cambridge, where she surprised herself by finishing third.
‘‘The course was actually quite hilly so it was good for me.’’
The 38-year-old, whose other world champs were in Bulgaria (2016), Andorra (2018), placing 35th for her best result so far, and Argentina (2019), says it feels bizarre competing overseas again after the long break due to Covid.
Joking she’s ‘‘getting old’, she says ‘‘I don’t necessarily have to train more, I’d say I probably train more efficiently and smarter’’.
As to why she likes uphill running, she replies: ‘‘I weirdly like the discomfort of running fast up a hill, up a mountain.’’