By PHILIP CHANDLER
Queenstown runner Nancy Jiang last Saturday took out a title she’s coveted for five years.
The 30-year-old Chinese-born Kiwi won the New Zealand Mountain Running Championships’ senior women’s title in her backyard, Queenstown’s Coronet Peak.
She completed the three-lap course — 13.29km long with 1122m of elevation gain — in 1hr 28min 13sec, almost four minutes faster than the runner-up.
In fourth place was another Queenstowner, Sarah Douglas, while two local men also placed well — Julen Moreno was sixth in the seniors and Lewis Latham won silver in the masters.
The champs were also organised by a local, Adrian Bailey.
Jiang, who came to Auckland when she was five and settled in Queenstown almost three years ago, says ‘‘living in Arthurs Point I have a pretty good home advantage’’, knowing the course ‘‘like the back of my hand’’.
‘‘I spent two months last winter getting up the course then skiing down the M1.’’
Used to longer distances, she says at the finish-line ‘‘I was saying I was actually feeling like I had just warmed up and was ready to run a few more laps’’.
By winning the title she qualified for the world mountain running champs in Thailand in November.
That event’s combined this year with the world trail running champs, which Jiang also qualified for by winning the NZ title, held in conjunction with Canterbury’s Crater Rim Ultra, last October.
She’ll decide which world champs she’ll enter closer to the time — she may even contest both.
‘‘Fingers cross they happen.’’
Jiang also competed for NZ at the world mountain running champs in Andorra in 2018, finishing 15th.