New Zealand has experienced a huge amount of success in mountain running on the world stage in the last 10+ years and we are not just talking about Jonathan Wyatt. With the likes of Melissa Moon, Kate McIlroy and Anna Frost ripping up the hills around the world, the Kiwi ladies have shown they are a force to be reckoned with also! But this year with Anna Frost already in Europe preparing for the SkyRunning Ultra Cup and the defending champion Ruby Muri out with injury, it looks like a non New Zealander might steal the show. We are of course talking about Italian Antonella Confortola. Antonella represents Italy in winter cross-country skiing and in summer on the national mountain running team. In 2010 she made it over to run up Mt Campbell, taking line honours that day, with her husband, our own Jono Wyatt and will be back again this year. We have been lucky enough to briefly chat with Antonella between “Advance Week” (a Salomon Running yearly event for their elite international team members, of which both Antonella and Jono are members of) and the NZ mountain running champs.
BackCountry Runner- Antonella, it is great that you are able to make it down here again for the NZ Mtn Running Champs on Mt Campbell. I am guessing after a winter of skiing this will be one of your first running races of the season- how are you feeling going into the race this weekend?
Antonella Confortola- exactly, it will be the my first running race of the season, I’m feeling good and I’m looking forward to coming back to New Zealand but I know that running Mt Cambell will be hard because I have done a lot of training but not running so …….is something you need to get used again.
BCR- You ran here in 2010, which you won, what did you make of the Mt Campbell course?
AC- I like the course, I like steep uphill, I like the view at the top….
BCR- What is your goal for Saturday’s race?
AC- I will try to run well, to have the feeling that I’m pushing with my legs and my feet, to use my arms and have my breathing under control
BCR- I would imagine a week in Greece with the International Salomon Running Team must be a pretty inspiring and motivating time- what goals do you have set out for 2012 and how does the NZ Mtn Running Champs fit into those?
AC- The week is Grece with the international team was an incredible opportunity to meet the other athletes to talk with them about training and races, to test new materials, I have lot of respect for people that can run for more then 10h for a trial…but I will go for the shorter races….. so big goal is the worlds of mountain running in September, Grossglockner and Mayerhofen, 2 beautiful berglauf in Austria, then the epic Sierre-Zinal, and an probably ascent to Mt Fuji…so the New Zealand champs will be a very good preparation for this, even if these big appointments will be later in the year!