Runner racing mountains

Matt Scott runs across Mt Ruapehu in the Ring of Fire Ultra race in March, where he placed third.

A Cambridge runner will represent New Zealand at the World Mountain Running Championships this weekend.

Matt Scott, a 2015 St Peter’s graduate, was selected for the New Zealand team following his third-place finish at the national competition in March, joining seven others on the New Zealand team. Racing on September 16 in Canillo, Andorra, the Kiwis will race a 12km course, starting at 1500m altitude and finishing at 2500m.

“I’m super excited … running for New Zealand has been a long-term goal for me for a long time,” said Matt. “I’m over the moon to have the opportunity and it’s something many runners I know would love to have the opportunity to do.”

Matt Scott during hypoxia training.

Matt, almost 21, has put himself in the best form possible preparing for the event, utilizing the top-notch facilities of Lincoln University to prepare for the high-altitude exertion.

With New Zealand’s accessible peaks paling in comparison to the European mountain he’ll race, Matt has undergone altitude training with Lincoln Associate Professor Dr Mike Hamlin to help overcome the limited air and altitude sickness he could face on race day – training on a treadmill in the university’s sports science lab three times a week for the month leading up to his departure.

“This simulates the altitude at or above the finish line, thus meaning on race day the altitude should have minimal effect on me and I shouldn’t see any of the effects of altitude sickness,” said Matt, adding that he ran Puigmal Mountain on the French/Spanish boarder on Saturday – which towers at 2900m – and “didn’t feel the altitude at all!”

“I feel really good heading into the competition, I feel I’m on the best form I’ve ever been in,” he said. “Although I’m keeping an open mind, I’m still pretty young it’s only my second year in the senior men’s category and I’m only getting older and stronger, so this hopefully won’t be my only time at this race, although it will be an insane experience.”

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