As the dust settles on Round 6 of the Skyrunning Series it’s time to start looking forward once more. Round 7 will be held just this weekend on the stunning trails of Mt Buller!
The Mt Buller Skyrace is a true gem on our Skyrunning calendar featuring stunning alpine trails that stretch for as far as the eye can see, absolute breathtaking climbs and flowing descents mean it is going to be a real cracker.
We caught up with new Skyrunner Louise Clifton who, despite being new to running, has already got some awesome results like a 1st at Ultra Easy & a 4th at Hounslow Classic.
Skyrunning ANZ: What is your background? Have you always been a runner and when did you start going long in ultra and/or getting into Skyrunning.
Louise I ran a little at school in London – cross country and middle distance. But not seriously and that was a long time ago! I did a road half marathon in 2011 and then not much running until my first trail half in 2014. The distance just crept creeping up from there: 21 then 25, then 33 then 50. Last year I did the Hounslow Classic and that was the first time I ever heard of Sky Running.
Skyrunning ANZ: What has made you want to take the plunge in Skyrunning this year?
Louise: I loved the Hounslow (I live in Mount Victoria and have done a lot of climbing and walking in the Grose Valley) and when I heard it was part of a series I thought it would be a fun goal to see how many points I could get just as a personal focus for myself. It gives me a goal for the year rather than entering lots of random races. I’ve been a rock climber for a long time so I guess I just love climbing mountains. I like the challenge of the terrain and the incredible scenery Skyrunning exposes you to.
Skyrunning ANZ: You won the Big Easy Sky Ultra this year, how was that and what made this race go so well for you?
Louise: It was one of the best experiences of my life! I loved the fact that it was a small event and low key and very Kiwi. I lived in NZ for four years in my 20s so it has a special place in my heart. The scenery was superb and getting to the top of the first peak for sunrise felt really emotional and a massive high – especially seeing all the volunteers who had hiked up there sitting in the cold and cheering everyone on. I trained specifically for the race and really mentally prepared for it and I guess everything just aligned on the day. The participants were really friendly and the race director Terry Davis did a great job as well as having a very funny sense of humour, which helps when you are about to embark on a slightly insane adventure. Spending all the next day in the pub with runners I’d never met before was probably not the best recovery but brilliant fun and great comradery.
Skyrunning ANZ: You are doing the Buffalo/Buller double which is a huge undertaking, what tips/tricks will you use to ensure you rock up ready at both races?
Louise: That sounds scary! Pre Buffalo I’ll just be doing a usual taper and trying to eat and sleep well and not get injured. In between the two I guess I will be trying to get my feet and legs (and mind) recovered enough. I could barely walk for a week after the Ultra Easy and my toes were trashed so I am not sure how it will pan out. I doubt I’ll be doing any rock climbing at Buffalo in between races unfortunately J
Skyrunning ANZ: What has drawn you in to race Mt Buller ??
Louise: It looks like a great course and I will be in Victoria so it makes sense to stay down to do it as long as the body can cope. I’ve never run in the Victorian Alps so I can’t wait.
Skyrunning ANZ: So at Mt Buller which will be your favourite? Up Hills or Down hills?
Louise: Up hill. Feels so rewarding to get to the top, even if you feel like you are dying there is something about summiting or going over the crest that makes you feel stronger. Downhills feel harder on the body and there’s less to look forward to at the end of a downhill because there’s usually a hill ahead, unless the finish line is in sight!
Skyrunning ANZ: After the beautiful mountains at Mt Buller what other races do you have planned for the year?
Louise: Just the Hounslow at the moment. Planning on a bit of a break after four races in four months.
Skyrunning ANZ: What pack and Shoes will you use for Mt Buller?
Louise: Salomon S Lab Wings are my favourite shoes at the moment and I love the Inov-8 5ltr pack. I’ll use both for both races.