It’s only a fortnight until the Youth Skyrunning World Championships, and ahead of that we thought you might like to know a little bit about the runners that will be representing our region. First up is Brayden Funk, who is representing Australia.
“I was attracted to sky running when I first visited Bright, Victoria and supported my brother in the Buffalo Stampede in 2015. Ever since then I have fallen in love with Skyrunning and look forward to many more huge elevation runs in the future.” It’s this attitude that has seen Brayden continue to improve as an athlete and also makes him someone to look out for in the future.
When asked what excites him about the event, Brayden’s passion shines thorugh even more. “European Skyraces are on another level! The support from the crowd and the level of competition is above all. Awesome scenery and intense climbing with fast downhill is what I strive for, which excites me the most about this event.”
With not much longer until the big day, Brayden has been toiling away, racking up the vert and kilometers as he prepares for the technical mountain terrain of L’Aquila. “Training has been going extremely well, I feel fitter than ever and my splits are getting faster every time I go out. Would of liked a longer preparation but I believe I have done as much as I could and I cannot wait till race day.”
Representing New Zealand will be 19-year-old Yonni Kepes, who is looking forward to competing against other young mountain runners “The most exciting part about the event is that I can race a bunch of other people, my age, from around the world who share a passion for Skyrunning and adventurous sports. The race itself looks both hard and beautiful and I’m looking forward to testing myself with the climbs and descents and also running at such an altitude.”
Yonni’s first marathon was a Skyrace, and since that time 5 years ago he’s found his feet in the steep stuff. “I’ve always liked the idea of short/sharp races and the elevation and views that these races can get too. I wouldn’t say I have as much experience with Skyrunning compared to trail and ultra running, but I’m looking forward to the challenge!” And a challenge it will be. But he’s put in the hard yards in training and looks to be in great shape. “Training has been good. The start of this year was about getting the fitness back up after recovering from a stress fracture in the late months of 2018. Since then I’ve started to branch out, running a lot further and being able to cover that distance faster than before. I haven’t done as much training in the mountains as I’d like to have, but I’m confident that with a bit of running in Annecy and Italy before the event, I should be able to get the legs up to standard and ready to compete!”
Once again, a huge thanks to The North Face Australia and New Zealand for their support of the team.