Ryan run­ning for NZ

Kapi-Mana News - - SPORT - By KRIS DANDO

If you spot a fig­ure run­ning on the hills above Paekakariki Hill Rd in the com­ing weeks, chances are it’s Ryan McAlis­ter.

The 18- year- old has been in­cluded in the New Zealand team to con­test the world moun­tain run­ning cham­pi­onships in Italy in Septem­ber.

McAlis­ter won the ju­nior sec­tion of the na­tional moun­tain run­ning cham­pi­onships in Motueka in April, an event he en­tered just to ‘‘give it a go’’.

He has the pedi­gree. McAlis­ter was the Welling­ton cross-coun­try cham­pion for the past two years and a proven per­former for Welling­ton Har­ri­ers, so ex­celling at moun­tain run­ning was no big sur­prise.

It still came as a pleas­ant shock, how­ever, to be picked for the world champs.

‘‘ I was com­ing off a track sea­son and it was some­thing I thought I’d try. I do plenty of train­ing for cross- coun­try around Bat­tle Hill so I’m pretty used to it. You just have to learn to pace your­self and not get psyched out when you turn a corner and see an­other hill in front of you.’’

McAlis­ter is in his first year of a bach­e­lor of sports and ex­er­cise at Massey Univer­sity, in Palmer­ston North.

The flat ter­rain there does not pro­vide ideal moun­tain train­ing, so he will be do­ing plenty of runs near the fam­ily home dur­ing his term break. Mum’s home cook­ing will have to take a back seat, as he has one eye on Italy.

With leg­end of the sport Jonathan Wy­att the coach for the worlds, McAlis­ter has the best backing he could ask for.

‘‘He’s been there and done that, so anything I can learn from him will be a bonus.

It will be an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and I see it as a great op­por­tu­nity. I want to fin­ish in the top 16, so I’m pretty com­mit­ted to put­ting in the work now. I’m out there in the mud ev­ery day.’’

Cross- coun­try – his forte since his Pau­ata­hanui School days – will pro­vide the bulk of the train­ing, with North Is­land and na­tional events com­ing up. He will look to take a third straight Welling­ton un­der-19 ti­tle on July 14, near Waikanae.

Run­ning man: Ryan McAlis­ter faces more than one up­hill bat­tle to get to the world moun­tain run­ning champs in Italy in Septem­ber. The trip costs $5000, so he’s look­ing for fund­ing.

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