|News and media|
Waikato ED nurse on the run in ItalyED nurse Helen Rountree worked her last shift on Friday before she heads off to Ponte di Legno in Northern Italy this week for the World Mountain Running Championships.
Helen was selected by Athletics NZ as one of nine in the New Zealand contingent to compete in the annual event. She was one of just three Kiwi women selected.
She has been running for some time now – anything from 10km to half marathons mostly, placing in some of the North Island’s biggest events.
However, other than winning Queen of the Mountain at Mount Maunganui and Te Aroha a couple of times, this will be her first big mountain running event.
“They change the World Champs event every year. It is usually an up and down track, but this year it is a 9km race and 1km up,” said Helen.
She says she has no idea how she will go in the event having nothing to compare it to, and is not sure how the recent Olympics will affect her field.
She runs every day, with three of those days running local “hills”. Her shortest runs are an hour and on her days off work she tries to fit in 2.5 hour runs.
“It has been a challenge to fit this type of training around working full-time during a very wet New Zealand winter – particularly when I know a lot of my competitors won’t have had to, but working in ED has its benefits in that being on my feet and walking around for eight hours after a big run is probably quite good for my body.
“It is also a mentally challenging job, so I am mentally fit as well which helps.”
She says her personal goal is to finish in the top half of her field, and her ED workmates are right behind her.
“They have been incredibly supportive – in fact, they have funded some of my trip,” she says.
With no national funding available for this event, Helen’s ED teammates went behind her back and held a cake stall and raffle to help raise some money for the trip.
“I thought I was in trouble because I got called into the boss’ office – but I was handed a cheque for $1300 that my colleagues had raised for me without my knowing.
“I was blown away and am so grateful to them all. I will do my absolute best for them – but other than that, I can’t promise a lot else.”
Helen flies out on Wednesday and will spend a week acclimatising before the race on 2 September and then enjoy a well deserved holiday before retuning to work next month.
And she will come back with a world ranking no matter what, which will surely make her workmates proud.
Date: 20 August 2012
Waikato District Health Board
021 712 663