Lucky Miya is in France for the 2014 Skyrunning World Champs, which is hosted by the Marathon du Mont-Blanc. The only South African runner in the men’s race, Miya will compete in this 42-kilometre mountain run on Sunday, 29 June 2014, starting at 07h00. It just shows the global appeal of Skyrunning!
Miya hails from a road running background with an impressive 2:16:41 personal-best marathon time. His road running times remain impressive; in 2013 he ran a 1:09 half marathon.
“In 2009 I decided to try trail running as I enjoyed doing tough things, surviving tough battles makes me proud!” he says. And survive he has.
Miya made his foray into trail events with short-distance races and now favours those up to 40-odd kilometres. Although trail is his main focus, he does participate in road race in the colours of the Gallopers running club, which he started.
As his experience has grown, Miya has increased his trail race distances, competing in staged races too. His trail prowess was clearly demonstrated in October last year when he posted a 4:29 time at the famed marathon-distance The Otter African Trail Run. This earned him a highly respectable fifth place in this fiercely competitive event.
Miya’s path to the Skyrunning World Champs was guaranteed when he won the inaugural Ingeli Skymarathon, which was held in Kokstad in April. He covered the 42-kilometre course distance in 3:37:19, five minutes ahead of his nearest rival. Miya is representing South Africa at these World Champs and is the only South African runner competing in the men’s race; Landie Greyling will run in the women’s race.
In preparation for this event Miya has put in tough hill sessions at this favourite training venue, the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve in the South of Johannesburg.
The Marathon du Mont-Blanc course profile shows a massive climb from 17 to 21 kilometres; those hill sessions are going to count when Miya hits that demanding ascent.
“Absolutely, this will be the toughest section of the course but I believe I’m naturally strong to survive it,” he says.
Having competed on the road racing scene, Miya has experience, a strong head and enough cool to keep his composure under pressure. Surrounded by the best-of-the-best in trail running, he is sure to be tested.
“My road speed and racing experience will definitely help me to deal with the pressure and competition but I will still need huge strength, power and a good race plan. My aim for the race is to be safe and enjoy the run. To finish in the Top 15 or Top 10 will be a bonus!”
Conditions for the race (in Chamonix) are expected to be cloudy and cool with a low of 8°C and high of 21°C. There is a chance of storms. In the mountains… well, it is anyone’s guess as conditions can change in a heartbeat.
“We are so excited for Lucky,” says K-Way brand manager Nick Bennett. ‘We’ve kept an eye on him for a while and were delighted to have him join our K-Way athlete family earlier this year. Lucky is a talented runner and his transition from road to competitive distance trail running has been effortless. He is light, quick and agile. We’re only seeing the start of what he is capable of and we’re delighted to see him competing abroad for the first time in such a prestigious event.’
There’s no shortage of exceptional runners preparing to race. Miya will be in the mix with eight previous Skyrunner World Champions. The event has attracted athletes from 65 countries.
“I’m so excited and I can’t wait to be there!” he says a day before his departure for France.
“It has been a dream to compete abroad and this is an incredible opportunity. It will be an amazing experience.”
The Marathon du Mont-Blanc starts at 07h00 on Sunday, 29 June 2014. The race starts from the town of Chamonix in France. The men’s race record of 3:30:41 is held by Kilian Jornet.
In-depth race preview HERE