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Athletics Canada to send 38 athletes to World Mountain and Trail Running Championships

Sasha Gollish and Chris Balestrini are among the athletes who will race in Austria in June

Sasha Gollish Photo by: Kevin Morris

Athletics Canada has announced a massive team for the 2023 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, which are set to run in Innsbruck-Stubai, Austria, from June 6 to 10. The team consists of 38 athletes from across Canada, including masters W40 world record holder Sasha Gollish and 50K Canadian record holder Chris Balestrini. Team Canada will take on the rest of the world’s top ultra, trail and mountain runners in nine of the 10 events offered at the championships.  

This year marks only the second edition of the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, which had their inaugural running in 2022 in Thailand. Before the 2022 event (which was originally slated for 2021 until COVID-19 forced organizers to postpone a year), there were two separate world championships for trail and mountain running. That changed when the World Mountain Running Association, International Association of Ultrarunners, International Trail Running Association and World Athletics teamed up to create a joint running festival. 

From shortest to longest, the nine events the Canadian team will race are the men’s and women’s vertical uphill (a 7.3K run that features more than 1,000m of elevation gain), the men’s and women’s “classic up and down” (13.7K long and 720m of climbing), the men’s U20 classic up and down (6.7K with 360m of elevation gain) and the men’s and women’s short and long trail races, which are 45K and 85K, respectively. 

In the AC announcement, Canada’s head coach, Adrian Lambert, said he is confident the team will perform well come June. “This year we received the highest quality of applicants for a Canadian national team for mountain and trail running that I have seen in my 15 years of involvement in the sport,” he said. “We are very excited to see how this team will do.”

Some of the athletes joining Gollish and Balestrini are former Laval University runner and Olympic cross-country skier Anne-Marie Comeau, 2022 Skyrunning Series champion Lindsay Webster and Squamish 50 record holder Nick Elson. Canadian masters record holder Bernadette Benson will be coaching alongside Lambert.

To see the full Canadian roster, click here

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