Shelley is about to leave Canada to take part in two major competitions with large international fields. She'll be competing in the Marathon at the "Jeux de la Francophonie" in Ivory Coast, and then two weeks later she'll be in Italy competing at the World Mountain Running Championships, running the long distance event. Both events will see large fields of world class athletes and I personally can't wait to watch and cheer from here.
It all begins on Monday, July 17, when Shelley begins her journey to Abidjan, Ivory Coast, travelling with ~50 other Canadian athletes to compete in the "Jeux de la Francophonie". This is the 8th edition of the games, which started in 1989. The games will see 77 Nations represented by over 4000 athletes. Nations with French as their primary language or where a significant portion of the population speaks French as a first language are eligible to participate.
I must admit I'm a bit biased towards mountain running, but both events will be exciting for different reasons. Shelley hit the qualification standard earlier this year in Boston, and instead of taking a break she has built on that fitness as demonstrated by her 3rd place finish at the Mount Washington Road Race just a few weeks ago. The marathon will be on July 23rd, on the first day of the games, and although it will likely be difficult to run a good time there on account of the heat she said she'll try to run within her means early in the race and attempt to finish strong and advance in the rankings later in the race. She doesn't expect a PB at this race, but I'm sure she'll have a great run.
Not to downplay the marathon, as it is a big deal, but I think Shelley's relative performance on the big stages will be much better in the mountains based on what I've see in training, and so I'm really keen to see how she can run in Italy on August 6th. I'll post a second article specifically about the Mountain Running World Championship as this event draws nearer, but I'm super excited to see one of our local trail runners get a chance to run on the world stage.
Here's a photo of Shelley, Ryan, Glen and I this past weekend doing mountain repeats. It goes without saying that Shelley schooled us on those hills and there's no question she's ready to race.