K-Way athlete Lucky Miya is in the US for the annual Pikes Peak Ascent, a gruelling 21-kilometre uphill, trail assault. This year the Pikes Peak Ascent doubles up as the 11th World Mountain Running Challenge and as such the field will be especially deep and competitive.
Miya hails from a road-running background and has an impressive 2:16:41 personal-best marathon time. His road running times still remain impressive; he’s able to pull out a 1:09 half marathon.
From the Pikes Peak Ascent start in front of the Manitou Springs City Hall (1,920 metres), which lies just slightly higher in altitude than Johannesburg, Miya will run uphill. Only. The race course climbs steeply to the mountain summit at 4,302m, with little respite for runners along the way. In the course description the event website says that there are very few stretches “which are not going uphill. The average percent grade is 11%. Miya can expect to be breathing very deeply as he gains altitude.
“There’s a reason trees don’t bother growing above 12,000′ on Pikes Peak. They can’t!” the event website jokes. “Above treeline most runners take 30 minutes or more, some much more, just to cover a mile.”
Miya will run on trails that are often narrow and winding with sharp turns and abrupt changes in elevation and direction. He can expect gravel, dirt and rocky surfaces underfoot.
Six-weeks ago Miya took part in the Skyrunning World Championships in France – at the 42-kilometre Marathon du Mont-Blanc. With only 13 kilometres to go he was in 7th place. And then… a groin injury, which slowed him to a crawl and at the final 35-kilometre checkpoint Miya withdrew from the race, unable to continue.
“I’m not really sure what caused the groin injury at Mont-Blanc,” he says. “My biokineticist thinks I had a muscle imbalance that put more than usual strain on the groin because of all the climbing. I’ve had a few stretch sessions with my biokineticist and we’ve worked a lot on balancing my legs and hips. It seems to be working brilliantly as am running pain free again”.
Miya took two weeks to rest after Mont Blanc and was back into training with a focus on strength training that included a lot of climbing.
“At 21 kilometres Pikes Peak is short but very tough as I will be climbing all the way up. It will be key to pace myself but also to stay in touch with leaders and to be mentally and physical strong under these challenging race conditions.”
“I’m aiming for a good race, to run at my best and gain valuable experience,” he adds.
Miya’s sponsor, K-Way, is ever supportive of their athlete and they’ll be following him online on Saturday.
“Lucky seems to be going from strength to strength and if his sterling effort in France is anything to go by, we have no doubt that Lucky needs no luck from us!” says Nick Bennett, K-Way Marketing Manager.
Miya left South Africa on Sunday. He’ll have a few days to recover from the flight and to scout the race course. The Pikes Peak Ascent takes place on Saturday, 16 August 2014.