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Aaron Knight: from Australia to the Dolomites, what drives his passion for mountain running


From Australia (with love), La Sportiva ambassador Aaron Knight tell us more about his passion for mountain running and what drives his continue research of new, vertical challenges alla around the world

In the past editions of the La Sportiva mountain Running Cup we tried to ask to people of different ages and gender what really mean for them “mountainrunning”. Because mountain running is “more than running”. So what means for you running in the mountains?

I just like to go to places that you can’t go in a car or even on a bike and I love being in a quiet place on my own. Obviously, mountains are big and there’s a lot of differences between all the activities you can do in this specific environment, but there’s such a lot of differences to get there hiking or running. I love to move quickly on the mountain to get to some beautiful spots much faster than hiking. Even as a kid i always liked to run uphill, and then I keep on looking for bigger mountains, and well… in the Dolomites I’ve found them at all!
I remember my first trip to Europe, I was in Chamonix and I didn’t know but there was a mountain race so I walked across the finish line and started to see all these people come in. I mean, a lot of different people, from all ages, sizes, all exhausted but happy in the same way. And I thought “Oh my God, it’s amazing!” in Australia attending to mountain running races are not more than 20 people but here… In Europe is different, is a real, popular sport. I think that in that moment I’ve realized that I would like to start living in the mountain, change my life, move my family and go live in the middle of the mountain and not only visit them a couple of time per year.

So now you live in the mountain but you have always travelled a lot and you keep on do it, always discovering new places where to practice your sport. What’s your favourite spots for mountain running?

Australia is the place I live so it came first, and even if the mountains are not so steep, yuo can have long, long runs that climb high still. But I really love New Zealand, and the Alps, of course. In this case, Chamonix is great because is a place completely oriented to mountain sports - which is amazing-, but when I came here for the first time last week and I saw the Dolomites… They really took my breathe away. Maybe because Vertical run is the discipline I love most, but here is impressive. You potentially can go vertical wherever you want.
Even Spain has its own charm. But the thing that impressed me most about this place is the running culture in kids.
They really start to run at young age!

You’re not only a traveller, you’re are also a versatile athlete. You said that your favourite discipline is VK, but you compete in skyraces and long distances as well.

For me everything is a new challenge. At the beginning, I might be scared to thinking about running 50 kilometres, but also in this cases, you don’t have to forget that what drives you is the passion for the mountain running, no matter if for 5 kilometres or 50. You do it for fun, for the pleasure of discovering new places, running new tracks, because you will never know the sight you’ll find just after the next corner. This is why I like to try always different races as well I like to visit new places. The reason is always the same.

What’s your next race?

I’ve just run the Stava Mountain Race and its VK, finishing it in 10th place, and I’m very happy about it. Then, I’ve attended the Skylakes, another great 26km race from La Sportiva Mountain Running Cup, in the incredible surrounding of Veneto region. Unfortunately, I cannot be there for taking part to the Dolomites VK. This race has a particular meaning to me, because the first photo I’ve ever seen about this kind of races was from the Dolomites Vertical K. I remember that a friend sent it to me saying “You would love it. That’s the finish of the race.” And I was shocked, because the finish line was on the top of the mountain and I’ve never had seen something similar before. Than he explained me that it was a “only up” race, 3000 meters distance for 1000 up. I remember this guys scrambling in the grass with the Dolomites on the background and I just thought “I want to do that”

Unfortunately this race will continue to be just a dream for the moment. But for sure I’ll come back next year for finally face this incredible track.

 

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