From Stillwater to top of world

By Viv Logie
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Former West Coaster Ruth Croft is blazing a trail across some of the toughest endurance runs in the world and last weekend won the Mount Fuji Trail Race to the top of Japan’s famous peak.
The win came just a month after a top performance in the Tenzing-Hillary Everest ultra-marathon in Nepal.
Croft, originally from Stillwater and now based in Taiwan, competed in the Mount Fuji event last year and in the weekend’s race she knocked 44 minutes off her previous time to claim the first prize.
Speaking to a Japanese reporter, Croft said she returned to the Mount Fuji run this year because she was dissatisfied with her effort last year.
This time she finished in 3hrs 11mins, beating the runner-up in the women’s summit division by more than 17 minutes.
Croft said her strategy was to pick up the pace after reaching the fifth stage and it “paid off well” as she ran clear of her competitors to snag the win.
“I’m really happy that I ran better than last year.”
Croft took up trail racing not long after moving to Taiwan in July 2012, having previously been in the United States running for Portland University.
The daughter of Frank and Clare Croft, of Stillwater, she was a successful athlete before she left New Zealand, and while boarding at Rangi Ruru Girls High School she won the under-20 New Zealand Cross-Country Championships.
Croft will return to New Zealand in February, when she will tackle the 100km Mount Tarawera Ultra Race.
Leading up to that she will be competing in the Mount Kinabalu Climbathon in Borneo, and hopes to travel to Hong Kong to get in a longer trail race as a build-up as well as competing in local races in Taiwan.