US skiers Hamilton and Diggins won the Merino Muster 2018
In total, there were 288 entrants from 19 nations, with 130 in the marathon race, 80 in the 21km Snow Rake race and another 78 in the 7km Straggle Muster. Among them the US ski team, which currently is training in New Zealand for the upcoming winter season. In the 24th edition of New Zealand’s Worldloppet race on the Pisa Range we saw two title defenders.
Hamilton & Diggins defend victory
Simeon Hamilton, member of the US ski team, skied in a bunch comprising US team mates Adam Martin and Kyle Bratrud and Tomoka Satou and Kaichi Naruse of Japan. In the end Hamilton was able to bring only 3 seconds between him and second Adam Martin. 3rd placed Kýle Bratrud lost only 26 seconds to the winner.
In the women’s field, 2018 gold medal Winter Olympian sprinter Jessie Diggins showed she was no slouch on a marathon course, winning by an 81 second margin over second-placed French skier Aurelie Dabudyk. It was the predicted hot fight between the sprint queen from USA & the marathon skiing champ from France. Diggins’ US team mate Alayna Sonnesyn was another five minutes down, in third.
21 km & 7 km competition were a great success
Campbell Wright the 17-years-old local skier of Wanaka was New Zealand’s top prospect going into the 21 km race, which he won in 2017. Wright has had a couple of successful seasons racing in Ontario, Canada, during his summer breaks. However, he did not defend his title as planned because he has a minor injury and is keen to protect himself for upcoming Winter Games NZ races. Wright raced the 7km Straggle Muster instead, stomping home in just over 25 minutes, with Wanaka’s Leo Staufenberg 2 minutes 23 seconds behind in second place. The 7km women’s winner as Australian skier Katerina Paul.
The Straggle Muster was popular with people of all abilities. As is the tradition, many people dressed up for the occasion. Bat Woman, Xena Warrior Princess and Bat Girl were among the superheroes taking a crash course in cross country skiing around the Snow Farm.
Merino Muster Ltd director Mary Lee said the event was brilliant: “Every has been going super well, perfect. The snow is perfect, the weather perfect. I have just interviewed Jessie Diggins and she loved it,’ Lee said.
Results of 2018’s Merino Muster
42 km Merino Muster Men
42 Merino Muster Woman
21 km Snow Rake Men
21 km Snow Rake Women
7 km Straggle Muster Men
7km Straggle Muster Women
For a full list of results please go to www.merinomuster.com