Valley?s own princess of the Pyrenees

By ADRIAN MILLER

THE Lower Clarence's reputation for grooming sporting champions has again been boosted with former Yamba resident Emma Murray winning the WMRA World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge in France.

Ms Murray dominated the field to become the new world champion, finishing 18 minutes ahead of her nearest rival. She also beat home 570 male competitors.

The race was held over a gut-busting 42-kilometre course, the first 21km of which climbs 2000 metres through the Pyrenees mountains. Ms Murray is the undisputed queen of the mountain after also taking out the 45km Australian Trail Running Championships held at the Six Foot Track in the Blue Mountains in March.

In that race she was the first female to cross the line, came eighth out of 700 competitors and smashed the event record by 25 minutes. Ms Murray is the daughter of former Yamba Public School principal Bob Murray, who died late last year when the ultralight glider he was piloting crashed.

Her mother Diane still lives in the area and works at Gillwinga Public School.

Ms Murray works as an environmental scientist at Geoscience Australia in Canberra. She attended university in Sydney after graduating from Maclean High School in 1996.

Principal Glen Brown said while she was an outstanding student, her sporting prowess had developed after she left.

"She was always fit and healthy, but she wasn't regarded as an elite athlete," he said.

"She was always a good participator and was involved in lots of things, but never went on to representative levels while still at school."

Mr Brown said her choice of sport and love of adventure racing came as no surprise.

"She was always very interested in the environment and I suppose that relates to her father Bob," he said.

"He was very much into the outdoor life and Emma was very interested in the outdoor life, and I suppose this (adventure racing) complements that well."



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