Arendz excited by new cross-country marathon

Canada’s double Sochi 2014 medallist believes the new 30km race will attract additional interest to para-Nordic skiing. 24 Sep 2015
Mark Arendz competes at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games

Mark Arendz competes at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games

Ⓒ© Luc Percival Photography
By Richard Waterhouse | For the IPC

“I am using the four years to make my weaknesses strengths and my strengths even stronger.”

Canada’s double Paralympic medallist Mark Arendz is looking forward to competing in more long distance events after IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country announced the addition of marathon events to the World Cup programme.

The 25 year-old standing skier has expressed his delight with the new programme, in particular the 30km event in Vuokatti, Finland, which he believes could attract more spectators to the trails.

“I love racing in the longer loppet style races.” Arendz said. “I am really looking forward to the 30km in Vuokatti.

“True mass start races are very rare on the IPC circuit. It is an exciting race for both athletes and spectators. These formats will be in greater demand to attract larger audiences and to raise the prestige of [the sport].

“I hope that with the addition of the distance races in Finland and Russia that soon a 30km race is a standard distance race for the IPC.”

IPC Biathlon and Cross-Country have also confirmed that the first Asian Cup will take place in PyeongChang, the South Korean host of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games.

The aim is to grow the sport in the region in the lead-up to 2018.

Arendz agrees that this is a positive.

“It is great that additional competitions are being added to the schedule. We are in a need for adding races to the competition season.

“It will be a great opportunity to see the next Paralympic venue.”

Similar to his team mate Chris Klebl, Arendz has prepared a four year plan for PyeongChang 2018 and he has specifically been working on his shooting leading up to this season.

Arendz reached the podium twice at the Sochi 2014 Paralympic Winter Games, with a silver and bronze in the 7.5km and 12.5km respectively, and aims to build on that solid performance.

“Immediately following the Games in Sochi, I started putting together a plan leading towards the Paralympic Games in 2018,” he said.

“Reflecting upon my weaknesses and strengths from the previous four years, as well as the performances in Sochi, I realised what changes were required to continue improving year after year, ultimately leading to greater performance at the next Paralympic Games.

“I changed my approach to training with the rifle, in an effort to return to my previous high level of success on the range. For the winter I will be focusing on bringing together all the aspects of a successful race together and then being able to repeat that performance.

“I am using the four years to make my weaknesses strengths and my strengths even stronger.”

The new season kicks off on 2 -9 December with cross-country and biathlon World Cups in Tyumen, Russia.

The marathon will be part of the programme in Vuokatti from 15-20 March and a lower-level 25km race in Khanty-Mansiyisk, Russia, to end the season on 9 April.