Steph Auston dons green and gold

Running up that hill: Trail championship fans cheer on Steph Auston during one of the steep climbs in the 44km long course in Portugal. Picture: supplied.
Running up that hill: Trail championship fans cheer on Steph Auston during one of the steep climbs in the 44km long course in Portugal. Picture: supplied.

Prolific Merimbula runner Steph Auston donned the green and gold to represent Australia last weekend in the World Trail Championships.

Held in Miranda do Corvo, Portugal, it was a feather in the cap for the Merimbula runner, who has enjoyed an enormous 2019.

The race saw 159 competitors from around the globe tackle the 44km course consisting of over 2200 metres of elevation as well as some technical sections to test the world's best.

Auston finished her debut at these championships in 19th position - and third from outside Europe - to stamp her name on the world stage. She started the race fast passing through the 16km checkpoint in 6th position but as the heat, humidity and the course took their toll on competitors was able to hang tough to secure a top 20 position.

"I went out hard and was in 6th at 16km, I really wanted to finish top 10 but half way up the climb at 22km I fell apart, got dizzy and sick and had to hike along a runable section of the course," Auston said after the run. "I eventually managed to rally and held on with a gradual fade, but managed to hold onto 19th!"

She said it was a "crazy technical course" but she had amazing support and was proud and excited for the future despite feeling "shattered" by the finish line.

"Thank you to all the supporters here and at home," she said after finishing in four hours, 33 minutes and 58 seconds.

The race was won by Blandine L'hirondel of France in 4hrs 6mins - just over 8 minutes ahead of a fast finishing Ruth Croft from New Zealand.