IAU Athletic Commission - Chair and Vice-Chair

IAU Athletic Commission – Chair and Vice-Chair. The IAU is delighted to share that the Athletic Commission is growing and most important moving forward with the activities. The main focus will be now to establish the structure of the Commission therefore we would like to announce that. Wayne Botha from New Zealand become the Chair of the Commission and Virginia Oliveri from Italy the Vice-Chair.

Both Athletes are well known in their fields (mainly 24H events and Trail respectively). Wayne participates in ultra-races since 1995 and Virginia since 2004, both generating outstanding results and participates in IAU Championships.

Below you can find more info about them.

Wayne Botha


Born in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, I grew up watching the great Comrades ultramarathon. The entire event was televised from start to finish on national television every year. I remember being inspired by the legends, including two of my uncles, who ran this race and this was how the seed was planted. I ran my first ultramarathon, the Two Oceans 56 km, in 1996 followed by the Comrades that same year.

After moving to New Zealand in 2003, I soon became drawn into the local ultramarathon scene. Running in the majestic beauty of this incredible country, there is never a moment where you not being inspired by other athletes and by the awesome events this country has to offer.

I first qualified for the the Zealand 24 hour team in 2010. In 2011 we achieved a bronze medal at the Commonwealth 24 hour Championships held in North Wales. Since then, I have competed in three 24 hour World Championship and two Asia/Oceania 24 hour Championship events representing New Zealand.

In my running career, I have been very fortunate to achieve four Guinness World Records for barefoot running. In 2012 I achieved the “fastest 100 km run barefoot” record. In 2013, the “greatest distance run barefoot in 24 hours” and “the fastest 100 km run barefoot”. In 2015, “the fastest 100 km run barefoot.”

In 2016 I was a nominee for the IAU Athlete of the Year. In 2018, I was very fortunate to lead the New Zealand 24 hour team to the IAU Asia/Oceania 24 hour Championships in Taiwan where our women’s team achieved the bronze medal.

In 2019 I completed my 10th Comrades ultramarathon in South Africa.

Virginia Oliveri

Virginia is an ultra-distance runner on road and trail. Born in Argentina, she has lived in Italy since she was 20, and represents Italy in endurance events. Virginia has achieved 15 years of racing ultra marathons, with almost 8 000 km covered during nearly 80 races.

Some highlights from her international races that she completed:

IAU World Championship participations:

  • 2007 IAU WC 24h Drummondville, 176km
  • 2009 IAU WC 24h Bergamo, 183km (silver medal Team Italy)
  • 2009 IAU WC Serre Chevalier, 68km
  • 2010 IAU WC 24h Brive, 190km
  • 2012 IAU WC 24h Katowice, 189km
  • 2013 IAU WC 24h Steenberger 209.6km
  • 2015 IAU WC Maxi Race du Lac d’Annecy 84km 5300+ (bronze medal Team Italy)
  • 2016 IAU WC Trans Peneda-Geres 85km
  • 2017 IAU WC 24h Belfast, 182km

Ultra-trail Races best results:

  • 2006-2010-2014-2016 four times winner of Cro-magnon Trail 112km 6000+
  • 2006 1st woman Porte di Pietra 71km 4200+
  • 2007 5th woman UTMB 168km 8200+
  • 2014 3rd woman Maxi Race du Lac d’Annecy 84km 5300+
  • 2015 1st woman Ultra-Trail des Balcons d’Azur 80km 3700+
  • 2016 1st woman Gran Trail Orobie 70km 4500+
  • 2016 9th woman CCC 101km 6000+
  • 2017 1st woman Maremontana Trail 63km 4000+
  • 2017 1st woman Porte di Pietra 71km 4200+

Most important ultramarathon participation:

  • 2014 12h San Pedro (Argentina), 114km
  • 2015 24h Barcelona, 207km
  • 2016 finisher of Spartathlon 246km 32:46
  • 2017 finisher of Spartathlon 246km 31:39
  • 2018 finisher of Spartathlon 246km 34:48

Please join us and congratulate them on the new positions that will take over.

On behalf of IAU

Jacek Bedkowski

IAU Director of Communication

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