Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hydration season is coming. Are you geared up?

Hello Trail Runners! We've got a great offer from ATRA corporate member Salomon Running. "Receive a free Sense Hydro S-Lab set with purchase of any Salomon footwear". To get the coupon (pictured), email your mailing address to richardbolt at trailrunner dot com. As a bonus I'll also send you an ATRA bumper sticker - woo hoo!

Once you have the coupon, here's how you can get the hydro set:

  1. Purchase +Salomon shoes from your favorite retailer.
  2. Send shoe receipt and coupon to Salomon.
  3. Salomon sends you the hydro set - BOOM, your done!

Here are some close up photos of the +Salomon Sense Hydro S-Lab set:

Advanced Skin S-Lab Waist Belt can hold extra soft flasks (sold separately)

The 5oz soft flask shown - 8oz & 17oz also available

Advanced Skin S-Lab Waist Belt also has 2 zip pockets for gels, bars or a cell phone.

A soft, absorbant terry cloth backing for wiping sweat.

Monday, April 15, 2013

New Hampshire to host the 2013 USA Mountain Running Championships

US Mountain Running Team Staff

On July 21, 2013, Cranmore, NH, will host the USA Mountain Running Championships. The event will also be the sole selection race for the US Mountain Running Team (USMRT), as well as the host of the North American Central American Caribbean (NACAC) Championships.

USA Track & Field (USATF) members will vie for national championship honors in overall men’s and women’s categories as well as in the masters’ age categories starting at age 40 in five-year increments to age 80-plus. There will also be team competition for open and masters’ USATF athletes.

For the team selection portion of the event, the top four women and the top six men to cross the finish line in Cranmore will earn automatic berths on the US Mountain Running Team which will compete at the World Mountain Running Championships on September 8, at Jaworzyna Mountain in Krnica-Zdroj, Poland. In addition to the senior team (all of whom must be current USATF members and citizens of the United States), a junior team comprised of four junior men and three junior women will compete for Team USA. The junior squad is selected based on their resumes and qualifying athletes must be at least 16 in the year of competition and not yet 20.

You can read the full article on Nancy Hobbs' Examiner page:

Nancy Hobbs is the Executive Director and founder of the American Trail Running Association.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Trail running on lava rocks in Hawaii

Traveling to Hawaii for a trail running vacation can provide a diversion from the standard single track fare. Of course there is an abundance of this variety of trail, but likewise, there is the uniqueness of running on volcanoes – some dormant, some active – and realizing a new type of off-road running.

On the Big Island, there are several opportunities for this type of exploration and include running on lava rock. One is in and around Mauna Loa and Kilauea, the other on Mauna Kea.

Mauna Loa is the smaller of the two mountains on the Big Island reaching 13,680 feet above sea level. Often enshrouded in clouds, the climate is very different at this altitude than on the beaches below. There are miles of trails in the Volcanoes National Park which is the area surrounding and including Mauna Loa and Kilauea.

The Napau Trail - Photo credit: Nancy Hobbs

One of the many trails is the Napau Trail which runs some seven miles over terrain that is remarkable and seemingly out of this world. A well-marked trailhead complete with a large area map (and a toilet), the Napau Trail starts out rather flat at just over 3,200 feet of elevation. The route quickly turns rugged and continues this way for nearly five miles, but the vertical gain is not significant.

The main challenge is to stay on the “trail” because the area is a sea of black rock and the markings leading the correct route consists of cairns made of more black lava rock. Much of the rock is porous and very brittle. One wrong step can cause the underlying rock to crumble and could result in a fall and perhaps some stinging cuts on legs and arms. Stopping to enjoy the views which include several craters along the way, occasional bushes sprouting up in the rock, and even some flowers is advised.

Another trail joins the Napau Trail after five miles and heads south toward the Chain of Craters Road. This Naulu Trail is approximately two miles long and does include mostly single track through dense forest with exposed tree roots, mud, and even a few creek crossings if the rain has recently fallen. Staying on the Napau Trail results in Napau Crater in about two more miles.

Photo credit: Nancy Hobbs

To return to the Napau Trailhead, a run up the Chain of Crater Road may be the best option rather than an out-and-back. However, having just descended over one thousand feet, it does mean a long ascent of nearly six miles up the road.

On Mauna Kea, there is an added element of higher altitude since the main trailhead is at more than 9,000 feet with the summit looming some 7 miles in the distance at 13, 803 feet, making this the high point of Hawaii. The route to the summit boasts an elevation change of 4,6000 feet and includes a rather well-marked path.

Like much of the Napau Trail, the Humu’ula Trail to the summit of Mauna Kea is completely in the open. There is no shade, as there are no trees at this elevation. The views are stunning along the way with the ocean floor in the distance, and outcroppings of huge lava rocks intermingled with small scree-like rock on the trail. This type of rock has a ball bearing type feel so the footing is not as easy as running on dirt surfaces. This is not an easy run when coupling the altitude with the terrain.

What can make a trail running outing in either of these two areas even more interesting, is the weather. Temperatures can vary from below freezing on Mauna Kea – even at the start of the trailhead – and include wind, rain, sleet, even snow depending on the time of year. The mercury can also reach 70 degrees, or more and the sun can be very intense.

Photo credit: Nancy Hobbs

When considering a trip to Hawaii, include these destinations in your plans and prepare for the weather – what it is at the start of the trail and what it may become throughout the effort – as well as the terrain. A good pair of trail running shoes is advised along with a hydration system, some snacks, sunglasses, gloves, hat, jacket and a map of the area. A camera to document the journey, as well as a friend to join in on the fun will make the experience one that is never forgotten.

For more tips on the trails visit this link.

Article by Nancy Hobbs - Executive Director, American Trail Running Association

World Masters Mountain Running Championships set for Czech Republic

Janské Lázné, Czech Republic, will host the 13th WMRA/WMA Masters World Mountain Running Championships on August 31.

The event is organized annually by a host club who submits a bid which must be supported by the respective IAAF-member nation and is sanctioned jointly by the World Masters Athletics (WMA), and the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA).

2012 World Masters Championships - Photo by Nancy Hobbs

This event provides an opportunity for athletes ages 35 to 79 to compete in their age group for podium honors. The top three men and women in each 5-year age category receive medals – gold, silver, bronze – and there is team competition as well which consists of the first three to finish for each country per age categories up to 60-64.

However, the competition provides much more than medals and victory celebrations. Anyone who meets the age standards can compete. There is no qualifying race. Athletes of all abilities participate and for many, it is an annual event on their training and racing calendar. In addition to the competition, there is a festive opening ceremony the night before complete with a parade of nations and a cultural celebration and a closing ceremony to highlight the day of racing and to pass the flag to the next host country of the event.

The courses are typically of the uphill variety and are run almost entirely on trail or unpaved surfaces. In this year’s event, the course will be approximately 8.6 kilometers and include 650 meters of elevation gain from start to finish.

Photo by Nancy Hobbs

Poland was the first host of this competition which has grown over the years from several hundred athletes participating in that first event in 2000, to more than 1000 in 2012 when Germany served as the host country. Austria, like Germany, Poland, Italy, and the Czech Republic, has hosted the event twice; Great Britain, Switzerland, and Croatia have each held the event one time.

The event is always held in a village situated in a mountainous or very hilly region. This is true for 2013 as well. Janské Lázně is located at the foot of Černá hora (Black Mountain) to the east of Krkonoše (Giant Mountains) and is just 170 kilometers from the Václav Havel Airport in Prague. The area is known for its recreational opportunities as well as its curative abilities through its many thermal springs which number in the thirties.

Make your travel plans today for this exciting and challenging event. Entries will be accepted for this year’s event online through July 30, 2013.

To receive the latest news from the WMRA, visit this link.

Article by Nancy Hobbs - Executive Director, American Trail Running Association

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Max King's Running Tip of the Month

The following article was written by Max King and originally printed in The Footzone Bend's April e-mail newsletter.  Reprinted with permission from The Footzone Bend and Max King.

The Footzone is a locally owned full service running store in Bend, Oregon

It's time to get racing, or at least put one on the schedule for motivation to get into training mode. If you're not there yet, don't worry about it, you can save this tip for when you're there, it doesn't expire.

As you start training harder and you're thinking about taking that jump to interval training where you're asking a lot of your legs, don't forget to pamper them with a very good warm up routine to get them ready to go.

A warm up routine should consist of a light jog of 10-20 minutes to get the muscles warmed up, blood flowing, and all the muscles firing. After that, don't just get right into running fast, go through a series of active/isolated stretching for each of the main muscle groups; quads, hammies, calves, and glutes. This series of stretches moves muscles through their range of motion to stretch them but will not weaken them like static (stretch and hold) stretching will. This can take between 5-15 minutes depending on how much you feel like you need and how intense the workout will be. After this, a series of more dynamic stretches can further get muscles stretched, activated, and ready for big powerful movements such as a speed workout. Then, a few strides (50-100m sprints), and you're ready to go. A good warm-up should last anywhere from 20-45 minutes depending on the workout intensity (longer for more intense) and time available. A good warm-up will decrease injury risk and help you get more quality out of your workouts.

Active Isolated Stretches for Warm-Up:
Standing toe touch (hamstrings) - one leg slightly in front of the other, bend down with front leg straight, back leg bent, touch your toe (if possible), hold for 1-2sec, come up, switch legs and repeat about 7-10 times on each leg.

Standing quad stretch - same idea on stretching, grab one foot and pull it up behind you to your glute, hold for 1-2sec and release, switch legs, repeat 7-10 times

Glute stretch - while standing, lift your knee toward your chest, grab it with both hands and pull it further toward your chest, hold for 1-2sec, release and switch legs, repeat 7-10 times.

Calf stretch - standing against a wall or tree, stretch calves using the same technique holding 1-2 sec, bend knees to get the soleus, straighten knees to get the gastroc.

Max King is a Bend, Oregon based elite trail runner

Training 201 Clinic with Max King - Thursday, May 9th at 7pm - Bend, OR
Join FootZone for Training 201 with Max King, a follow up to the popular Training 101. Max will lead a discussion answering questions such as:
  • How the body adapts to different training stresses and environmental stress?
  • Do you respond better to speed or endurance training?
Attendance to Training 101 is not necessary to attend Training 201, but you may find attending both helpful.

Let Footzone Bend know you're coming, please RSVP!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

ATRA Notes - April 2013

ATRA Notes is a monthly email newsletter for race directors, trail runners and members. You can now find ATRA Notes reprinted on this blog! If you are not already an ATRA member, simply visit this link to join today.  

New! ATRA Socks:
If you are interested in having your own pair of ATRA socks...send a check for $15 (includes  shipping) to: ATRA, PO Box 9454, Colorado Springs, CO 80932 - we'll ship a pair out to you -- they are Core-Spun CoolMax socks proudly made in Colorado and in lovely packaging from the manufacturer (Save Our Soles by Colorado Knitting Company). On the instep they have American Trail Running Association imprinted. They are super comfy and black for those of us who love to run on trails and hate to wash whites! We're hoping to use this as an ATRA fundraiser! If you want to buy two pairs -- send another $10 for the second pair since we only have to pay once for shipping. Just let us know which size you'd like and we'll ship them out and...included with your order, a free ATRA bumper sticker!

Trail Race Calendar:
While on our website, be sure to browse our schedule of races both in the U.S. and abroad. We update our calendar weekly. Please enter your event at, if you don't see it listed.  
Writers Wanted:
We welcome your trail run, or trail race reports that can be included in a future edition of our quarterly newsletter Trail Times. Our spring '13 issue is in production and we're also planning our summer '13 edition which will e-publish in June. All members of ATRA receive a copy and the issues are also posted on our website.

Movie Night:
In addition to presenting Haulin' Ass on April 4, ATRA is also presenting a special night of running films in Colorado Springs, onWednesday, April 24, at 7:00 p.m. at Stargazers Theatre and Events Center. Featured will be, There is No Finish Line: The Joan Benoit-Samuelson Story; A Runner's Life, by Alex Nichols about Colorado College XC & Track Coach Ted Castaneda; and Running the Rockpile, about the legendary Mount Washington Road Race. Advance tickets are $11 at, or $15 night of the show.

Upcoming RRCA Convention:
Join ATRA in Albuquerque, NM, May 2-5 at the RRCA Convention. We'll be enjoying the many activities planned by the host club, the Albuquerque Road Runners, and ATRA has a seat on a panel discussion - Putting on your first ultra - on Friday, May 3.
Join this session to learn about the ins and outs of putting on your first ultra race.  Seasoned race directors will discuss lessons learned from their ultra races.  You will also learn about the American Trail Running Association's Labeling Program, which outlines standards for trail races.  

Upcoming 2013 USA Track & Field Trail Championships:
USA 10km Trail - June 29, Beech Mountain, NC-Beech Mountain 10km
USA Mountain - July 21, North Conway, NH - Cranmore Mountain Race
USA 100 Mile Trail - July 27, Cleveland, OH-Burning River 100 Mile
USA Marathon Trail - August 18, Manitou Springs, CO - Pikes Peak Marathon  
USA Half Marathon Trail - November 2, Moab, UT-Moab Trail Half Marathon
USA 50km Trail - November 9, Boulder City, NV-Bootlegger 50km
The 2013 USATF Trail Championship Sub-Ultra Series will include the 10km, Mountain, Marathon, and Half Marathon with points awarded at each event. The best three of four times will considered for final scoring, but runners will be scored whether they participate in one, two, three, or all four events. The top male and female point getters will receive an award at year end.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Trail running for a cause - Run d’Haiti

Story by IV Whitman - originally published in ATRA's Trail Times Newsletter- Volume 18, Number 63 - Spring 2013

We run to get fit, to win, to help, to remember and to say we’ve done “it.” But most of us run each day for the simple pleasure of getting outside and breathing to the determined rhythm of our footsteps. To run and to breathe is to feel alive. And for thirty people this past January 19, the Run d’Haiti was a 20-kilometer experiment in everything we all love about the sport. 

The Run d’Haiti has become an annual trail run held each January, about fifteen miles east of Port-au-Prince in the countryside of Croix des Bouquets (pronounced “kwa-dayboo-kay”). Hosted by GO Adventures, a supporting branch of the Global Orphan Project, the Run d’Haiti raises awareness about the needs of orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti. As you can imagine, there are many. Bookended by a day trip on Friday to a children’s village in Leogane, the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake, and church with a local pastor in Croix des Bouquets on Sunday, the Run d’Haiti allowed participants to experience something few “outsiders” ever get to see—the real people and countryside of Haiti.

The course was positioned several miles off the main road that leads traffic from Port-au-Prince to the sketchy border of the Dominican Republic. Under the guidance of Ben Holmes, founder of the Trail Nerds Association, and Joe Fox, owner of Cycle City and Running Company, both out of Kansas City, Missouri, the Run d’Haiti was scouted and marked carefully to ensure each runner stayed safely on course. Spray paint, ribbons, mobile aid stations and spotters all made the experience seem effortless to the runners. As one might imagine, the course ran through the middle of everything we tend to interpret as wrong in the world. Mango trees and palms with beautiful 4,000-foot-high mountains in the distance juxtaposed to scores of children sitting on community watering holes that produce bacteria-tainted water. Rural voodoo priests doing more harm than good by prescribing dangerous “medicines” that harm and maim their innocent patients. Running in the countryside is to experience Haiti’s profound poverty.

For any visitor, it is a struggle to imagine how anywhere in the Western Hemisphere, much less somewhere just a 90-minute flight from Miami, could become this impoverished. But reading about the history of Haiti, from the Spanish, French and U.S. occupations to the slave trade and subsequent slave rebellion that established Haiti as an “independent state” in 1804, it’s easy to connect the dots.

Running through this history created a contradiction in each stride. It made each us think and feel and wonder what, if anything, should or could we do. And for many of us, the solution, if there is one, is not a laptop for every child or solar paneled roof tops. We realized the first order of business is friendship. It starts with something as simple as a handshake, a hug, a smile or just asking “kouman ou rélé?” (“what’s your name?). As they say, the best things in life are free. And it works for both sides.

If you want to experience running in Haiti with GO Adventures, join us May 2-6, 2013, for the Fort Jacques 70K. This is a challenging, three-day scouting run in the countryside of Croix des Bouquets and up to the mountains above Port-au-Prince. We are also hosting the second annual Run d’Haiti January 9-13, 2014. This is a 20K trail run 15 miles east of Port-au-Prince in the foothills of Croix des Bouquets. 

Learn more about GO Adventures and our tax deductible events at