Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Max's Running Tip of the Month - December 2014

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

Max winning the 2014 IAAF 100k World Championships (Photo by iRunFar)

Most of us take some sort of break from running during the winter, either to do something else or just rest the legs for a bit. A break during this time of year has advantages of getting you mentally rested and ready for next year and allowing all that training you've done all year to really sink in. Taking a break this winter doesn't mean that you have to let yourself get completely out of shape and have to start over next season. I always look forward to a winter break, but if I take time completely off my feet, I dread the few weeks back when everything tightens up and just plain hurts to run.

The best thing I've found to give your body a rest and keep your fitness maintained is to cut your mileage down to about 15-25% of your normal so that you're running a small amount every other day. This gives your body the physical and mental break it needs while still letting your muscles retain some of that running memory and conditioning. That way when you do want to start up again everything will be ready to go. Enjoy the season and be safe out there.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Jones & Kimmel take USA Trail Marathon Titles

Competitors headed off the start trying to heat up the chill in Pritchett Canyon at the USA Trail Marathon Championships this past Saturday.  The championships were held in conjunction with the Moab Trail Marathon.  Trail runners traveled from all around the country to compete for National Champion titles in the Overall and 5 year Masters age categories.  The course traverses several cool canyons, climbs jeep roads or rugged trails to plateaus, and then returns to canyon bottom again on technical trails.  This trail marathon is not for the faint hearted, but a diehard trail enthusiast was in paradise complete with amazing expansive views of the cayonlands.

Men's winner Dakota Jones (Photo by Hunter Imagery)

The racing did not disappoint either.  Several guys provided the heat with a fast start.  That settled down to a group of about 7 by the first aid station around 5.6 miles.  By the out and back section in Hunter Canyon at 12 miles there was a group of three at the front consisting of Justin Ricks, Dakota Jones, and Mario Mendoza.  A long string of guys were close behind, but things were beginning to break up at the front.  Up the 1.5 mile Scorched Earth Wall climb, Travis Macy caught the group of three to challenge for a bit.  Those front three would pull away over the last 10 miles as the course would now be more technical singletrack than jeep road.  Dakota moved to the front to gain a small lead and once there resolved to not get complacent heading down the technical descent from mile 21-23.  Dakota hoped to build a lead that the others would not be able to overcome in the final 3 miles.  It proved be a winning strategy as Dakota claimed his first National Title in 3:03:09.  Mario and Justin continued to battle and try to reel Dakota back in.  They remained close throughout with Mario Mendoza taking 2nd in 3:06:46 and Justin Ricks taking 3rd in 3:07:30.  All three were under the previous course record.  The men’s master race was close as well with Jason Bryant overtaking Jon Brown ¾ of mile from the finish.  Bryant finished in 3:24:12 claiming his 5th US Masters Mountain Ultra Trail title.  Jon Brown followed closely in 3:26:01 and Chris Grauch the 3rd master in 3:27:05.

Women's winner Megan Kimmel (Photo by Hunter Imagery)

Several of the ladies were out quickly as well.  Megan Kimmel took the reins at the front about 2 miles in as the first climb got underway.  By Hunter Canyon at 12 miles, Megan had developed a small lead over Chris Lundy and Laura Tabor.  That lead would grow up the Scorched Earth Wall climb and on the singletrack trails after.  Behind her, Chris Lundy was building a small lead on Laura Tabor during this section.  Megan would continue to gap the other ladies all the way to the finishing in 3:27:52, just 4 seconds of the course record to claim her 3rd National Title.  Chris had built a 1 and ½ minute advantage going into the difficult final three miles with slickrock climbs and soft sand.  But that would not be enough to hold off Laura Tabor as she moved up to take second in the end with a time of 3:52:35.  Chris Lundy followed closely in 3:52:58 for third.  Chris Lundy did take the Women’s Master title, her 1st US Masters title to go along with a USA 10km Trail overall title in 2007.  Cate Fenster would come in just over 4 hours as the second female master at 4:00:23.  Timeless Anita Ortiz was 3rd female master with her time of 4:03:41.

Top female finishers (photo by Chris Lundy)

It was great day on spectacular and challenging trails, just what a Trail Championship should be.  Race director, Danelle Ballengee knows how to lay out a true trail course that does not disappoint.  The race becomes even more of event with excellent post-race atmosphere.  USA trail running is a massively growing sport with more and more runners looking to the challenge and beauty found off road.  It was a perfect choice as a qualifying event for the US Team for the 2015 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships at the Zermatt Marathon in Switzerland.  For more information on USA Mountain Running, go to www.usmrt.com.

For complete results click here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Max's Running Tip of the Month - November 2014

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

Max wins the 2010 USA 1/2 Marathon Trail Championships (Bend, OR)

I recently had a dedicated runner come up to me that has been coming to my Tuesday Performance Group workout for the past month and say "I'm a totally different runner than I was a month ago". That is a huge compliment to me and the main reason I do the TPG workouts. And she's exactly right. I've heard it again and again from people, a little bit of hard work and faster running can make you a whole different runner. And notice I say "faster" running and not "fast" running. I love to see everyone from 12min/mi pace to 5min/mi pace out there working out together and encouraging each other.

So, I challenge you this winter to add a little speed and hard work into your running regimen either at my Tuesday Performance Group or on your own. It will build not only speed and endurance but confidence that next year you'll be a better runner.

Be sure to email me at max@footzonebend.com to be added to the TPG list so you know where the workouts will be each week.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Moab to host the USA Trail Marathon Championships

The Nation’s top elite runners will be competing in the November 8th USA Trail Marathon Championships in Moab, UT.  The race is full with over 1500 runners signed up for the Marathon, ½ Marathon and 5k events.  The Marathon, with its USA Championship title has drawn over 50 elite runners who will via for top honors.  Some of the top contenders to win are David and Megan Roche who have each won USA titles at Trail 10km and Megan also won the USA Trail 50km title.  Justin Ricks and Kalib Wilkinson, among others, will be ones to watch for contention at the front.  Dave Mackey will bring plenty of experience as a master likely to compete for the overall title as well.  Chris Lundy will be another of the women to watch for with plenty of trail and championship experience of her own.  Anita Ortiz will look be a top masters and overall contender for the women.  Participants will run a beautiful, rugged course that features trails along the Kane Creek Corridor such as Pritchett Canyon, Hunter Rim, Jackson Trail as well as some unnamed trails, and trails through Private Property including a fixed rope section.  The top runners in the Half Marathon will be recognized as National Champions in addition to receiving the $2500 prize purse.

Not for the faint of heart, the Moab Trail Marathon has a reputation for being one of the toughest cross country races around.  The course features a mix of Moab’s unique 4wd roads and trails; This course travels up, down, and through several stunning canyons.  Rugged terrain and spectacular scenery bring runners from around the World to compete on this course.  2014 is the 6th edition of this race. The course was designed by world class local runner, Danelle Ballengee, who is known to set challenging courses.  The course actually crosses the path of her famous fall in 2006 where she survived at 60 foot fall and two freezing nights with a shattered pelvis only to be saved by her dog, Taz and neighbor, Dorothy Rossignol.

Race organizers are thrilled at the response and looking forward to a successful event.  Moab is a wonderful host town to events like this.  And the course couldn’t be any better.  The scenery is absolutely stunning.  This year the race organizers have coupled with several local non-profit organizations that will also be helping out on race day.  Proceeds from the race will go to benefit these non-profit organizations including Community Rebuilds, Friends For Wheelin’, Humane Society of Moab Valley, Trail Mix, Young Life, Grand Mtn Bike Team, Grand County Search and Rescue, and others.

The race starts at 8:30am on November 8th.  Top finishers are expected to finish in less than 2 hours, and the cutoff is set at 8 hours.  It is recommended that those hikers, bikers, and jeepers wishing for solitude recreate elsewhere, although spectators are welcome.  The event is being held under permit from the BLM and SITLA.

For more information check out the website www.moabtrailmarathon.com or call Danelle at 259-7844 or 970-389-4838.   The event is full, so they are not accepting registrations, although local Kids are welcome to compete in the ‘Kid’s K’, which features running through an arch and cave, going down a ladder, and through a bouncy house.  Parents need to sign their kids up. (At Milts Stop & Eat on Friday Nov. 7th, between 3:30-7:30 or race morning between 7 and 9am)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Smyth and Dalzot victorious at USA Trail Half Marathon Championships

Patrick Smyth handily won this year’s USA Trail Half Marathon Championships which was held on Saturday, October 18, in Bellingham, WA, at Lake Padden. The 28-year-old from Salt Lake City, UT, bested a strong field to post the fastest time in the event’s four-year history crossing the finish line in 1:14:55, nearly three minutes ahead of second-place finisher Mario Mendoza, 28, Bend, OR.

Maria Dalzot

Conditions were ideal for racing with temperatures in the upper 50s, and overcast skies. The course included a variety of terrain including fast and flat sections of crushed limestone pathways around the Lake, and single track trails with leaves, tree roots, and rocks through canopied forest. There was more than 1600 feet of vertical gain in the course.
Smyth earned $750 for the win while Mendoza, who was timed in 1:17:45 – well ahead of his time from last year’s winning effort of 1:23:18 – pocketed $500. Third-place finisher with a time of 1:18:09 was Andrew Benford, 26, Flagstaff, AZ, followed by Justin Houck, Mercer Island, WA, in 1:18:47, and Bennett Grimes, 26, Seattle, WA, in 1:19:21. Third through fifth earned $250, $125, and $75 respectively.

Patrick Smyth

The first master was 40-year-old Ian Fraser, Port Townsend, WA, who finished in 20th place overall with a time of 1:27:42, to win the top masters’ purse of $150.

In the women’s division, local favorite Maria Dalzot, 26, ran a smart and strategic race posting a winning time of 1:32:13. Although not a course record – that distinction belongs to Jodee Adams-Moore who ran 1:30:45 in 2012 – it was Dalzot’s personal best on the course.
Men's Podium

Andrija Barker, 33, Caldwell, ID, was second among the women in 1:33:33, followed by Tori Tyler, 27, Danville, CA, in 1:33:53, Caitlin Smith, 33, Oakland, CA, in 1:34:33, and Chris Lundy, 44, in 1:34:36. Lundy was also the first master’s finisher earning her both open and masters prize money which totaled $225.
Women's Podium

In this, the 5th year of the USA Trail Half Marathon Championships, more than 60 of the 210 finishers competed in the championships division.  Complete results are available at this link. http://ultrasignup.com/results_event.aspx?did=27603#

Story by Nancy Hobbs - Photos by Richard Bolt

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

2nd annual Trail Running Conference a success

Joy, solitude, inspiration, peace, liberation, and fun were all descriptive emotions attendees at the 2nd annual Estes Trail Ascent & Trail Running Conference said trail running brings to them.

The conference was held in Estes Park, Colorado, at the Stanley Hotel and welcomed more than 140 trail runners and race directors over three days (October 9-11, 2014), of seminars, trail runs complete with demo shoes, panel discussions, vendor exhibits, and a movie night.

Broken into two sections with day one geared to trail race directors and days two and three for trail runners, fans, and enthusiasts of the sport, attendees interacted with panelists and enjoyed a fantastic networking opportunity packed full of ideas. Those attendees came to Estes Park from as far away as Alaska and as close as Boulder, Colorado, with the Midwest, Pacific Northwest, north, south and east represented. For the race director section, ten states were represented in the attendees. Organizer Terry Chiplin, Director of Estes Park-based Active at Altitude said, “The conference exceeded my expectations. Last year was good, but this year was fantastic.
“We took attendee comments to heart last year and, based on the feedback we received, created a more comprehensive program which included all facets of the sport from trail running technique to trail race directing,” said Chiplin. “We plan to harness all of the excitement and enthusiasm from this year’s conference and work toward year three when we’ll host the event again in October.”

Ragnar Trail Relay, Endurance Race Series/Race Director Supplies, the American Trail Running Association (ATRA), the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), Vail Recreation District, and Miwok 100K, were all represented among the panel members to cover the various facets of race directing on day one which was presented by Leslie Jordan, Inc.

Sponsorship discussion featured comments from Tia Boddington, Miwok 100K race director who said, “In order to attract sponsors, you need to show how you differentiate your event from the others and if you can show a company how their product is relevant to runners, they may be more inclined to support your event.”
Boddington went on to share an example with race sponsor Tecnu, a company whose product is used to remove poison oak and ivy oils which are ever-present on the trails in the San Francisco Bay area where her event is staged. “We set up Tecnu washing stations at our event and established a great relationship which was good for our sponsor and good for our runners.”

Craig Mintzlaff, Endurance Race Series, spoke about long-term relationships and fulfilling their demographic needs. “We check in with our sponsors over the eight months our series runs,” said Mintzlaff. “We ask the sponsors if we are doing what you want and ask how we can create a better relationship.”

Tanner Bell, Ragnar Relays (the trail version started about 18 months ago), shifted gears and talked about the promotion and marketing of his events. “We had a similar challenge with trail that we had with road. Our road relay participants would say, ‘I’m not a runner.’ In our trail events, people were reticient to say, ‘I’m a trail runner.’ To grow the sport, we had to have more people at the base entry point and so we focused on making it an accessible sport. We found that road runners were somewhat reticent to run on rocks and dirt so we didn’t make our courses too technical.”

To get the word out about their events, Ragnar Relays relies on Facebook advertising, and other online marketing and digital tools, as well as ambassadors, grass roots and targeted marketing.

Boddington added, “It’s also important to figure out how many runners your course can handle, and if you have a limit, decide whether you want to target advertisting to the local, regional, or national market.”

Jean Knaack, Road Runners Club of America Executive Director, suggested that event directors, “Stay on top of the trends,” when it comes to outreach, but added, “We still print and mail items to our membership (some 100,000 households) on a quarterly basis.”

Regarding advertising and promotion, Vail Recreation District’s Steve Croucher was thoughtful about the current market and simply said, “I have heard the term ‘show-me generation,’ but I contend we’re in the show-off generation.”

When the discussion switched to the environment and sustainability, Boddington said, “Think ‘pre-cycling,’ and reduce the was that is going to the event before you even get to the event. Remove all the excess packaging and recycle before you take your bottles, or food products to the event. Use food composters. Plan ahead.”
And, on the sensitive subject of human waste, Boddington said, “Let people know on your website where the ‘places to go’ are located. I know it’s something we hesitate to talk about, but it’s really important to address this issue.”

Bell said of their approach to greening their event, “Do what you can do when you can do it. We tackle a chunk at a time. You may not be able to flick the switch today, so take it one step at a time.”

Regarding the need for runners to give back to the trails, Croucher suggested getting the right message to trail runners and providing education and outreach, “There are not trail fairies out there. Someone has to build and maintain the trails.” Croucher further talked about trail building days and opportunities for trail runners to get involved in their local areas to give back to the trails they so often use.

Additional discussion centered on land use, permits, and municipal requirements as well as volunteer recruitment and retention. Safety, race amenities, and race logistics were also addressed.

Among the many takeaways from the day were ways to bridge the perception in the trail community that all trail running is ultra-distance, getting more youth into the sport, and the simple fact that trail runners don’t need to “run” every step of a race or workout to consider themselves “trail runners.”

Both Friday and Saturday started out with fun runs on the Black Canyon Trail at Lumpy Ridge with New Balance, and Hoka One One each taking a day to provide demo shoes to runners. Nearly 45 attendees took advantage of the opportunity to try out new shoes on the trails which were laden with freshly fallen Aspen leaves and featured vistas of the Rocky Mountains.

Speaker panels and interactive workshops over the two days were crafted to bring together the best knowledge base in this field to demonstrate and talk about the subjects that matter most to trail runners.

Building trail communities was the lead-off session followed by trail shoe development, and like event marketing and promotion from day one, was the featured presentation of the day and was broadcase live on You Tube through a Google Hangout. The panelists for trail shoe development included New Balance’s Greg Tyndall, Competitor magazine’s Brian Metzler, Hoka One One athlete Sage Canaday, Joseph Gray who runs for Scott USA, and specialty retailer Henry Guzman who recently opened Flatirons Running in Boulder. The entire session can be viewed at this link.

Playing off a popular theme from race director day, trail maintenance, advocay and sustainability was covered with panel members including Rodd Judd representing the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA), Ellen Miller representing ATRA, and Kurt Achtenhagen representing Leave No Trace.
In other sessions, ATRA’s Online Marketing Director, Richard Bolt presented the soon-to-lauch trailrunner.com website and discussed social media. Trail running and spirituality was a well-received topic led by Chiplin and included Nike team athlete Zach Miller, Darcy Piceu representing Hoka One One, and Metzler. Stretching, flexibilty and running form were address in two interactive workshops. The day culminated with the debut showing of Sage Canaday’s film, MUT Runner, and Trail Climbs Sharply, a film by Ian MacLellan.

On the final day of the conference discussions centered on effective training and remaining injury free and featured among others, Shannon Payne, who runs for Boulder Running Company/Adidas and was sporting a therapeautic boot from a recent injury. The live Google Hangout of the day was the session on trail racing and FKTs (Fastest Known Times) with Ultraspire/Patagonia athlete ambassador Krissy Moehl, Canaday, Payne, and Dr. Frank Dumont from the Estes Park Medical Center. Watch the session in full at this link.

Nutrition and hydration strategies, lifelong running, and the “way ahead for trail running” were also featured along with interactive workshops on uphill and downhill technique. There was also an Altra-shoe sponsored fun run and a chance to demo Spenco insoles.

Prior to the conference, a contest presented by Leslie Jordan, Inc., for the best trail running race shirt was held. Cayuga Trails 50 Miler won this year’s contest and Krissy Moehl, second finisher in this year’s race, accepted the award on behalf of the event. A prize draw was held throughout the conference featuring more than 70 items and netted close to $1000 for ATRA.

A message from the conference was that trail running represented and could be equated with “lifestyle.” This lifestyle starts with our youth, continues to the master-level athlete and covers every age group in between.

Photos of the conference can be found here.

Story by Nancy Hobbs, Executive Director, American Trail Running Association

Monday, October 6, 2014

Max King's Running Tip of the Month - October 2014

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

Max at the 2012 World Mountain Running Championships.

We've probably touched on this before but going into this time of year sometimes the most difficult part of our run is just getting out the door. We're losing daylight and summer warmth at the same time. Mornings are beautiful but a chill lingers and those shorts and t-shirt just aren't cutting it anymore. Well, never fear, that's why they make great running gear and you hear all the time "there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing". As much as I hate to go from shorts and t-shirt weather, sometimes it's fun to dig through the closet for those long lost tights or pick up a new jacket that fits and feels as well as new shoes do.

It's important to keep your core warm but just as important are good accessories for your appendages. I hate cold hands and it's what keeps me inside many of those really cold days so that's why I have 5 pairs of gloves, one pair for every 10 degrees the temperature drops. And don't forget the hat, Buff for the neck, glasses, arm warmers, and socks. There's something for everybody to keep you warm and comfortable. So remember, as our temps drop, the miles don't have to.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Bellingham, WA community to host 2014 USA 1/2 Marathon Trail Championship

Press Release from Al Coyle, Race Director

Start of the 2013 Lake Padden Trail Half Marathon

(Bellingham, WA) This past December, the USA Track & Field Association (USATF) awarded Bellingham's Lake Padden Trail Half Marathon the national championship for 2014 based on a competitive proposal process.  This honor and designation is a first for Bellingham and has drawn the most elite field ever assembled for a race in the area.

As the host, Bellingham has stepped into the limelight and will build upon the momentum of the national class Chuckanut 50K in showing the rest of the country this trail running mecca which has been one of the best kept secrets in the sport for years.  With hundreds of miles of trails from Bellingham Bay trails to Chuckanut Mountain to Mt Baker that can be run year ‘round, it is no wonder the Bellingham community is proud of trails and will put on a stellar event.

"The community has been great coming together to support the race over the past 3 years" says race director Al Coyle. "Not only are we hosting a great community race, we are also hosting the USA Nationals Trail Half with some of the nation's top runners as well as some of the world's top runners."

100% of all race registration fees go to Rebound of Whatcom County. Rebound exists to bring hope and healing to kids and families whose childhoods have been tainted by abuse, poverty and neglect. At Rebound kids and families get a second chance to experience the memories many of us take for granted, knowing they are loved and supported, building trusting mentoring relationships with caring adults, exploring and restoring the emotional, mental, physical and spiritual aspects of life and becoming complete and productive members of a caring community.

Coyle explains his enthusiasm for the race, "The passion put into the race comes from knowing we are helping the kids who need it. Thanks to all the volunteers who are signing up, to the sponsors, to the race staff and especially the community for being so supportive. I am proud to be from Bellingham. "

There will be an Expo at the Bellingham Spring Hill Suites on Friday from 4-8pm, October 17th, in conjunction with packet pickup for the expected 350+ racers.  In addition to the Expo, there will be a press conference with USATF representatives and elite runners at 5:30 pm.

The Lake Padden Trail Half Marathon race committee would like to express their appreciation to Title Sponsor Flora Health, Champion Sponsors Northwest Sleep Solutions and H&R Block, Shoe Sponsor Icebug, and Supporting Sponsors Superfeet, WECU and Bellingham Physical Therapy.  A race of national caliber could not be conducted without these sponsors.

Elite runners committed (men):

  • Mario Mendoza, Oregon (Nike) - 2013 Lake Padden Champion and US 10k Trail National Champion
  • David Laney, Oregon (Nike) - 2013 Chuckanut 50k Champion
  • David Roche, California (Nike) - 2014 and 2012 USATF 10k Trail Champion
  • Drew Polley, Washington (Brooks) - 1:04 half marathon, 2:14 marathon, 2014 Seattle Marathon Champion
  • Alex Varner, California (Nike) - 2 time Dipsea Champion 
  • Justin Houck, Washington (Seattle Running Club/Brooks) - 2014 Squak Mountain Champion
  • Bret Ferrier, Utah (Unattached) - 2014 Hillbilly Half Marathon Champion

Elite runners committed (women):

  • Morgan Arritola, Idaho (Salomon) - 2012 and 2013 US National Mountain Running Champion
  • Megan Roche, California (Nike) - 2014 USATF 10k Trail Champion, 2014 USATF 50k Trail Champion, 2014 USA Mountain Running Team
  • Megan Kimmel, Colorado (Asics) - 2012 and 2013 US 10k Trail National Champion
  • Clara Peterson California (Nike) - 15:51 5k PR, 2014 Dipsea Fastest Female Time
  • Jodee Adams-Moore, Bellingham (Scott) - 2012 Lake Padden winner and course record holder
  • Maria Dalzot, Bellingham (La Sportiva) - 2011 North American Mountain Running Champion
  • Christine Lundy, California (Unattached) - Five time USA Mountain Running Team, 2 time North American Mountain Running Champion, 2007  US 10k Trail National Champion, 2009 US National Mountain Running Champion, 3 time US Olympic Trials Marathon
  • Paige Pattillo Washington (Unattached) - 2014 Hillbilly Half Marathon Champion
  • Marlene Farrell, Washington (Seattle Running Club/Brooks) - 2 time US Olympic Trials Marathon qualifier
  • Ameila Bethke, Washington (Unattached) - 2013 Lake Padden Champion
  • Betsy Bies, Oregon (Unattached) - 2007 Nike Team Nationals Champion
  • Emma Kertesz, Washington (Unattached) - 32:51 10k PR and USA Ekiden Team Member

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Course records go down at USA 50km Trail Championships

It was a fast day in Bend, OR, at today’s USA 50km Trail Championships. A cloudless sky with temperatures in the 50s for the 9:00 a.m. start, would bode well for the athletes to set off at a fast pace and as a result, both the men’s and women’s course records were broken.

Megan Roche winning the Flagline 50k

For the women, first-timer at the distance, Megan Roche, 24, Mountain View, CA, led from the start and, in a competitive field, finished eight overall in a time of 4:00:40, smashing the 2012 record of 4:11:28 set by Erica Baron.

Asked if the distance was the longest she had ever completed, Roche simply said, “Oh, by far.” When asked about her expectations going into the race, Roche said, “I just didn’t want to have a disaster out there. I took it out pretty hard – I was a bit horrified…I had never done anything like this before. I was pretty far ahead from the start. I couldn’t see anyone on the switchbacks and just kept moving. My goal today was to focus on the uphills. I feel that is my strength right now.”

Next up for Roche, either the USA Half Marathon Trail Championships on October 18, or the USA Marathon Trail Championships on November 8. “It depends on my schedule,” said Roche who is attending Stanford to pursue her medical degree.

In second was Olympian Magdalena Boulet, 41, Oakland, CA, who was also under the course record finishing in 4:10:49. Her performance was good enough for tenth overall and first in the masters’ division.

“I feel pretty good,” said Boulet after finishing. “Two weeks ago when I finished a 50K, I was pretty spent. Today, I felt pretty good. It’s a good sign for the longer distances I have coming up. “ Boulet will race a 72K in France next month, and a 50 miler in December.

Rounding out the top three for the women was Amanda Brown, 24, West Linn, OR, who finished in 4:33:56.

Tim Tollefson winning the Flagline 50k

The men’s race saw Tim Tollefson, 29, Mammoth Lakes, CA, in his debut trail race break away from the field some six miles into the race and finish with a course-record performance of 3:24:04.

Hot on his heels was runner-up Ryan Bak, 29, Bend, who chewed up a deficit which grew to more than three minutes to finish just 20 seconds after Tollefson. Bak’s time of 3:24:24 was also under the course record of 3:27:54 set by Max King in 2011
“Right from the beginning, David Roche took out the pace and I took it out right behind with Ryan,” said Tollefson. “I took some bad steps along the way to the first aid station and as we turned past the first aid station (at about mile 5), Ryan took off and I went right behind him.

“He stopped on the climb to take some fuel and I put a surge on to see what would happen, and I passed him,” continued Tollefson. Bak didn’t answer the surge and Tollefson said he ran the last 25 miles or so by himself.

About the course, Toillefson said, “I found those climbs to be very taxing on my legs. At around mile 24, I realized I didn’t calculate my fuel correctly and at mile 27, I tripped and slid head first toward a tree. That gave me a bolt of energy and I shook off the fall.

“I turned around after we crossed the highway and I looked back to see Ryan like 30 seconds behind me. I didn’t have my GPS going, so I didn’t know how much distance I had left and as I was cresting the hill, I thought about walking. I didn’t, and after cresting the hill I just took off to the finish,” said Tollefson.

“After we finished Ryan said he was hurting just as bad as I was. It was a bit refreshing. I know he has a lot of speed and I knew I might be in trouble. I was running scared at the end,” said Tollefson.

Asked if this race helped him solidify his quest with trail running Tollefson said, “I would say it is completely inspired and generated more excitement for what the future holds. I learned a lot from today’s race and I know I can improve on some of the mistakes I made today. I hope I can continue to learn from the athletes in the community and hope to race some larger events in the future.”

One of those races may be the USA Mountain Championships in 2015. “It is definitely on my radar, “ said Tollefson. “Although I think the 50K suits me well, I don’t neglect speed training and I think I could probably hold my own at the shorter distances.”

Asked if there were any surprises today, Tollefson reflected, “I was surprised at how much the hills took out of me. I train at 8,000 to 9,000 feet, but it really fatigued my legs today. I took more of a marathon approach – but the time on your feet is greater. The last three miles I was hoping that magically an aid station would appear. It was clear I was needing something in my system.”

David Laney, 26, Ashland, OR, finished in third timed in 3:31:20. He was followed by David Roche, 26, Mountain View, CA, in 3:34:08 and Sam Robinson, 29, Oakland, CA. Zach Ornelas, 23, Ann Arbor, MI, held on for sixth after having a few low points during the race. His time was 3:41:56.

Top master was flatlander Brad Burgman, 41, Des Moines, IA, who finished in eighth place among the men with a time of 4:13:42. “I’m thrilled,” said Burgman after his top-ten finish. “My wife (Anna – who finished fourth among the USATF women), and I have two kids and we’re busy with their activities (Burgman is also employed as an anesthesiologist with a busy career). Whenever you can perform to the best of your ability when the training is not always what you want it to be, it’s a good feeling.”

Although Burgman was running on the trails today, he said, “I’m a Nordic skier. I think trail racing and Nordic skiing go hand in hand. I kind of train for both at the same time. I’m already roller skiing (in preparation for the American Birkebeiner in Hayward, WI, in February). Most Nordic ski races are longer, plus trail racing requires a certain amount of strength which you also need to ski.”

There were 148 starters in the 50K, 43 of whom competed in the USATF division. Awards were presented to the top ten men and top ten women overall, while the top finishers in masters age groups also received medals. Prize money was awarded to the top three men and women – $500/$300/$150 – and the top master male and female each earned $300.

Story by +Nano Hobbs - Photos by +Richard Bolt 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Max King's Running Tip of the Month - September 2014

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

John Tribbia, Mario Mendoza & Max King at the 2010 USA Trail Marathon Championships

We are now hurtling headlong into fall race season. All your summer training is starting to show and you're feeling pretty confident (or not) about your upcoming race, marathon or otherwise. One thing I'm going to add to your training, don't forget about eating.

Your race day nutrition plan (or lack thereof) can make or break your race. It's that important to dial in your nutrition so you can stay strong through the final miles. One key to getting that right is training with nutrition. Use your long runs to try new things and drop things that don't work. Don't rely on the race's aid stations for your calories. They may or may not have what you need. Your long run eating won't completely eliminate the risk of having nutrition related problems, but it can significantly reduce them.

The proper nutrition is a key element to any training plan. So, make a plan, get some advice, try it out, and go race.

Friday, August 29, 2014

O2X Summit Challenge Series: The mountain is the obstacle

The following post is sponsored content from new ATRA "Switchback" corporate member O2X.  

WARREN, Vermont O2X Summit Challenge Series is bringing fitness back to its outdoor roots with an inclusive festival atmosphere and all-natural course options that will challenge anyone from the casual 5K jogger or weekend hiker to the hardcore mountain runner – those aren’t the only things that make the O2X Summit Challenge a different kind of event. But they’re a good start.

An outdoor experience for runners, hikers and nature lovers, the O2X Summit Challenge Series debuts on Mt. Ellen at Sugarbush Resort on September 13. Events at Sunday River, Maine (Sept. 27), Loon Mountain, N.H. (Oct. 18) and Windham Mountain, N.Y. (Oct. 25) round out the series.

O2X Summit Challenges stand apart from obstacle races, at the same time offering much more than the straight-to-the-summit fire road mountain run. Courses will combine single-track trails with creative natural challenges like stream crossings, rock scrambles, downed trees, and glades, ending with a summit finish. With a 4,000-foot mountain for a canvas, O2X course designers just didn’t see a need for anything beyond what nature has to offer.

“O2X Summit Challenges are crafted mountain experiences fundamentally different from simple uphill running races,” said Gabriel Gomez, co-founder of O2X Summit Challenges. “We’ve worked with local mountain managers and combined our team’s experience setting routes around the world to create challenging and enjoyable adventures for all levels of outdoor enthusiasts.”

The course can be approached as a hike (take in the scenery), a run (there’s money on the line) or a mix of the two (because most of us just can’t sprint all the way up a mountain). Participants can choose between Single Diamond routes that gain at least 1,000 net vertical feet and are three to five miles in length; Double Diamond routes, gaining at least 2,000 vertical feet and running five to seven miles in length; and Triple Diamond, gaining at least 3,000 vertical feet, seven to nine miles in length (coming out west in 2015).

Training support is available through the mobile app Unleesh (www.unleesh.com), an experiential learning program that allows human performance experts at O2X to deliver daily workouts designed to maximize performance on the mountain. Unleesh provides easy-to-follow instructions with images accompanying each exercise in a given workout. To receive the training plan, download the app on iOS and Android by searching “O2X.” Those who prefer the good old map-and-compass style to mobile apps can sign up for the O2X email list and receive a PDF copy of a 33-week workout.

“The Unleesh app will help users establish a fitness baseline and structure their workouts with the perfect blend of duration, intensity and recovery right up to race day,” said O2X co-founder Adam La Reau. “It’s like having a personal coach training you to peak for O2X events – you don’t have to worry about going too hard or too easy, too long or too short – with the Unleesh training app, you’re in good hands.”


Pre-race camping, post-race celebrating and a fun, communal atmosphere will be in full effect throughout the event. A weekend-long “BaseCamp” will offer on-site camping, meals, hikeable spectator lookout points, a creative and fun kids race, training-and-performance exhibits, slack lines, bouldering walls and a farmer’s market-inspired gathering of local fare.

The Sugarbush event will offer a $15 Chili Buffet featuring three styles of chili served in bread bowls as well as hot corn bread around a blazing bonfire. Breakfast will be served the morning of the race and food and drinks during the rest of the day.

Boston band Element 78 will headline the post-race celebration for all four series events. The dynamic collection of sponsors, partners and local supporters represented at BaseCamp include Juti Organics, Defense Mobile, Delta Dental and CamelBak.

Ever stuck around for the conclusion of a concert or sporting event to see the mountains of trash and debris-strewn fields left behind afterwards? O2X organizers are committed to running a clean event and not letting that happen. That’s why they brought in a crack team of music festival green-up pros from a non-profit organization called REVERB.

“We have pushed hard from the conception of this event to hold ourselves and our partners to the highest standard of environmental responsibility,” said O2X co-founder Craig Coffey. “A zero-impact event is what we’re all striving for, and bringing in REVERB is another step toward our goal.”

O2X organizers are committed to composting and recycling, working with local suppliers to reduce shipping impact, avoiding single-serve packages and donating salvageable foods in the local area after the event. All O2X courses are built to U.S. Forest Service guidelines, and organizers are committed to a first-of-its kind Remediation Pledge to leave the mountain in better shape than they found it.


The debut event at Sugarbush is the first in four O2X events that make up the Summit Challenge Series. Men’s and women’s series winners will be awarded $1000 each at the final Windham Mountain event.

Top finishers at the Sugarbush event will divide a $1500 purse on Sept. 13. Men’s and women’s Single Diamond course winners earn $250 each. Double Diamond course winners take home $500 each. A special Rise Higher Award will be awarded to the most inspiring racer through an email nomination process (info@O2X.com) before the event.

Registration includes parking, insurance, and bag drop. Racers who sign up for four 2014 races gain free entry to any single race in 2015. To register, visit www.O2X.com

Monday, August 25, 2014

USA 10K Trail Championships - Story & Photos

The runners in the 6th annual Continental Divide Trail Race enjoyed beautiful weather and views as they tackled the challenging course.  The race took place at Laurel Ridge Camp and Conference Center in Laurel Springs, NC, right on the Eastern Continental Divide.  The course provides runners with a mixture of challenges as the terrain is constantly changing.  From the start on top of the mountain, runners are continually descending then climbing all the way to the final ¼ mile climb at 22% up to the finish.  Fast times on the course require both speed on the smoother trails as well as technical ability on the singletrack sections.  The soft conditions from recent rains added to the challenge for 2014 version.  This year an even 100 runners took on the mountain with many excellent performances.

Start of the race.

David Roche (Sunnyvale, CA) repeated his National Championship from 2012.  He started off the race at a blistering 4:15 pace, trying to open up a gap on the other runners.   A large group followed closely for awhile, but they were soon left strewn in his wake.  Despite turning his ankle and falling twice, Roche ran away from the field early and ran most of the race solo, with a fine finishing time of 42:43.   Mario Mendoza (Bend, OR), defending champion from 2013, finished in the runner-up position this year in 44:48, improving his time from last year.  Jason Bryant (Elkin, NC) secured his 11th 3rd place finish in a USATF Mountain-Ultra-Trail championship with a time of 45:58.  He was also the first 40+ Master’s runner and the first NC USATF finisher, beating out many runners in their 20s and 30s.

Megan Roche - women's champion

Megan Roche (Sunnyvale, CA) won her first National Championship, running from the front as the male winner did, to finish in a time of 48:59.  You may have noticed that the male and female champions share the same last name.  They are newly-weds, celebrating their honeymoon with a trip to NC to run in the USA 10Km Trail Championships.  They will also be travelling together to Italy next month to compete for the USA in the World Mountain Running Championships.  Expect to see more from this new power couple of mountain/trail running!  Dominique Stassuli (Lillington, NC) took second place in 55:47 and Cassandra Henkiel (Austin, TX) was the third USATF finisher and first 40+ Masters finisher in 57:30.  Lorraine Young (Raleigh, NC) was the top NC USATF and top NC USATF Masters finisher.

David Roche - men's champion

The competition was also intense in the USATF age groups.  The men’s 65-69 age group had 6 runners competing for USATF medals.   Joyce Hodges-Hite (Millen, GA), now 77 years old, secured her 5th 70+ USA 10km Trail Championship age group title.  On the other end of the spectrum, Lauren Henderson (Columbia, SC) took her second Juniors championship title.  USATF teams battled in several categories.  Bull City Track Club is beginning to exert a bit of domination in the 10km Trail Championships.  In the Open competition, they claimed their 3rd team title in 4 years on the Men’s side and 2nd Women’s team title.  The Rosemont Running Club travelled down from Pennsylvania again to take second in the Men’s Open team division.  Bull City also claimed matching titles in the Men’s and Women’s 40+ team competition.  Finally in the 50+ team categories, the Igloi Track Club from Indiana was able to take the Men’s team title and Piedmont Pacers took the Women’s 50+ team title.  Piedmont Pacers then got the Men’s team title in the 60+ category.

Thanks to all our runners who have become part our trail family.  Thanks to all our volunteers for making this event happen.  Complete results are posted at www.mountiangoatracing.com.

Written by Alison Bryant - co-race director.

Friday, August 22, 2014

The Continental Divide Trail Race - Coming up tomorrow!

Have you ever wanted to try a challenging mountain race but don’t want to commit to training for a long distance race?   The Continental Divide Trail Race may be the perfect race to do just that.  The race is only 10 km long; most runners complete the race in 55 to 90 minutes.  The shorter race allows you to test your abilities in the mountains without the commitment of a marathon or ultramarathon race.
The race takes place at Laurel Ridge Camp and Conference Center in Laurel Springs, NC.  It is a beautiful location in the Blue Ridge Mountains, only 1.5 hours from Winston Salem, 2 hours from Charlotte, and 2.5 hours from Asheville.   The Continental Divide Trail Race has a nice mixture of tight technical trails and wide grassy paths, steep climbs and descents mixed with fast runnable sections.  Are you afraid you won’t be able to run the whole race?  Don’t worry, everyone will walk some during this race.  We will keep the clock running until the last runner finishes. Now before you say this race is too tough, we had several 70+ year-old runners participate who said that they loved the course and plan on returning.   But maybe they are tougher than most folks nowadays.  Maybe they know the fun is in taking on a challenge.  Post-race festivities include good food, multiple awards categories (including homemade apple jam for age group winners!), and door prizes.

The Continental Divide Trail Race also serves as the 2014 USA 10 Km Trail Championships, attracting elite runners and top age group athletes from across the country.  So you can have the opportunity to race with them or just be running the same trails with the elites as they lay down smoking times.  Prize money will be awarded to the top USATF finishers and the top NC resident USATF members in the open and masters categories.  This year we are expecting previous winner David Roche (who just made the USA Mountain Team), and his new wife Megan Roche (who also just made the USA Mountain Team) who will be running Continental Divide as part of their honeymoon.  Last year’s champion, Mario Mendoza, will also be returning to challenge the mountain. NC Mountain runner Ryan Woods (2 Time member of the USA Mountain Team) returns trying to move up 1 spot from his numerous 2nd place finishes here.  Another NC Mountain runner, Amber Reece-Young (Runner-up at the 2012 Xterra World Championships) returns to compete for the national championship tag.  To compete in the national championship, you need to be a USATF member, however USATF membership is not required to run the race and everyone is eligible for the Continental Divide age group awards.

Video from the 2009 Continental Divide Trail Race

If you want to spend more time in the mountains, Higgins Lodge has hotel rooms available or you can reserve a bunk in one of the summer camp cabins.  It is also only less than an hour from the mountain town of Boone, an excellent choice for a weekend getaway.

The 2014 Continental Divide Trail Race will take place on August 23, 2014.

For more information, visit www.mountaingoatracing.com.

Press Release by Race Director Jason Bryant.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Max King's Running Tip of the Month - August 2014

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

We've talked a lot at the shop lately about how we run, specifically what we run in, and we all came up with "lots of stuff". We're shoe geeks and we like to try out different things. I'm lucky enough as the shoe buyer to get to rotate between many different shoes but the one thing that we all had in common was that we like specific shoes for specific runs. A good trail shoe won't necessarily run well on the road and vice versa, a lightweight trainer can make you feel fast on those quicker workouts where your normal trainer doesn't work as well.

So, we need to address the shoe quiver again. I believe it's an important part of every runners gear. A do-it-all shoe is a great way to go, and there are indeed some shoes that will perform for all of your needs if you stick to a few routes. If you get a bit adventurous, and I hope you do at some point, then adding another pair of shoes you can rotate in can be a big benefit.

Here are a few recommended additions to your standard road shoe: If you're adding in rougher trail I would highly recommend a good trail running shoe. Working up to a faster half marathon time? Adding a lightweight trainer will help. If you use your running shoes for your gym or CrossFit workout you can extend their life by picking up a training shoe that will perform better during your strength sessions. I like to go with a more well cushioned shoe for those days where I want to get in a run but I also need some recovery from the pounding.

Whatever it is, there are multiple reason that you might need a second or third pair. Don't be afraid to go that route, your primary shoes will still be there when you need them with extra life to spare. It's an extra up-front investment but evens out over the life of the shoes. You might think I'm just trying to sell more shoes, but trust me, that's not my goal. My goal is to keep you motivated, keep running fun and help you get the most enjoyment out of your runs.

For more information on weekly group runs at the Footzone, check out their website: http://www.footzonebend.com/events/events_calendar 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Qualifying Standards for the 2015 Long Distance Mountain Running Championship Team

USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Executive Committee just approved qualifying standards for the 2015 Long Distance Mountain Running Championship Team.

1) the top US male and female from Pikes Peak Ascent (August 16, 2014) will be automatically qualified for the 2015 US Long Distance Team, regardless of place.  2) Any US athlete who is in the top 3 overall at Pikes Peak Ascent (August 16, 2014) will qualify.   3)  Top finisher from US Trail Marathon Championship (Moab, Utah - November 8, 2014) will qualify; 4) Remaining spots will be chosen by resume (as few as 1, and as many as 3 for  both male and  female team).

The US Long Distance Team will be comprised of five men and five women; top 3 score (cumulative times from the three top runners).

The 2015 WMRA Long Distance "Championships" (name is proposed to change from Challenge to Championships at the 2014 WMRA Congress meeting in Casette di Massa, Italy in September) will be hosted by the Zermatt Marathon on July 4, 2015.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Mexico to host the NACAC Mountain Running Championships

Story by +Nano Hobbs - Photos by +Richard Bolt

The 11th North American Central American Caribbean (NACAC) Mountain Running Championships will be held on Sunday, July 20, at Carrera La Chupinaya in Ajijic, Jalisco, over a 13.8-kilometer course, the same venue which hosted the event in 2011.

Men's podium - 2011 NACAC Mountain Championships

Although the event is open to 31 member nations USA, Mexico, and Canada have traditionally been the only countries fielding competitors. And, as in the past, teams from Mexico, Canada, and the United States are expected to compete this weekend. Teams are comprised of up to four men and four women with the top two finishers scoring for their respective country.

Competitors will start in the principal square of town, head toward the mountains, cross two creeks and start ascending. The majority of the course is within the Sierra Madre Mountains offering amazing views of Chapala Lake, with a downhill finish back at the town square.

2011 NACAC Mountain Champs in Ajijic, Mexico

Says USA Team Leader +Richard Bolt, “Ajijic offers a truly unique and challenging mountain championship. In 2011, the local support was absolutely fantastic with people packing the town square where the start / finish was held.  The course will be tough as the first and last mile are on very rough cobblestone streets and the upper course run over narrow, steep, muddy mountain trails. Combine this with the hot, humid weather in Central Mexico and this race will only be won by a tough and experienced mountain runner."

2011 women's NACAC Mountain Champion +Maria Dalzot 

The NACAC Mountain Championships have been held since 2004, with the event rotating between the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. This is the fourth time Mexico has hosted the event having previously staged the championships in 2006, 2008, 2011. Canada hosted the championships in 2007, 2010, and 2012, while the U.S. hosted every other year with last year’s NACAC Mountain Championships held at the Cranmore Hill Climb in North Conway, NH.

+Joseph Gray is the defending men’s champion and also won the NACAC Mountain Running Championships in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012. The defending women’s champion is +Morgan Arritola from Team USA.  There will be a new champion this year as neither Gray nor Arritola will compete in Mexico.

Friday, July 11, 2014

US Team announced for the World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge

Story by Nancy Hobbs.  Photos by Richard Bolt

A talented group of ten athletes – five men and five women – have been named to the U.S. Long Distance Team to compete at the 11th annual WMRA World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge to be hosted by the Pikes Peak Ascent on August 16, 2014.

Of these athletes, three have racing experience on Pikes Peak. Two on the men’s team, one on the women’s team. Eric Blake, 35, West Hartford Britain, CT, was last year’s winner in the Ascent posting a time of 2:13:45, more than nine minutes ahead of his nearest rival. With his victory last year, Blake earned an automatic spot on this year’s team.

+Sage Canaday, 28, Boulder, CO, raced to a fourth-place finish in the Ascent in 2012 with a time of 2:21:16, and earned his spot on the team based on his powerful running resume which included a third-place finish at this year’s Mount Washington Road Race presented by Northeast Delta Dental, one of the selection races for the team.

For the women, +Stevie Kremer, 30, Crested Butte, CO, is last year’s Pikes Peak Marathon Champion. Her ascent time was 2:44:02 enroute to a round trip age-group record time of 4:17:10. This result and her mountain racing prowess including a third-place finish at the Vail Pass Half Marathon and second-place finish at the Mt. Evans Ascent – both selection races for the team – earned her a spot on the squad.

Of the remaining team members, six are Coloradoans. +Joseph Gray, 30, Shannon Payne, 28, and Allie McLaughlin, 23, all call Colorado Springs home and Zach Miller, 25, lives in Manitou Springs near the base of Pikes Peak. Andy Wacker, 24, lives in Boulder, and Nuta Olaru, 43, lives in Longmont.

Gray earned his spot on the team having won two of the three selection races in which he competed – the Vail Pass Half Marathon and Mount Washington. He is also this year’s USA Mountain Running Champion. Payne earned her spot with her win at Mount Washington. McLaughlin, finished second in the Vail Pass Half Marathon and is this year’s USA Mountain Running Champion. Miller finished second in the Vail Pass Half Marathon, third at the Mt. Evans Ascent, fourth at Mount Washington. He was also fourth at the USA Mountain Championships. Wacker and Olaru earned their spots with wins at Mt. Evans.

The final team member, +Morgan Arritola, 28, Ketchum, ID, earned her spot with a win at the Vail Pass Half Marathon.

+Morgan Arritola warming up for the race.

The World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge is regulated by the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) under the patronage of the IAAF. The first World Long Distance Mountain Challenge was held at Sierre-Zinal in Switzerland in 2004. Since then, the event has been hosted primarily in Europe, but also in the U.S. with the Pikes Peak Marathon hosting in 2006, and the Pikes Peak Ascent in 2010. In 2015, the Zermatt Marathon will host the Long Distance event on July 4.

The first team competition took place in 2009. The U.S. Women have won the team title twice and the individual title twice. The U.S. Men have one gold and one silver team titles, along with two individual titles. The top three members on the team score for the team.

Expected to compete are runners representing their national federations from Germany, Italy, Poland, South Africa, England, Scotland, Australia, Austria, Japan, Eritrea, Ireland, Canada, and Slovenia. Many of the countries are fielding full teams, although some countries are just fielding one or two runners.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

2014 USA Mountain Running Championships - Race Preview

Story by Nancy Hobbs - Photos by Richard Bolt

With the number of pre-registered runners sitting at 475, a final tally of more than 500 runners are expected to compete at the USA Mountain Running Championships at Loon Mountain in Lincoln, New Hampshire on Sunday, July 6.

Start of the 2013 USA Mountain Running Championships - Women's Race

The previous record of entrants at Loon was 315 when the event hosted the U.S. Women’s Mountain Running Team selection race in 2012. This year’s race will again host the team selection race — this time it will be the sole selection race for both the men’s and women’s senior team. In addition, the inaugural Collegiate Mountain Running Championships will be held as part of the event with those athletes also eligible for spots on the mountain team.

In order to make the U.S. Mountain Running Team, the athlete must be a U.S. citizen who is also eligible to represent the U.S. in international championships. The athlete must also be a current member of USA Track & Field. The top four women and top six men across the finish line who fit this criteria will earn a spot on the team which will compete at the World Mountain Running Championships on September 14 in Casette di Massa, Italy.

The mountain running team includes a junior component comprised of athletes at least 16 and not yet 20 in the year of competition. These three women and four men will be chosen based on their running resume and a letter of recommendation from their coach and/or parent.

The competition at Loon will be intense and will come in the form of two separate races, the women will start on Sunday at 8:00 a.m., the men will follow at 9:30. The women’s course is a mostly-uphill course with 2800 feet of gain over 4.8 miles, while the men’s race will include another two miles which is primarily on single track through the forest on the ski hill. The men's course offers 3200 feet of climbing.

"The course will be extra challenging with the recent rains," said co-race director Paul Kirsch, "It should make for a great race."

Start of the 2013 USA Mountain Running Championships - Men's Race

Both Joe Gray and Morgan Arritola will be on the start line to defend their championship titles from last year’s event held at the Cranmore Hill Climb. Five Olympians are slated to compete — Arritola among them —as well as past USATF mountain and trail running champions, and former mountain running team members. First-time mountain runners who boast exceptional resumes on road, track, and cross country, will be among the competitors who hope to unseat the mountain running veterans.

“Like the terrain at Loon, we have a great mix of athletes,” said Richard Bolt, USATF liaison at the event and team leader of the U.S. Mountain Running Team, “The quality of competition at our mountain running championships has improved tenfold in the past few years and although there are pre-race favorites, there are also athletes who are sure to surprise us. With the level of talent at Loon, there is no doubt that we’ll field medal-worthy individuals and teams at the World Championships.”

USATF members are eligible for prize money and medals which will be awarded in open (athletes of any age) and age-group competition starting at 40 years of age. The top ten overall and top three in each of the masters’ category age groups starting at age 40 in five year increments.

More than half of the registered runners are current USATF members, a testament to the popularity of mountain running within the New England association which boasts the largest number of runners of any USATF association at these championships. Part of this popularity is due to the seven-race mountain circuit organized by the association, of which the Loon Mountain Race is the fifth. The other events in the circuit already contested included the Sleepy Hollow Mt. Race, Pack Monadnock, Wachusett Mountain, and Ascutney Mt. Challenge. The final two events in the circuit are the Cranmore Hill Climb on July 20, and the
Bretton Woods Fell Race on October 4.

Among all the race entries — USATF and open— a total of 30 states and several Canadian provinces are represented.

There is still time to register. “We will offer pre-registered bib pickup today (Saturday) from 4:00-5:30 p.m. at the Governor Adams Lodge at Loon Mountain,” said co-race director Chris Dunn, “Day of event entry is available for $25 on race day at the base of Loon Mountain from 6:00-7:30 a.m for women and 6:30-9:00 a.m. for men.”

Race sponsors include presenting sponsor Northeast Delta Dental, Seacoast Orthopedics, Salomon, Julbo, Hammer Nutrition, Road ID, 603 Brewery, and Meadow View Sugarhouse in Union, New Hampshire.

Be sure to follow the race on Twitter @usmrt and look for results post-race at this link.