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.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

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

Max just finished 4th at the Western States 100 - his first 100 mile race - congrats Max!

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

Max with 2013 World Junior Mountain Running Champion Mandy Ortiz (left) and Tabor Scholl (right)

We are now into the heart of our Central Oregon summer and there's no finer time to be a runner in Central Oregon. I love this time of year and it's perfect for injecting a little intensity into our running. Rather than just heading out for your same daily run try something a bit different this month by putting some short 1min pick ups in your run, get with some running buddies and challenge them to do a speed workout, or better yet, come out on Tuesday night to my Tuesday Performance Group for a good interval workout.  Putting some hard effort into a run will make it feel more accomplishing and rewarding and there's no easier time to do that than July in Central Oregon.

For more information on weekly group runs at the Footzone, check out their website: 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Photos from the World Skyrunning Championships in Chamonix

The World Skyrunning Championships took place this past weekend with the Mont Blanc 80km, Marathon 42km, Cross 21km and Vertical KM. Photographer Elliott Mazzola sent us several epic photos of the event and the top finishers.

You can find a story and link to full results of the events on

Luis-Alberto Hernando - Spain - Winner (80km)

Luis-Alberto Hernando - Spain - Winner (80km)

Aiguille du Midi

Emelie Forsberg - Sweden - Winner, Women (80km)

Emelie Forsberg - Sweden - Winner, Women (80km)

Stevie Kremer - USA - Winner (Marathon)

Ruby Muir, one of New Zealand's most promising young trail runners

Philipp Reiter - Germany - 5th (80km)

Killian Jornet - Spain - Winner (Marathon)

Emelie Forsberg - Sweden - Winner, Women (80km)

Fran├žois D'Haene - France - 2nd (80km)

Ben Duffus - Australia - 3rd (80km)

You can find more photos from Elliott Mazzola on his Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Results from the WMRA International Youth Cup

Story and photos by ATRA Executive Director Nancy Hobbs.

Seventeen countries were represented among the nearly 100 entrants in the 9th World Mountain Running Association's International Youth Cup held in Arco, Italy, on Sunday, June 29, 2014.

Junior boys and girls ages 16 and 17, competed for their respective national athletic federations in the hopes of winning an individual, or team medal. How the athletes were selected varied from country to country.

Start of the junior men's race.

In the United States, selection was based on a running resume accompanied by a letter of recommendation from a coach and/or a parent.There was a similar program in Germany whereby coaches contacted representatives in the federation if they had an athlete who might be a good fit for the program whether they excelled in cross country, or had specific skills in off-road running. In many countries, Italy being an example, there were specific selection races.

The Irish junior team had its roots in cross country. Leo Mahon, team manger of Ireland, explained their team selection process during an interview on race day, “We draw the athletes from cross country. Usually the first three across the line at a specific race get the trip. We could also preselect if there is an athlete with a proven mountain running record that is unable to travel to the selection race.”

Of the six members of this year’s Team Ireland, most had mountain running experience. Says Mahon, “Five have been away with us in the mountains. For one boy, it is his baptism to mountain running. I’d be interested to hear his comments after the race.”

Junior women on course

Mahon went on to provide his thoughts on the course in Arco, “It is very technical. All kinds of surfaces. The start in the center of town brings a different atmosphere to the race. For the publicity, for the town, it is very good. For some of the mountain running purists — they may prefer courses that start and finish right in the mountains. I personally love the course and it will be interesting to see how the athletes get on.”

Like Mahon, many of the team coaches were on course to cheer on their athletes at various points along the course. Others opted to watch the race unfold on the big screen in the town square. The live streaming was a great addition to the event and provided not only coaches, but spectators an opportunity to experience much of the race without leaving the start/finish area.

Switchbacks on the course

It was a indeed a unique event including cobblestones on the pathway leading runners through town, past shops and small hotels. There were numerous steps on the ascent which led runners toward the 12th century castle. There was a flat, grassy section at the base of the castle, more ascending and more steps and then a steep descent to the 2 kilometer point. The remainder of the course included a mixture of grassy terrain, steep descents, a dirt pathways through olive groves, a final descent through town which leveled out for the final 300 meters to the finish line. It was a very challenging course with the girls running nearly 4 kilometers, and the boys nearly 5 kilometers.

The day started out with cloud cover and temperatures in the low 70s. As Mahon remarked shortly after the start of the girls’ race at 10:30 a.m., “The weather has been kind to us. The clouds are high…there is a gentle breeze.”

Cameron Moore from Team USA

The weather held for the girls’ race, but by the 11:15 boys’ start, the clouds had rolled in and a light rain started to fall. By the end of the boys’ race, the rain was steadily falling.  In the girls race, the early lead went to Burcu Subatan, Turkey, who was first to reach the flat grassy section just beyond the one kilometer mark. But the course did not stop climbing here. And Subatan, a proven climber, increased her lead up the roadway toward the castle. On the descent, a few of the chase runners - Elsa Racsan, France, and Russians Tatiana Ivanaeva and Sinaida Antonova started to gain ground.

Through the trails in the olive grove, Racasan took the lead and crossed the finish line in Arco timed in 19:43. Second was Ivanaeva in 19:55, while Subatan was third in 20:02. There were 48 finishers in the girls race.

In the team competition — three runners comprised a team, all of whom had to finish the race to score — France won gold with 30 points followed by Bulgaria with 33 points and Russia with 35 points.
The men’s competition also saw a runner from Turkey leading after the first climb. This runner was Abdullah Yorulmaz. But on the descent, Yorulmaz, with a 10 second lead, missed a turn some two kilometers into the race, and Italian Davide Maginin overtook him. Yorulmaz quickly doubled back to the course, but Maginin was already pulling away.

Yorulmaz was not strong on the descent and even though he made it back on course quickly, he was overtaken by six more runners and ended up in eighth position. Magnini was cheered by the home town crowd as he crossed the finish line more than 30 seconds in front of the second runner. Magnini was timed in 21:29 followed by Pierre Xolin, France, in 22:07, and Samuele Nava, Italy in 22:08.
Cameron Moore was the sole athlete participating from the United States. In his first international mountain running event, Moore placed 44th among the 47 runners in the boys’ race. Moore’s time was 26:25.

“I got off to a really bad start,” said Moore who lives in Edwards, Colorado, and just completed his junior year at Battle Mountain High School. “I waited for a countdown, but there wasn’t one. All of a sudden everybody took off and I got stuck in the back. I did manage to pass some guys, but it wasn’t nearly enough.”

Cameron Moore after his race.

Moore admitted that he’d never run on a course quite like the one in Italy, but learned a lot. He was proud to represent his country during this first appearance for a U.S. athlete at the Youth Cup and showed a maturity beyond his 17 years.

In the boys' team competition, Italy scored 13 points to take gold, while Turkey won the silver medal with 36 points. England rounded out the top three teams taking the bronze medal with 38 points.
There were 18 full teams for both divisions, (Russia and England both fielded an “A” and a “B” team). Complete results are available at

Top junior women.

The venue for the 2015 WMRA Youth International Cup will be announced in September at the WMRA Congress meeting which is held at the time of the World Mountain Running Championships in Casette di Massa, Italy. The Championships will feature both junior (ages 16-19 in the year of competition), and senior competition.