Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New ATRA website coming this Summer!

We’ve got exciting news ATRA followers! The American Trail Running Association is building a new and improved website at  Scheduled to be unveiled at the Outdoor Retailer Show in early August, our new home on the web is getting more than a cosmetic upgrade - we’re adding more features and new ways for you to find race, discover trails and connect with the trail running community.  Here’s a sneak peak at what you can expect to see:

Note: above is a "wireframe" & doesn't represent the final look & feel of the new site.

- FIND A RACE:  No longer just a list of races; our expanded event calendar will have individual race pages, more race information, photos, course maps, links to results and historical data.  You’ll be able to search or browse races, by date, location, distance or if the race meets our new “event standards”.  In addition, you’ll be able to see which events are members of ATRA.

- FIND A TRAIL:  ATRA has partnered with Traipse Media to add trail maps to  Search for trails near you, see reviews and ratings by other users and add your own trail features or comments to the maps.

- MOBILE:  Take ATRA to the trails!  The new ATRA website will be fully mobile ready.  You’ll be able to look-up race or trail information on the go with your favorite tablet or smartphone. 

- TRAIL NEWS:  Fresh dirt! Read all about it!  We’re adding a new blog called “Trail News” where you can read feature stories, “Trail Times” articles, press releases from Nancy Hobbs and more.  All articles will have a comments section so you can “sound off” and join the conversation.

- SOCIAL:  ATRA is getting social.  You’ve probably noticed that we’ve been pretty chatty on social media over the past year.  We’re adding social links to all our webpages so you can share your favorite #trailrunning races, trails & more.  Thank you to the over over 8,000 followers who’ve joined us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ over the past 12 months.  We’ll continue to seed your social feed with tasty trail nuggets from races, runners, brands & news sites from across the world of trail running.

- RESOURCES:  It’s a big, big trail running world and we want to help you discover it.  New to trail running?  We’ll help you get started with tips for beginners.  Training for your 2nd 100 mile race?  We’ll help you connect with & learn from other experienced trail runners with a list of blogs & news sources so maybe next time you won’t bonk at mile 60 (just kidding).  Also find links to popular trail running books, clubs, blogs, magazines, running camps & more.

- WHAT WE WON”T DO:  Have you noticed how websites are using more and more space for ads?  In many cases these are ads that follow you around the web and often have no relevance to trail running - even though they display on trail running websites!  The American Trail Running Association is the oldest trail running non-profit in the country and we’re dedicated to providing the information you’re looking for quickly & easily without bombarding you with unsightly ads, pop-up windows or polluting your computer with tracking cookies.  What you will find on the new are small banner ads (no more than 2 per page) from select ATRA corporate members, highlighted listings from our member races and club members.  These are all brands, races and organizations active in the trail running community and without whom we couldn’t do what we do for you, our followers, our community and our beloved sport.  In the same way we don’t share the email addresses of our newsletter recipients, we’re also not going to sell your clicks to the highest bidder, drop re-marketing cookies or “spam” your web browsing experience.   100% pure #trailrunning - that’s the American Trail Running Association. 

- WHAT CAN YOU DO?  Let us know what you’d like to see on the new  Your feedback and ideas are important to us and now’s the perfect time to make suggestions.  

Happy Trails,

Richard Bolt
Director of Online Marketing
American Trail Running Association
richardbolt at trailrunner dot com

Yours truly after my finishing my first trail marathon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race

[Press release from our friends at Mt. Washington]

Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race
Mt. Washington Auto Road
June 21, 2014 – 9:00 a.m.

Past two years’ male winners Blake and Canaday take on Joe Gray (again)
Belotti challenges Erholtz in women’s field; Haefeli, Arritola withdrawn
Former champion Gutierrez, veteran Byrne, newcomers Bak, Miller and Manzi vie for top places among men; Payne, Stocker, Enman threaten women’s co-favorites

Pinkham Notch, N.H. – June 15, 2014

The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race has seen a couple of race-to-the-wire  finishes in recent years, but more often the eventual winner has broken away from the field somewhere on the windswept upper slopes of the highest peak in the northeastern United States and finished all alone in front. Next Saturday’s 54th edition of this all-uphill footrace could well be the scene for close finishes, as three well-matched men battle each other for the third time in as many years and a two-time women’s Mt. Washington champion faces a challenge from a former world mountain running champion.

In the men’s race, defending champion Eric Blake of West Hartford, Connecticut, and 2012 winner Sage Canaday of Boulder, Colorado, will have to match their best-ever Mt. Washington performances if they expect to hold off Joe Gray of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Gray, who finished second here in both 2012 and 2013, was the top American male last fall at the World Mountain Championships in Poland and placed fourth in the USATF cross-country national championships in February.

Having won the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race in 2006 and again in 2008, in one of the closest finishes ever, Blake won again last year by running his personal best time for the course last year, 59 minutes 57 seconds. Canaday’s winning time of 58:27 in 2012 was the third-fastest ever recorded in this race, and his third place finish here last year came one week after he won a major 50-kilometer trail race. Canaday and Blake are two of only seven people ever to run up the up the 7.6-mile Mt. Washington Auto Road in under one hour; Gray could become the eighth this year.

Brandy Erholtz of Evergreen, Colorado, winner of the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race in 2008 and 2009, was a particularly impressive runnerup in 2013; four months pregnant at the time, she beat all other women in the field except fellow Coloradan Laura Haefeli. Haefeli recently withdrew from this year’s race and so will not be on hand to defend her title.

Another recent withdrawal is that of Morgan Arritola of Idaho. Arritola, who placed third in the 2012 World Mountain Running Championships and won the U.S. National Mountain Championship a year later, was a possible co-favorite in what would have been her Mt. Washington debut.

Erholtz must still contend with Valentina Belotti, who won the women’s World Mountain Running Association championship in Italy in 2009 and was runnerup in that race in 2010 and 2012. Belotti will be running up Mt. Washington for the first time.

While the men’s field looks like a three-way race, two newcomers may break up the favored trio. Belotti’s countryman Emanuele Manzi will bring considerable mountain-running experience to his Mt. Washington debut. A protégé of Italian mountain running legend Marco de Gasperi, Manzi run on the Italian national team in six World Championships.

The other strongest threats from first-time competitors here come from Ryan Bak of Bend, Oregon, and Zach Miller of Manitou Springs. Colorado. Bak, who expected to compete at Mt. Washington in both of the last two years but had to withdraw each time, has run a 2:14:17 marathon – a time resembling the marathon bests of several previous Mt. Washington winners. Miller, a member of the Nike Trail Elite Team, won the 2013 JFK 50 Miler and has set course records in several other ultramarathons this year.

As usual, nobody can ignore Simon Gutierrez, of Colorado Springs. Winner of this race in 2002, 2003 and 2005, Gutierrez holds the course record for masters (over 40) runners, a time of 1:01:34, which he ran in 2008. Gutierrez placed fifth in 2005 and last year was fourth after Blake, Gray and Canaday.

For that fourth place finish in 2013, Gutierrez had to outduel Matt Byrne, of Scranton, Pennsylvania, in the final 50 yards. Byrne, who claims several top-five finishes, returns to Mt. Washington for another attempt.

Two or three other women are possible dark horses in this year’s race. One is Kasie Enman, of Huntington, Vermont, who in 2011 became the first American woman to win the World Mountain Running Championship, and who placed third at Mt. Washington in 2011 and 2012.   Enman woud be a co-favorite with Erholtz and Belotti, except that her mountain running strength is greater on uneven terrain than on an all-uphill grade.

Another contender may be Carolyn Stocker, of Westfield, Mass. In 2011, at the age of 18, Stocker placed seventh here, breaking the course record for juniors (19 and under).  She lowered that record while placing fifth in 2012. Having missed the race last year because of an injury, she returns with deeper experience in mountain running, two more seasons of competing in cross-country and track at the University of Maine, and superior winter conditioning from snowshoe racing.

An intriguing unknown in this year’s race is how well Shannon Payne, of Boulder, Colorado, will fare against the rest of the field on Mt. Washington’s 12 percent grade. A late entry into the race, Payne beat Erholtz by four minutes recently at the Black Canyon Ascent in Colorado and came close to the course record set there by two-time Mt. Washington champion Lisa Dobson (who will not be in next Saturday’s race).

Each year’s race includes prizes for the first male and female New Hampshire finishers.  This year’s men’s race is a copy of the past several, as brothers Justin Freeman, of New Hampton NH, and Kris Freeman of Thornton will bring their Olympic Nordic skiing strength to the race again. Last year brother Justin won the prize while placing eighth overall.

The women’s race for first Granite Stater will be exciting, as it pits last year’s winner Larisa Dannis, of Strafford, against Diana Davis of Exeter and Abbey Woods of Laconia.

The Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race begins at the Auto Road base on Route 16 north of Pinkham Notch and climbs to the 6288-foot summit at an average grade of 12 percent and a net altitude gain of 4650 feet.  The runners battle not only each other but the sheer force of gravity and Mt. Washington’s famously severe winds.

Former six-time World Mountain Champion Jonathan Wyatt of New Zealand holds the men’s course record at Mt. Washington: 56 minutes 41 seconds, set in 2004.  The women’s record was set in 2010 by the 23-year-old Ethiopian runner Shewarge Amare, who made the ascent in one hour eight minutes 21 seconds.

Based in Concord, NH, Northeast Delta Dental has sponsored the race up the historic Mt. Washington Auto Road since 2001. The health company’s CEO, Tom Raffio, has run the race in a personal best of one hour 50 minutes and 51 seconds. In 2012, Northeast Delta Dental increased its already strong support for the event, making it officially the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race.

Fifty percent of all proceeds from the race will be donated to the Coos County Family
Health Services for their oral health programs. Based in nearby Berlin, NH, this community-based organization provides innovative, personalized, comprehensive health care and social services to everyone, regardless of economic status.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Trail Racing in Costa Rica

by Philippe Bukovec

Enjoy an experience like no other when you travel for a race in Costa Rica. Events featured below are organized by ATRA corporate member Costa Rica Race.

February 7, 2015 is the next edition of the Ultra Trail ARENAL Volcano which includes four different race distances, making the event accessible to everyone. Choose from the 115-kilometer ultramarathon (individual competition or teams of three), the halfmarathon Arenal Volcano, the 10-kilometer Arenal Starter, or the 5-kilometer Arenal Promo.

Arenal Volcano is located in the district of La Fortuna, approximately 90 kilometers northwest of San Jose.

In the ultra-marathon, participants will be going around the Arenal Volcano National Park and Arenal Lake. On this route participants can find sun and tropical forest ... but above all they will enjoy direct contact with nature. The race is not intended only to test the elite, but is an event for everyone, which is why you have 31 hours to do it. The first competitors will finish in daylight and the last will finish in darkness, however all will pass through the aid stations ensuring the competitors’ safety and comfort.

While on the runs, participants will discover a wide variety of landscapes to include the rainforest with various flora and fauna of Costa Rica that constitutes five percent of all plant and animal species in the world.

Race activities start the day before the events with packet pickup in the morning, followed by an official welcome and pasta party in the evening. On race day, the 115K starts at 3 a.m. in front of the Arenal Volcano. The half-marathon starts at 3 p.m., followed by the 4 p.m. start of the 5K and 10K events.

The Marathon IRAZU Volcano will be held on Saturday, March 7, 2015. At 3,432 meters, the Irazu Volcano is the highest point in Costa Rica and is located east of San Jose. This 42-kilometer event is a dream trail featuring magnificent scenery with spectacular views. The experience will be more than just a race. Runners can achieve a goal with their finish, but will also have an adventure. This is an event where the spirit of the participants has no limits. It will be a real test of endurance; an off-road race where the attractiveness of landscapes, makes it a unique event.

Self-improvement and solidarity are the cornerstones of the event. From the very beginning, the race organizers have not neglected sustainability. Reusable and recyclable materials are paramount to the event, all course markers will be removed from the route fol- lowing the race, and any trash left behind on course will be picked up during a course sweep. The event is intended for nature and adventure lovers. They are the main protagonists of the Volcano Irazu Marathon. On the route participants can find sun and tropical forest ... but above all they will enjoy direct contact with nature. The course is the same for everyone with an eight-hour time limit. The route will be fully marked to avoid errors.

The event start time is 7 a.m. in the Tres Rios Park. The cost is $80 per competitor and teams of at least two members can also register. The registration fee includes the opening ceremony, race shirt, and refreshments. Awards will be presented to top finishers and there will be raffle prizes.

The Night Trail Run IRAZU will be a unique event in Costa Rica held on March 7, 2015, run in the glow of the lights of Cartago and San Jose, which can be seen in the distance. The Night Trail Run IRAZU offers trail running in an ex- otic setting with distances of 5K, 10K, and 21K. It's a unique challenge for night runners of all levels. Runners will find a mixture of terrain with a combination of trails and asphalt plains in valleys of great beauty. Panoramic viewpoints are guaranteed and forest areas are home to typical species of the Irazu Volcano region.

Costa Rica is a land of volcanoes, rain forests, waterfalls, and rivers. Adventure travelers can choose from a variety of activities as Costa Rica is a year-round destination with an abundance of thrills and adrenaline for lovers of adventure tourism. In most parts of the country — whether on water, land or earth — the natural environments provide unforgettable experiences.

Accommodations and racer support packages are available through the organizer’s travel agency. Please send inquiries by email to Travel Agency Adventure at, so that the agency can explore the best options for your visit. Packages are also available for racer supporters, family and friends.

Contact information:
Video Youtube:
Video Youtube:

Time for an Upgrade?

A message from Nancy Hobbs, Executive Director, American Trail Running Association

From time to time, we upgrade our running wardrobe. This may include a purchase of the latest model of trail shoes, a super lightweight hydration pack, the newest moisture-wicking socks, or a sleek pair of compression tights. For some, upgrades don’t happen that often. Maybe we’ve thought about upgrading, but didn’t have the time or money to invest in the process. Maybe, like my Dad was known for doing, we’d spread layer after layer of Shoe Goo on our kicks to extend their life well into the future. For Dad, that seemed like five years or so. “Who needs new shoes,” Dad would say. Well, eventually the Shoe Goo doesn’t last and it’s time to bite the bullet. Well, that is exactly what we’re doing at ATRA. We’re biting the bullet...and upgrading!

Be sure to look for our new website which will launch in early August. We’ll have a new look created by 33 Degrees Design Studio, LLC, out of Portland, Oregon. Under the guidance of our website task force which includes our online marketing director Richard Bolt, our webmaster Elliott Henry, and our secretary Susan Farago, the website will be user friendly, provide more current information, and have some innovative surprises. We’re excited about the upgrade and hope you will be too.

Enjoy the trails, Nancy

Eating to go the Distance — From 5K to 100 miles

By Naomi Mead

This article originally appeared in our Summer 2014 Trail Times Newsletter - Volume 19, Number 68.

Whether you’re a novice preparing for your first 5K, or a seasoned marathon runner training for your next step up on the endurance ladder, the way in which you fuel your body before, during and after your race is crucial for optimal performance and recovery. Athletes frequently equate poor performances to not getting their nutrition and hydration right leading up to a big event, and this is something that requires planning — not days, but weeks in advance. Just as importantly, you should never try anything “new” on race day, so as not to risk any sort of digestive upset or discomfort. Have a tried-and-tested formula that works for you and use the following advice for guidance. It’s not just about the carbs!

Super boost your diet
During training, your body’s need for nutrients (vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) will be increased. However, it is important that you don’t simply substitute eating a nutrient-dense diet for dietary supplements in order to meet these requirements. While supplements can prove beneficial for some athletes, they cannot replace a non-processed, whole-food diet rich in fruit and vegetables. Green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach and broccoli are really the “gold standard” of nutrition, packed full of vitamin C, magnesium, iron and zinc; all vital for energy production, endurance and recovery. Green powders such as spirulina and chlorella, simply added to shakes or smoothies, are another highly efficient way of getting good levels of these nutrients nto your diet.

Pack in the protein
In what remains a hotly debated topic, the consensus from scientists at the 2010 IOC Conference on Nutrition in Sport, was that an intake of protein of 1.3-1.8g per kg of body weight per day is recommended for endurance athletes. Not only vital for increasing lean muscle mass and aiding muscle repair, a good protein intake has also been shown to help maintain a robust immune system. This is especially important for long-distance runners, as the immune system can be weakened for several hours after an intense bout of exercise.

It is of the utmost importance that you start a race of any length hydrated. Practice training with a reasonably full stomach of liquid by drinking 400ml-600ml water approximately two hours before running. You can continually monitor your hydration status by checking the color of your urine, which should be a pale straw color. You should then be sipping regularly throughout the race, guided by your thirst. For races under an hour, water is the best option, whereas beyond this, some of your fluid intake should include an isotonic drink to replace lost sodium and other electrolytes.

Re-fueling during the race
For longer runs over 90 minutes, mid-session refueling is essential to keep your muscles fueled, blood sugar levels steady and to restore electrolytes, to maintain hydration and prevent cramping. If you’re opting for energy gels, always ensure that you chase these with approximately 250ml of water. Do not combine with a sports drink as you risk putting too much sugar into your digestive system at once, which can lead to gastrointestinal distress resulting in stomach cramps and diarrhea. While functional in their purpose, these gels can be highly processed and laden with chemicals, and many athletes are now seeking natural alternatives. Sachets of fruit puree, roasted sweet potato, dried fruit and chia seed-based snacks are all tried-and-tested options, so see what works for you during your training.

You have a window of around 45 minutes post-run when your body is primed to replenish its muscle and liver glycogen stores, and to soak up amino acids to enable protein synthesis for muscle tissue recovery and repair. The approximate guidelines (although this will vary between individuals) are 1g of carbohydrate per kg of body weight, plus 0.25 g per kg of body weight of protein. The amino acid leucine is the key trigger that stimulates muscle protein synthesis and recovery after exercise, and can be found in whey, casein, egg, meat and fish. You can also reduce delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) by enriching your consumption of anti- inflammatory foods. Tart cherries, pomegranates and blueberries have all been shown to be effective in reducing post-exercise soreness.

Naomi Mead is a nutrition therapist with a passion for food and its therapeutic powers. Mead trained and gained her accreditation at the Institute of Optimum Nutrition and contributes to Healthspan’s Nutrition Expert,
as well as Food First,

Thursday, June 5, 2014

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

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.  

If you're like me, you probably get pretty bored doing the same route every day, same long run every weekend. This month I'm going to put out a challenge to find or explore something new each week in June. It can be something simple like a trail you see every day on your normal run but have never taken, or a completely new area of the state that you explore on a family vacation. Whatever it is, make it something fun that you haven't done in a while or ever.

Jeff Browning (left) and Max King (right) at the 2011 Flagline 50k

The beauty of this time of year is that almost a quarter of the state becomes accessible again with the snow melting and opening up new trails and roads we haven't been on in at least 8 months. We take vacations to different places where getting out for a run might be daunting by not knowing the area, but that's half the fun, just make sure you can get back.

It's so easy to reinvigorate your running with some simple changes to your daily routine. So get out there, mark your calendar if you need to, and go do something different. Explore!

- - Max King