Monday, December 29, 2008

Trail Factor Run Report - Forest Park2, Portland, OR

Written by Shawn Bostad

Happy Holidays everyone.  I hope you all enjoyed time with family, friends and guilty pleasures.  I certainly did.  

It has been two weeks since we had our last TRAIL FACTOR run.  This was not due to the lack of motivation, but rather, Snow, Snow and more Snow that fell around the Portland area.  When it was all said and done, Portland received over 15+ inches of snow, which made running on trail nearly impossible.  An informal TRAIL FACTOR run attempt was made on Sunday the 21st, but the forward progress was slow and it took me 1:16 minutes to travel 6 miles.  It was a day better suited for snowshoeing.  

We were finally starting to see the snow melt in town and the hope was that the trail up in Forest Park would be somewhat clear.  Those thoughts were quickly dashed as soon as Ruben and I pulled up to the trail head.  Leif Erickson was still covered with snow and it was a mixture of 3-4 inches of packed snow and 2-3 inches of undisturbed crusty/fluffy snow.  There was melting snow and water everywhere and enough slush to make a mountain size snow cone.

The plan was to run a 9 mile loop up in Forest Park that included Leif Erickson, Nature Trail, Wildwood, Wild Cherry, and finishing up with Leif Erickson.  This loop is a standard run for me, but this day would certainly offer up a run that was anything but standard. 

Once we got to the trail head, we met up with Richard Bolt.  We waited around until about 8:15 for other runners and then headed down Leif Erickson, which was a snowy corridor.  Since the footing was so poor, are plan was to run comfortably.  I guess comfortable in snowy slushy conditions takes on a different meaning, but we certainly weren’t going to head out there and try to break any speed records.  

This loop starts off on Leif Erickson and gradually climbs for the first 3.5 miles.  We typically start off by running Leif Erickson.  It can sometimes be boring running on Leif, so it’s kind of nice to get it out of the way.  For those of you who have not run Leif Erickson up in Forest Park, the trail or rather jeep road travels 11 miles in one direction.  It has ¼ mile markers placed on it, so you always know how far you have traveled.  

Richard, Ruben and I traveled along Leif Erickson chatting about the holidays and the crappy footing the trail was offering up.  When your foot would strike the ground it would either shoot off laterally or sink into unpacked snow.  Sometimes you would get a melted section that had great footing, but would then douse your foot in icy water.  It was a surprise with every foot strike.  My adductors and abductors were getting a great workout and I knew that I would be paying the price post run.  It took us over 10 minutes to run the first mile.

After lumbering along Leif Erickson for 3.5 miles, we then hit our first turn off.  We took a left on Nature trail and were headed up toward Wildwood.  This was the first single track section of the day and it climbed a bit more aggressively than Leif Erickson.  The grade mixed with the unstable footing, provided a challenging climb. 
Once we finished climbing up Nature Trail and turned onto Wildwood, we got our first break of the day.  Wildwood was actually clear and wasn’t blanketed in snow.  Wildwood still climbs at this point, but it was nice to have some stable footing.  Since this section is heavily covered by trees, it more than likely didn’t receive the same amount of snow that the rest of the less covered trail received.  

We finished our climb up Wildwood and crossed Firelane #1.  We were then quickly greeted by more snow and unstable footing on Wildwood Trail.  We pushed onward and settled into a fair pace.  A mile later we were ran into one of our fellow TRAIL FACTOR runners.  Chris was running the loop in the opposite direction and we just missed him at the start of the run.  We were 48 minutes into the run at this point and we were all looking forward to finishing, so we made the greeting brief and continued on.  Chris went on to finish his loop in the direction he was traveling and we continued on in our original direction.

We pushed onward and finally hit our last single track trail of the day.  We took a left on Wild Cherry trail.  It was a slip and slide dance down this trail.  Since it is one of the more heavily traveled trails, it was completely covered in snow and ice.  Snow and water was flying everywhere, but we finally made it to the bottom.  

At the bottom of Wild Cherry, we took a right onto Leif Erickson and finished the last ¼ mile of running on slushy snow covered jeep road.  

We were all happy to be finished and concluded that the trail was much tougher than originally anticipated.  It had taken us 1:17 minutes to run 9 miles and we were pretty tired and ready to head home.  

Thanks for reading and thanks to all those who made it out to the run.  Hope to see everyone on our next Sunday TRAIL FACTOR run.

Shawn Bostad

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Snowshoe Racing in Oregon

Got snow? After the biggest snowstorm to hit Northwest Oregon in 40 years the answer for most of us is a resounding "yes". With 12" to 18" of snow on the ground around Portland only the heartiest of runners have been hitting the trails. Trail running may have been a challenge, but this past week provided perfect conditions for snowshoeing. Did you get out on snowshoes? Did you like it? Do you want more? Check out the following two snowshoe races up at Mt. Hood:

January 25, 2009 - White River Snowshoe Race - Mt. Hood, OR. This is the oldest and largest snowshoe race in the Pacific Northwest and a qualifier for the USSSA Snowshoe National Championships.

March 8, 2009 - USSSA / Powersox Snowshoe National Championships - Mt. Hood, OR. This 9th annual national championship is coming to the Pacific Northwest for the first time. Many of the best snowshoe racers are also very accomplished trail runners including 2001 Snowshoe National Champion Dave Dunham who finished 2nd at the 1993 World Mountain Running Championships.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Steep Hill Chase

Since Christmas is just around the corner and Portland is gripped by a glacial freeze now seems like a good time to think about next summers trail racing season.  At the very least, it should make you feel all warm on the inside.  The 2009 Steep Hill Chase 5k trail race is going to be held on June 13 at 9:00 AM at Alton Baker Park in Eugene, OR.  First run in 2001, this race is 97% on trails.

The race director discribes the course as - "A challenge for the best and fun for the rest. The Eugene Hash House Harriers are organizing the Steep Hill Chase, an adventurous course through Alton Baker Park that includes Pre's Trail, single track trails, filbert orchards, bridges and the Steep Hill."  

For more information about this race please visit:
or contact:
Todd Bosworth -

You can see photos of past Steep Hill Chase races at:

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Trail Factor Run Report - Forest Park, Portland, OR

TRAIL FACTOR Run Report - Forest Park Ridge Trail 9 mile loop.  Written by Shawn Bostad

Hello all you trail runners and Happy Holidays.

Trail Factor had another great Sunday run.  It was a local run that was held in forest park and started at the bottom of Ridge Trail.  We had a pretty solid crew considering that the weather conditions were questionable for safe driving.  Portland was getting doused with its first winter blast of the season.  The temps were hovering in the mid 20’s and the snow was falling.  We knew the trails would be snow covered and possibly slippery, but perfect for a TRAIL FACTOR run.

The die-hard crew that showed up for this run included, Richard, Shawn, Del, Jacob, William and Dan Bartoz.  Richard and William had been on previous Trail Factor runs, but Del, Jacob and Dan were new to the group. 

Del is a very experienced trail runner, ultra cyclist and overall ultra distance athlete.  He has the kind of experience racing in ultra events that I can only dream of having.  Jacob is relatively new to trail running, is a former soccer player and did a great job on the trails.  Dan is a road marathoner who just finished racing down in Sacramento and posted a blazing 2:37 marathon time.

We all huddled around the cars and chatted about the trail while the snow pelted our faces.  I personally love running is this kind of weather.  It reminds me of running through sub zero weather in Wisconsin.  It’s something that grows on you after living in Wisconsin for over 10 years.

Our plan was to run a 9 mile loop up in forest park.  We started at the bottom of Ridge Trail just off of the South Side St. Johns bridge ramp.  You know you are at the trail head when you see the concrete stair case leading to the trail.

The trail starts off with a pretty good little climb that actually goes all the way to the top of the west hills.  We were running together and chatting about the weather and getting to know each other.  The trail was completely covered by a blanket of white, but it didn’t hinder traction. 

We climbed the trail until we hit Leif Erikson.  We crossed Leif Erikson and climbed a bit more until we hit Wildwood trail.  Once we hit Wildwood Trail, we turned left.  We were headed toward Trillium Trail, which is a bit hard to see.  It’s an unmarked trail, but does have a dirt staircase, lined by wooden planks.  Those wooden planks are the giveaway that you’ve hit the correct trail.

Trillium trail climbs a bit further up the West Hills and finally dumps you out onto Firelane #7.  At this point the climbing is basically over. 

Once we hit Firelane #7 we took a quick left.  We were headed toward Springville Road.

One of the coolest things about Forest Park is all the steep firelanes that cross over the west hills.  They offer up a tremendous amount of access points to the trails and also many great hills for those into running hill repeats. 

We continued on and intersected Springville Rd.  Took a right on Springville Rd and started descending to intersect Wildwood once again.  The traction wasn’t bad, but I we were all tip toeing a bit since I we were uncertain as to what lied beneath the snow.  You never know what kind of mud pit might be lying beneath the beautiful snow.

Once we hit Wildwood half way down Springville Road, we promptly took a left.  We would head down Wildwood trail for a bit until we hit Tohlinda Trail.  Unfortunately Tohlinda trail is not marked by its correct name.  It’s actually called Waterline trail.  I must have looked pretty funny running along.  I kept pulling the map out to check our route, which isn’t the most effective way to run.  I’ve run wildwood plenty of times, but there are definitely some trails that I have not run and waterline was one of them.  My inattentive running lead to a nice trail factor style fall that left me covered in mud.  I recovered quickly and carried on.

Once we hit waterline trail, I bid a farewell to the rest of the guys.  My stomach was not on the right track and I had a date with the bushes, but I encouraged the rest of the crew to continue on. 

You take a gradual right onto waterline trail and descend down a slippery path toward Leif Erikson.  You take a quick right on Leif Erikson, which at this point opens up and allows you to run a bit more quickly.  I’m sure the guys were running 3 to 4 abreast. 

By the time I had finished my date with the bushes, the guys were well ahead.  I wasn’t feeling well so I decided to cut the run short.  I also headed down Leif, only to be greeted by several Nike runners.  I was about 300 meters behind them and was measuring my stride length against their stride length.  That’s one of the cool things about running in snow.  I was blown away by how much longer each one of their stride lengths were in comparison to mine.  They had stride lengths that were at least 6 inches longer.  No wonder they were so fast.  I held pace for a bit, but a few minutes later they were gonzo, as if the wind had picked them up and carried them away.

I passed Hardesty trail, which is where the original route traveled.  That’s where the rest of the crew had gone.  I saw their foot prints headed up that way.  They took a right onto Hardesty trail and climbed up it to intersect Wildwood once again.  Once they hit Wildwood trail, they took a left and traveled on Wildwood trail for a bit and then reconnected with Ridge Trail.  This would be the last turn of the day.  They hung a left on Ridge Trail and descended the long and slippery hill back to the start of the run. 

What an amazing morning it was for running.  The snow really changes the trail.  It’s visually stunning and a must for me every year that it snows up in forest park.

Thanks to all who came out and braved the weather conditions.  I’ll be posting our next Sunday’s planned run shortly, so stay tuned into

Shawn Bostad

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

US Team Announced for 2009 NACAC Mountain Running Championships

The U.S. will host the sixth North American Central American Caribbean (NACAC) Mountain Running Championship in North Conway, NH, on Sunday, June 28. This up/down two-lap course at Mount Cranmore includes approximately 2,400 feet of vertical gain over a 10 kilometer route and will act as a tune-up for NACAC teams in preparation for the World Mountain Running Championships to be held in Campodolcino, Italy, on September 6.

The U.S. hosted the NACAC event in 2004 and 2005, Mexico hosted in 2006 and 2008, and Canada hosted in 2007. Team USA won men’s and women’s gold medals the first two years, but didn’t compete in 2006. In 2007 Team USA was again victorious in both the men’s and women’s divisions. Last year Team Mexico won the men’s competition with Team USA finishing second and Team Canada finishing third. The U.S. women were victorious followed by Mexico and Canada.

“We are looking forward to the NACAC competition returning to the U.S. this June. The course at Cranmore will test the speed and strength of the athletes and with Team USA comprised of experienced international competitors, we’re sure to be in the hunt for gold medals,” said USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Running Council Chairperson and USA Team manager Nancy Hobbs.

“The White Mountain Milers are really excited to have Cranmore host the NACAC Mountain Running Champs this year. The local running community always gets involved with mountain races at Cranmore and Mt. Washington and this year they are looking forward to hosting athletes from Canada and Central America as well,” added Mt. Cranmore Hillclimb race director Paul Kirsch.

The men’s team includes Eric Blake, Rickey Gates, Joseph Gray, and Simon Gutierrez. The women’s team includes Kasie Enman, Brandy Erholtz, Laura Haefeli, and Megan Kimmel. The team was selected based on their finish at the World Mountain Running Trophy in 2008. If an athlete declined their spot, members of the 2008 US Team at NACAC were offered spots. Bios of the 2009 team follow.

Eric Blake, 29, New Britain, CT, is a four-time Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team member finishing third for the U.S. men last year in Switzerland. He represented the U.S. at the NACAC Mountain Running Championships in 2007 on the gold-medal squad. He won the USA National Mountain Running Championships in 2006 and 2008. On June 24, 2006 Blake set the treadmill marathon world record of 2:21:40 in Farmington, CT at Malibu Fitness. (The former world record was 2:23:58.) He was 28th in the 2004 World Mountain Trophy in Sauze D'Oulx, Italy, 23rd in the 2005 World Trophy in Wellington, New Zealand, and 11th at the Trophy in Bursa, Turkey in 2006. He was 33rd in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. In Lyman Memorial High School in Lebanon, Connecticut, he was the 1996 state open cross-country champion. He is a member of the Boston Athletic Association and is the Assistant Men’s Cross-Country and Track and Field Coach at Central Connecticut State University.

Rickey Gates, 28, Boulder, CO, made his third consecutive Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team in 2008 with his third place finish at Mount Washington. He was the first American at the World Mountain Running Trophy in Switzerland leading the men to a bronze-medal finish. Gates raced in Europe for most of the summer and fall garnering several wins and top finishes in Austria, Norway, Italy, and Slovenia. In 2007 he had back-to-back weekend wins at the USA Mountain Running Championships and the USA 10 km Trail Championships and was also named the 2007 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year. He won the Run the Register Stair Climb in Denver, CO, in February 2008 (47 floors, 1,014 steps). His 10km PR is 31:43 recorded at the Bolder Boulder in May 2008. He competed in college one year while at Lewis and Clark in Portland, OR, and is a graduate of the University of Colorado/Boulder where he studied Sociology and Photography. Gates once won America’s Uphill (held annually in March) on Aspen Mountain racing in a clown suit. He was born and raised in the Roaring Fork Valley and is a 1999 graduate of Aspen High School. In 1998 Gates finished fourth in the 3A State Cross Country Championships running 16:48.

Joseph Gray, 24, Lakewood, WA, started his 2008 mountain running season in Vail, CO, on June 7 with a third-place sprint-to-the finish at the LaraBar 10km, Rickey Gates was the first-place finisher at the event. Gray placed fourth at the USA Mountain Running Championships earning a spot on his first Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team. He was the second U.S. finisher at the World Mountain Trophy – 16th place – in Sierre Crans Montana, Switzerland, and a scoring member of the U.S. bronze medal team. He was the top U.S. finisher at Challenge Stellina in Susa, Italy, Kitzbuhelerhorn in Kitzbuehel, Austria, and Skaala Uphill Challenge in Loen, Norway. He also was the first finisher in the Canadian Mountain Running National Championship at Mt Seymour, Canada, and won the Northwest Mountain Running Championship, in Mt Hood, OR.

Simon Gutierrez, 42, Alamosa, CO, was the 2008 USA Mountain Running National Master Champion setting a masters’ course record at Mount Washington and finishing in fifth place just behind Gray. Gutierrez won the La Sportiva Berry Picker in July 2008, the second and final Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team selection race where he made his seventh consecutive team. He won the World Masters Mountain Running Championships in the Czech Republic (his third consecutive win) and was the fourth U.S. finisher at the World Mountain Trophy finishing in 25th place. He is a three-time USATF masters’ mountain runner of the year and a two-time winner of the USATF open mountain runner of the year award. He is a three-time USA world cross country team member and a 1983 High School cross country All American. At age 17 Gutierrez set the still standing road 10km record of 29.45. He works at the San Luis Valley Regional Medical Center as an outpatient manual/orthopedic physical therapist and works closely with the Adams State men's and women's cross country and track teams.

Kasie Enman, 29, Huntington, VT, was the top U.S. women’s finisher at the NACAC Mountain Championships in 2008. She is a member of the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) and was the USATF New England Runner of the month for April 2008. At the 2008 Mount Washington Road Race, she was runner-up and was also a member of the open championship team. Enman ran a PR of 2:37:14 to finish 11th at the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials. She won the 2007 Loon Mountain and Ascutney Mountain races in New England, setting a course record of 35:07 at Ascutney. In 2006, she was the U.S. Snowshoe National Champion. She twice represented the U.S. at Ras Nah Eireann International X-Country race in Ireland, placing third in 2005. She was a NCAA Division III All-American in cross country and is presently an elementary school teacher and High School x-country and track coach.

Brandy Erholtz, 31, Bailey, CO, is the 2008 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year in only her second year as a “mountain runner.” She finished third at the LaraBar 10km and was the USA National Mountain Running Champion where she made her first Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team. She finished third at both the USA 8km Trail Running Championships and the La Sportiva Berry Picker. Erholtz was the Pikes Peak Ascent champion and also posted wins at the final La Sportiva Mountain Cup Race in Vail and the Black Canyon Ascent setting a course record. She was the top U.S. finisher at the World Mountain Running Trophy finishing in 11th place. Erholtz is employed as a schoolteacher.

Laura Haefeli, 40, Del Norte, CO, was the 2004 and 2005 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year and was the 2008 USATF Masters Mountain Runner of the Year. She won the LaraBar 10km and the USA 8km Trail Championships. She was the USA National Mountain Running Masters champion setting a masters course record and finishing in third place. She earned a spot on the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team with her second-place finish at the La Sportiva Berry Picker. She finished in 44th place at the World Mountain Running Trophy which was her fourth U.S. team appearance at a Trophy event (’04, ’05, ’07, and ‘08). Laura and her husband Tom are beekeepers and sell honey and wax. She is the mother of three young children and is also a high school cross country coach.

Megan Kimmel, 28, Silverton, CO, is a newcomer on the national mountain running circuit. She finished second at the USA 8 km Trail Champs in Steamboat Springs and won the Berry Picker to earn a spot on her first Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team. She was the second U.S. women’s finisher in 33rd place at the World Mountain Trophy. Kimmel ran cross country at Cherry Creek High School for four years. She is a past winner of the Kendall Mountain Race and top finisher in the Imogene Pass Run. She participates in Nordic ski racing in the winter. Kimmel lives and trains at elevations above 8,000 feet and is a massage therapist practicing her trade in Silverton and Ouray, CO.

For additional information on the USA Mountain Running Program visit,, and

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Teva US Mountain Running Team Selection Process Announced

The Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team will compete in the 25th World Mountain Running Championships in Campodolcino, Italy on September 6, 2009. Campodolcino is located in the province of Sondrio in the Lombardy region located approximately 100 kilometers north of Milan.

This year’s races are held on up/down courses (as opposed to even-numbered years when the events are held on uphill-only courses) with the senior men running approximately 12 km, the senior women and junior men running a distance slightly over 8 km, while the junior women run approximately 4.5 km.

The women’s team includes four athletes with the top three finishers scoring for the team. Six athletes will represent the men’s team with the top four finishers scoring. The junior men’s team includes a maximum of four with top three scoring while the junior women’s team is a maximum of three with the top two scoring. Team manager Nancy Hobbs, Colorado Springs, CO, team leader Richard Bolt, Portland, Oregon, team manager for the juniors Dave Dunham, Bradford, MA, and women’s team manager Ellen Miller, Vail, CO will accompany the team to Italy.

At the USATF annual convention in Reno, NV, on December 6, the Mountain Ultra Trail Running (MUT) Council chose two races from which automatic qualifiers to the U.S. team will be selected. The USA Mountain Running Championships will be hosted at Mt. Cranmore (10km) slated for June 28 in North Conway, NH. The top three U.S. men and the top U.S. woman finisher at Cranmore will receive automatic berths on the team. In addition to hosting the USA Mountain Running Championships, Cranmore will also host the sixth North American Central American Caribbean (NACAC) Mountain Running Championships.

“The White Mountain Milers are really excited to have Cranmore host both the USA and NACAC Mountain Running Champs this year. The local running community always gets involved with mountain races at Cranmore and Mt. Washington and this year they are looking forward to hosting athletes from Canada and Central America as well. Cranmore is a fantastic venue which provides great facilities and a course that will really test the athletes. New England has an active mountain running program with outstanding support from USATF and this is our chance to share it with both national and international elite mountain runners. We can't wait until June,” said race director Paul Kirsch.

The Cheyenne Canon Mountain Race in Colorado Springs, CO, will be the site of the second and final selection race on July 26 (approximately 8km for women and juniors and 12km for men) where the top two U.S. men and the top two U.S. women will receive automatic berths.

“We started looking for a potential course along Colorado’s front range this fall and came up with a great venue on the west side of Colorado Springs. Several of our former team members have run the trails in Cheyenne Canon and helped us determine the best possible route for a selection race. On January 5 we’ll apply for the necessary permits and move forward with our race committee to solidify event details,” said Hobbs.

Offering events in two different regions allows athletes to choose whether to travel east or west. Of course, some athletes will make the decision to participate in both races.

After the final selection race, the remaining members of the senior squad, (one male, one female), will be chosen by the Mountain Ultra Trail Council with input from the team staff based on results at the selection races, past World Trophy events, national and international racing experience including mountain, road, cross country, and track. Athletes MUST run a selection race in order to be considered for the team. To be considered for the team all team members MUST be current USATF members prior to running a selection race. Interested athletes should submit running resumes to: Richard Bolt (post a comment on this blog) and Nancy Hobbs (

Juniors Team Selection – 2009 Teva US Mountain Running Team

For team consideration, the junior athlete:
Must be current USATF members (for 2009)
Must be at least 16 and not yet 20 in the year of competition.
Must have posted a 16:45 or better (junior men) and 19:30 or better (junior women) in a 5km road or cross country event. (Equivalent times – from an alternate race distance that translates to the aforementioned time criteria – will be considered for distances other than 5km.)
Must have experience running (in training and preferably racing) on courses similar to the event.
Must be mature, motivated, with a positive attitude to proudly represent the United States and sponsors internationally, under the rules of USATF and the event governing bodies.
A letter of recommendation from a coach, parent, or mentor-runner must accompany the athlete resume.

Resumes (including road, trail, track, and cross country results and current training info) will be accepted through July 26. Send resume and recommendation to: Dave Dunham,, or contact Dave at: (978) 474-9745.

Team members will be announced by August 1, 2009.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Staff Named for 2009 Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team

The 2009 Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team will travel to Campodolcino, Italy, to compete in the 25th World Mountain Running Championships on September 6. A seasoned staff that collectively has more than 30 years experience in team management will accompany the team at next year’s events.

Richard Bolt, Portland, OR, has been named Team Leader for the seventh consecutive year. Prior to 2003 Bolt was an athlete member of the team in 1999 and 2002. He was the third U.S. finisher at the 1999 World Trophy and at the 1999 Challenge Stellina Race in Susa, Italy. Bolt has been a top finisher in the USATF New England mountain running circuit from 1996 through 2005 as well a regular top ten finisher at the prestigious Mt. Washington Hill Climb. Bolt also competed in the 1992, 1994, and 1998 U.S. Olympic Trials and was an All-American Nordic skier. Bolt is a former member of USATF’s New England Board of Governors, and now represents Mountain Ultra Trail on the USATF Oregon long distance running committee and just received the 2008 USATF Scott Hamilton Award from the Men’s Long Distance Running Committee for his volunteer service. Bolt serves as the men’s mountain rep to the USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Council.

“Our team has seen increased depth which has resulted in higher place finishes on the international stage. We have enjoyed medals – both individual and team – and look forward to another strong showing in 2009,” said Bolt.

Dave Dunham, Bradford, MA has been named Team Manager of the Junior Team for the fourth consecutive year. Dunham has competed for the U.S. at seven World Mountain Running Trophy events finishing on the podium in 1993 as a silver medalist and as the top U.S. finisher six times. He has also been a manager of the men’s team. He is a race director for both mountain and snowshoe races and was the founder of the USATF New England Mountain Running Circuit. Diversified as an athlete, Dunham has also been on two 100km World Cup Teams, he was an Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier, and is a national 24-hour Rogaining Champion.
“We've set the bar very high with the junior women's team taking home a silver medal in 2007 and an individual bronze medal last year. The junior men continue to impress with a best finish last year in fourth place among the teams. I hope to build on our success and recruit an even stronger team in 2009 and with some of last year’s athletes still eligible for the junior squad, I’m confident we’ll be in the medal hunt in Italy,” said Dunham.

Ellen Miller, Vail, CO will be the women’s manager for the fourth consecutive year. She is an accomplished athlete and coach with an extensive background in high altitude mountaineering. Miller has successfully summitted Mt. Everest two times. She was named Colorado Sportswoman of the Year 2002. She competed on the Fila Skyrunning Team and qualified for events in Europe and Tibet and also competed internationally as a professional adventure racer. She was the 2005 USATF Masters Marathon Trail Running Champion, is a Level 2 USATF Coach, and founded the “Mountain Divas,” a women’s sports program in Vail which she presently directs.

“It is an honor and a privilege to continue working with such an esteemed group of athletes and coaches who represent the best in mountain running in the U.S. Our Teva U.S. Women's Teams are twice gold medalists, and our women's program has evolved significantly since Nancy Hobbs started the program in 1995. It is exciting and rewarding to have the opportunity to work with top female athletes, and to give back to a sport which has given so much to me. Hopefully sharing my own experiences as a mountain runner, adventure racer, and climber — both at home and abroad — will help these athletes reach their full potential,” said Miller.

Since 2002 the U.S. team has been sponsored by Teva, the title sponsor and official footwear of the team. SportHill is the official team apparel sponsor. Fleet Feet Sports-Boulder, Wicked Fast Sports Nutrition, OrthoLite, and Windermere Real Estate of Teton Valley are official team sponsors and CW-X Conditioning Wear, Costa Del Mar, KINeSYS, FuelBelt, and Youth Runner magazine are product sponsors.

Selection races for the 2009 team include the Mount Cranmore 10km on June 28 in North Conway, NH, which will serve as the USA Mountain Running Championships and the NACAC Mountain Running Championships, and the Cheyenne Canon Mountain Race on July 26 in Colorado Springs, CO.

Trail Run Report - Snow Valley Peak, NV

Spooner Lake to Snow Valley Peak 10 miles
Written by Richard Bolt

As I do on most "business trips", my attendance at the USA Track & Field Annual Meeting (Reno, NV) afforded yet another opportunity to trail run on some new real estate. The area around Reno is ripe with good trail runs so I left it to my friend Dave Dunham to find us good scenic trail. Since Dave has been into bagging county high points, we settled on Snow Valley Peak (elevation 9214') just East of Lake Tahoe. Fortunately for us, the weather has been mild in the Sierras and the route was entirely snow-free.

We started our run at Spooner Lake State Park (Elevation 7000') near the intersection of route 28 and route 50, 18 miles West of Carson City. From Spooner Lake we followed NFD 038 Rd (dirt) into North Canyon which took us to just under 9000' and within .2 miles of the summit.

From there we took a short dirt road to the summit which featured 2 small buildings and a couple communication towers. Despite the man-made structures, the view from the summit was amazing. We could see Reno to the North, Carson City due East and all of Lake Tahoe to our West. It was a very clear and cool (35 degrees) day so we could see for many, many miles in every directon.

From the summit, we bush-wacked down to a singletrack trail that lead South along the ridge and back towards Spooner Lake. Eventually the trail lead back down to the road we came in on so we followed the road back to Spooner Lake. The total distance was about 10.5 miles with 2200' of climb and descend. At a very easy running pace it took 2 hours to complete the run. After spending several days in meeting rooms adjacent to a smokey casino, this quite, crowd-free run was just what the doctor ordered.

Read Dave Dunham's account of this run at:

See Dave Dunham's photos of this run at:

Sunday, December 7, 2008

USATF Annual Meeting - Reno, NV

Mountain, Ultra and Trail (MUT) Running Council had 3 meetings over the course of 2 days. There were between 25 and 35 people from over 15 regional USATF associations in attendance including outgoing President Bill Roe (pictured).

During the meetings, the following USATF Mountain, Ultra or Trail Running Championships for 2009 were confirmed or approved:

March 1 – USA 50km Road Championships – Long Island, NY
June 28 – USA Mountain Running Championships – North Conway, NH *also the NACAC Mountain Running Championships and a mountain team selection race
July 18 – USA 100 Mile Trail Championships – Tahoe, NV
July 25 – USA 50 Mile Trail Championships – Crystal Mountain, WA
August 22 – USA 100km Trail Championships – Willamette Pass, OR
August 29 – USA 10km Trail Championships Laurel Ridge Camp and Conference Center, NC
October 3 – USA 50 Mile Road Championships – Boalsburg, PA
November 7 – USA Marathon Trail Championships – Ashland, OR

USATF Mountain, Ultra and Trail Running Championships for 2010:
March TBA – USA 50km Road Championships – Long Island, NY
July 31 – USA 50 Mile Trail Championships – Crystal Mountain, WA
November 6 – USA Marathon Trail Championships – Ashland, OR

Team Staff Announced for the Teva US Mountain Team - Dave Dunham, Manager of Junior Team; Ellen Miller - Manager of Women's Team; Richard Bolt - Team Leader

Team Staff Announced for 100km Team - Lin Gentling, team leader; Mike Spinnler, Assistant team leader; Lion Caldwell, Team Doctor

** The Selection Window for the 2009 USA National 100km Team will be extended to two years (as opposed to 18 months) for 2009 only.

The complete minutes from the MUT meetings at the USATF Annual Meeting will be published on this blog in the next week or so.

Report by:
Richard Bolt
MUT Coordinator
USATF Oregon

Trail Factor Run Report - Angels Rest, Columbia Gorge, OR

TRAIL FACTOR Run Report #7 - Angels Rest Palmer Mill Road 13.8 mile loop
Written by Shawn Bostad

I’m always excited on Sunday morning.  It stems from my love for running and especially running trail.  Many of our most recent trail factor runs have given me even more reason to be excited.  This is due to the new trail that some of us are exploring for the first time and also the increase in attendance, which means more awesome people to run with.

TRAIL FACTOR had a record turnout this Sunday.  We had a total of 11 people at the run and 1 cool canine, Pablo.  Those attending the run included Mallory, Rick, Ruben, Shawn, Jessi, Chris, Reed, Michael, Brian, Mike and Joe.  Those who were first timers to a TRAIL FACTOR run included Michael, Brian, Mike and Joe.  

I’ve said this before, but it really is great having new folks attending the runs.  I love getting to know new people and it also gives us a chance to learn from each other.  Joe is a very experienced trail runner who has completed many challenging races such as Plain 100 and brings a wealth of experience to the group.  Brian and Mike both have completed several ultras.  Brian most recently finished the Mt. Hood PCT 50 and Mike the White River 50.  Michael was joining us from Colorado and looks like he will soon be moving out to Portland to experience the NW and join us on some additional trail runs.  

The trail that we enjoyed this weekend started at one of our favorite locations located only 28 miles from Portland at the Bridal Veil exit.  This is a great starting location because it gives you access to so much trail.  We would be running a modified Angels Rest lollipop loop, which is our typical 15 mile run starting from this location.  This weekend we would be running a true loop rather than a lollipop and it would be about 13.8 miles and include 3,400ft of climbing.  Here is a map plotting out the run we completed this past Sunday.

We’ve had such amazing weather this past week.  Several clear days in a row, but this past Sunday would give us some true Portland style weather.  It was cloudy, really foggy and a bit rainy.  It’s actually much more normal for this time of year and is needed.  Without the rain, the lush green forest that we have become so accustomed to seeing, would no longer exist.  I say bring on the rain and keep it coming for a few months.

Once we had all arrived, we talked a bit about the trail and explained the modification to our typical loop.  We would be adding a great section on jeep road that would allow us to practice some long downhill hill running.  Many of the races around the NW have long non-technical jeep road sections that can really beat you up if you are not used to running uninterrupted.  This run started with a long 1,500 ft climb up Angels rest.  It climbs very steadily for about 2.5 miles before leveling out.  There is an option to climb even more up to Devils Rest, but most of us were content to finish the first climb and enjoy some flat.  

We had all started at different times, so we were all spread out across the trail. Ruben and Michael were jamming and slamming the course together, with Rick, Chris and Mallory not far behind.  Joe, Brian, Mike and Reed were bouncing back and forth around each other and Jessi and I were sweeping the route to make sure everyone knew exactly where they were going.
After you finish the Angels Rest climb you run on some flat trail for a couple miles.  It was extremely muddy, which is uncommon for this route.  They no doubt had been performing some trail work in some sections.  Also, it had recently rained which added a nice slippery component to the mud.  

We carried on through the mud and finally reached one of the medium-length downhill sections.  This section is fun.  It’s very gradual and is a super soft trail.  It allows you to run quickly, but is interrupted by a few switchbacks to keep it interesting.  It carries on that way for a bit before hitting Whakeena Springs.  

Once you hit Whakeena Springs, you climb a bit more before descending once again.  This is one of my favorite sections of trail.  Reed and I were chatting about the trails amazing contrast.  The trail looks manicured, with brown pine needles lining the trail, lush green moss and ferns growing on the edges, and then punctuated by the occasional dark grey rock.  You are also surrounded by huge pine trees that on this day were covered by a natural foggy blanket.  It was so cool.  It makes you feel like you are running through a mystical and magical land.  The trail finally dumps into Larch Mountain trail.  We climbed up Larch Mountain trail for a bit but soon turned off the single track trail.  This would be the start of the second half of the run, which would be run entirely on Jeep Road.  

The addition of the jeep road is the major variation in our typical 15 mile loop.  The jeep road is very well maintained and offers up a very nice and gradual climb.  It climbs about 500-800 ft in about 2 miles but then quickly levels out.  I think that most of us would agree that this section definitely woke the legs up. Everyone seemed to be in very good spirits, especially Pablo the canine.  Pablo was destroying the run.  He is so little and runs up the hills with ease.  If only I could harness his energy and strength to weight ratio.    

After finishing the final climb up the jeep road, all we had left to complete was our four mile descent.  This is a non-technical jeep road, which as I said before allows you to practice some uninterrupted downhill running.

Everyone seemed to be cruising really well down the hill.  The first section of road offers a gradual descent, but the last 1.5 miles turns into a controlled fall.  It gets very steep and in some sections must have over 20% in descending grade. 

I had warned everyone about this section before the run, but I think most of them forgot somewhere in the middle of the run.  However, I think they quickly remembered once they got there.  I definitely heard many comments regarding the descent after we were done, but I think most of us agreed that running it in the direction we ran it, was preferred.     

We all finished the run very strong and no one got TRAIL FACTORED.  Ruben and Michael finished just under 2hrs.  Rick, Chris, and Mallory finished in the 2:10 range.  The rest of us finished over 2:30.  It was a great run and we all agreed that it was a new favorite as compared to our original 15 mile loop.  The original 15 mile loop incorporates some asphalt downhill and uphill sections that aren’t preferred.  I think we’ll probably continue to make this loop one of our regulars.

Thanks for showing up everyone.  Special thanks to Joe for tracking the run with his GPS unit.  Without it, we would not have known how much we climbed.  Technology is so cool.  If you are interested in joining us on one of our many TRAIL FACTOR runs, please visit our website for more info:

Shawn Bostad
Portland, OR

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Trail Factor Run Report - Salmon River Trail, Zig Zag, OR

TRAIL FACTOR RUN REPORT #6 - Old Salmon River Trail 19 mile loop - Written by Shawn Bostad

These TRAIL FACTOR runs just keep getting better and better.  The trail that we ran this weekend, combined with the great weather, ranks among the top TRAIL FACTOR runs.  On our way out to the trail I was skeptical as to whether we would have nice weather.  It was cloudy, drizzly and very foggy.  It looked like we were going to have a very wet and very cold run.  However, luck was on our side.  Just as soon as we hit the trail head and started running, the sun started peaking through the clouds and the fog burned off.  We were stoked. 

The trail that we slammed on this weekend is located on Salmon River Road.  Salmon River Road is just off Hwy 26 once you get to the town of Zig Zag.  You take a right onto Salmon River Road and drive about 2 miles.  There is a sign just off to the right at the trail head and is titled, Old Salmon River Trail and is also labeled as trail # 742A.  Here is the link to the map we used during the run.

Old Salmon River Trail 19 mile loop

We had a great group show up for our run.  Those attending included Chris, Rick, Jessi, Andrea, Reed, Jamie, and Shawn.  Mallory was also there, but she got there a bit late and ran a bit shorter.  She said that she overslept.  Andrea, Jamie and Reed were new to the TRAIL FACTOR group run and we were stoked to have them there.  They belong to PDX Adventure Racer and are how they found out about the run.

PDX Adventure Racer is a Portland based adventure racing resource that is doing a really great job of connecting people to adventure racing.  They allow you to post training and find adventure racing team mates.  Really cool site for those of you interested getting into adventure racing.

Everyone was eager to get started.  We had a quick brief on the trail and distances everyone planned on covering for the day.  Jessi, Reed, Jamie, and Andrea were planning on running 10-12 miles for the day and the rest of us were planning on running the 19 mile loop. 

The 10-12 mile run would include only one trail #742A or Old Salmon River Trail.  Navigating this trail is very simple.  You basically follow the trail as it runs alongside the river.  It jumps onto the road a couple of times and eventually crosses the road about 2.4 miles into the run.  Once you cross the road, the trail meanders further back into the woods and soon begins to climb toward a couple of spectacular lookouts.  I really enjoy running on this trail due to its excellent footing, gradual climbing and great views of the river. 

The 19 mile loop option included a few more trails and would also offer up a couple of navigational challenges.  It starts off on trail #742A (Old Salmon River Trail).  You follow the river and climb past several lookouts, but instead of turning around there, you continue on and intersect trail #665.  You take a left on trail #665 and start a very long climb.  Trail #665 eventually dumps onto an old jeep road for about 50 meters, but continues on toward Devils Peak.  Trail #665 intersects with trail #793 (Hunchback Mt. Trail).  You take a right on Hunchback Mt. Trail and follow it all the way to trail #793A.  It’s a left hand turn at trail #793A, but it’s not marked, with the exception of a couple of orange tethers.  You descend trail #793A for about 3 miles and it dumps you onto Salmon River Road.  You can take a right or left to re-intersect Old Salmon River trail.  If you take a right, you will have to run on the road a bit before picking up the trail.  Once you pick up the trail, you simply stay on it until you reach your original starting point.

According to Jessi, the crew that tackled the 10-12 mile loop really enjoyed the run.  Since the 19 mile crew ran out on the same trail, we all were able to see many of the same view.  There is a point on the Old Salmon River Trail when you start to climb.  This is where things start to get a bit challenging.  It’s not steep, but a sustained gradual climb.  It’s enough to get your heart pumping. 

Jessi, Andrea, Reed and Jamie climbed this portion with consistency and determination to summit the first viewpoint.  They were combining running with power hiking, which is a great way utilize many different muscle groups to get the work of climbing done.  They climbed and climbed and eventually were able to summit the first view point.  It was simply spectacular.  The fog was still lingering down below, close to the rushing water in the Salmon River.  It drifted upward, but was quickly burned off by the sun that was rising above the distant hills.  The sky was a perfect blue.  This is one of those moments when you wished you had a camera, but none of us did.  Hopefully, we will at some point. 

Andrea, Jamie, and Reed turned back for home after taking in the views.  They had run about 5.5 miles out on the trail and would be finish up with a very solid and challenging 11 mile run.  Jessi chose to run on a bit further.  She said that she continued to climb out for another 8-10 min, but soon turned back toward home.  She was just short of the second viewpoint, which again offered an amazing view of the far reaching hills.  Jessi would finish up with a 12.5-13 mile run for the day.  Nice job everyone.

Those of us running the 19 mile loop were predicting a 3.5 hour run.  This would not be the case.  It was the first time we had been up on the Hunchback Mt. Ridge and it offered up a few challenges.

Once we climbed the first gradual stretch up Old Salmon River Trail, we hung a left onto trail #665.  This was the beginning of a grueling climb.  It would climb all the way up to Devils Peak.  It was a long climb but well worth it.  It was littered with spectacular views and we even caught some great views of snow covered Mt. Hood.   Once we hit the summit on Devils Peak the sky was open, blue and allowed our eyes to search into the distant landscape.  It was sweet.

Right on the top of Devils Peak rests a lookout tower.  We actually rolled up on a couple of fellows who had camped out up in the lookout tower the previous night.  They said the night stars were awesome.  They also had a couple of beautiful husky dogs with them that weren’t even theirs.  They had found the dogs up on the trail and would be taking them back to the owners that lost them.  Those doggies and the owners are very lucky.

We spent a few minutes taking in the views, but quickly started running again.  We had to cover 2.4 miles before intersecting trail #793A, which would take us down to our original Salmon River Trail.  This 2.4 mile section was super slow running.  It was littered with blown over trees and was more of a hurdlers dream rather than an ultra-runners dream.  It took us forever to cover this section of trail. 

We finally made it to trail #793A.  At least that is what we thought.  The trail was unmarked.  We were keeping track of our time from trail juncture to trail juncture, so we assumed it was the correct trail.  It was marked with an orange tether guiding us in the direction of the trail.  The trail also headed down hill.  Through a process of elimination, we concluded that it was trail #793A.

We started down and the descent produced some very steep grades.  It’s exactly what we expected, so now we knew we were on the right trail. 

This descent would last three miles and it was the most plush and steep descent that I have ever encountered.  It was really nice on the knees and eventually it dumped us out onto Salmon River Road.

We hung a right on Salmon River road, ran on the road for about 800 meters and re-connected with Old Salmon River trail.  We followed the trail along the river and back to where we parked the cars.  We had been out for almost 4 hrs. 

Wow, what a run.  It was long, lots of climbing, great views, and an excellent time spent with friends.  We were a bit slower than anticipated, but much of that was due to navigation issues and trail conditions.  It was an epic run and one I would definitely recommend. 

If you would like to join us for future TRAIL FACTOR runs or you know someone who would like to join us, please visit.



Friday, November 28, 2008

2008 Oregon Mountain Running Series Scoring

The inaugural La Sportiva / USATF Oregon Mountain Running Series wrapped up with the NW Mountain Running Championships (Mt. Hood) and the final scores have been tabulated. 13 runners who are USATF members participated in series races and 2 runners competed in all 4 races. 8 pairs of free La Sportiva trail running shoes were awarded to top USATF finishers during the series. Before getting to the scoring, let's re-cap of the races that made up the 2008 Series:

June 7 - Granite Man Mountain Run - 10 miles (75 finishers)
August 2 - Mt. Ashland Hillclimb Run - 13 miles (178 finishers)
August 30 - Sunrise to Summit - 3 miles (138 finishers)
September 21 - NW Mountain Running Championships - 6 miles (71 finishers)

SCORING: Runners score points based on their time as a percentage of the winner's overall time, making every second count! For example, a winning time of 41:08 gets 100.00 points; a time of 42:21 is worth 97.13, and 1:20:32 gets 51.08 (the winning time being just about 50 percent of that runner's time. A runner's top 3 of 4 races are totaled to determine overall series scoring. While the races in the series are open to all runners, only USATF members are elidgible to score in the series. The top USATF finishers (man and woman) from each race won a pair of shoes from La Sportiva. Overall series winners also won a pair of shoes from La Sportiva.

Here are top runners from the 2008 series:
Name ------ Age --- Age Group - Sex - TOTAL POINTS
Richard Bolt 38 0 - 39 (Open) M 289.51 (4 races)
Ian Torrence 35 0 - 39 (Open) M 275.71 (4 races)
Lisa Nye 39 0 - 39 (Open) F 170.14 (2 races)
Aaron Coe 25 0 - 39 (Open) M 169.31 (2 races)
Joe Gray 24 0 - 39 (Open) M 100.00 (1 race)
Max King 28 0 - 39 (Open) M 99.92 (1 race)
Tyler Walsh 18 0 - 39 (Open) M 90.79 (1 race)
Hal Koerner 32 0 - 39 (Open) M 89.71 (1 race)
Scott Jurek 34 0 - 39 (Open) M 89.47 (1 race)
Bob Jullian 40 40 - 49 M 88.79 (1 race)
Torrey Lindbo 35 0 - 39 (Open) M 81.96 (1 race)
Dean Giblin 43 40 - 49 M 80.05 (1 race)
David Jordan 40 40 - 49 M 79.20 (1 race)

Please keep in mind that the above list does not reflect the relative abilities of each runner - it's only a ranking based on the rules set forth at the begining of the Oregon Mountain Running Series. Had Max King or Joe Gray competed in 3 series races, they would have certainly scored higher. Joe won several world class mountain running events in Europe this past year and was just named the USATF Mountain Runner of the Year. Max King won several competitve trail races in Oregon including the 2008 XTERRA Trail Running National Championships in Bend. Max also competed in the Steeplechase at the 2008 US Olympic Trials in Eugene. Also not included in this list are several excellent trail runners who competed in series races but are not USATF members. Top amoung these runners is Erik Skaggs (Ashland, OR) who won 2 series races and finished 3rd at the NW Mountain Running Championships behind Joe Gray and Max King.

Congratulations to all the runners who competed in series races. Special thanks to all the race directors, volunteers and sponsors who made these races possible. Finally, thanks to La Sportiva which provided product and promotional support and to USA Track & Field Oregon which provided race sanctioning services and promotional support.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Shoe Review: Inov-8 RocLite 295

Written by Richard Bolt
This shoe review review was made possible by Trail Runner Magazine. Portions of this review were published in Trail Runners annual Fall shoe review issue.

Testing Environment:
A good all around trail shoe deserves an equally good all conditions test. With that in mind I tested the Inov-8 RocLite 295 on pavement, dry dirt, mud, water, loose gravel and snow.........all in one day. Where might you ask is this possible? Early Summer on Mt Hood is an excellent venue for all conditions. Specifically at the site of the annual Mt. Hood Scramble and self-proclaimed "grand-daddy of filth". Park at the White River West Snow Park and lace-em if you got-em. State road 35 offers an easy paved warm-up for your legs and for the well built RocLite 295. Peel off the road's shoulder and venture into the sand and gravel to tempt the tread and show off your tractive capabilities. Venture futher still and traverse well packed late season snow where temptation ends and real challenge begins. The RocLite 295 likes the snow; its slim profile minimizes surface area and pushes blocky lugs deep into the granular snow for maximum traction. Move down to the White River and run the loose gravel banks along the water and feel the open tread pattern easily clear clumps of muck. Need to clean-up a bit? Cross the cold mountain run-off of the White River and notice how water drains nicely from the shoe. Repeat this cycle as much as you dare - no doubt your legs will cry "uncle" long before the Inov-8 295 comes apart at the seams.

Initial Impressions: As the descendant of the original World Championship winning shoe, the RocLite 295 offers light weight, superb traction and a trim fit. While many trail shoes are bulky, overbuiltroad shoes, the RocLite 295 has been built from the ground up as a specialists off road running and racing shoe.
Ideal Terrain and Conditions: While the RocLite 295 is clearly best adapted for off-road use, it is still a very comfortable and runnable shoe for the roads. The medium depth blocky tread and soft outsole offer a stable and cushioned road ride. While not ideal for road use, it's by no means uncomfortable to traverse a couple miles of road on the way to your favorite trail. Most trail runners will find the tread pattern just fine for very muddy conditions. For those runners who require extreme traction or who live in a bog, think about upgrading to the Inov-8 MudClaw.

Best Features: Fit and out-sole. With its' narrow last and trim mid-sole, the RocLite 295 might not be good for all runners, but for those who like that fit, it's a wonderfully comfortable shoe with excellent ground feel. To maximize this excellent feel for the trail, Inov-8 has given the RocLite 295 an open and blocky tread that grips well in snow as well as mud and carves up twisty singletrack with outstanding lateral stability. Speaking of stability, many trail shoes loose it when they get wet. Not the RocLite 295; with its solid upper construction and laces deep into the toe box, you can be assured that a secure dry fit will be a solid wet fit as you cross, mud, water or snow.

Worst Features: With this and other Inov-8 shoes I've found the low cut upper around the heel and ankle to be a magnet for little stones and sand. It's not that I expect gaiter like protection, but I often find myself flicking gravel out of the shoe before it works it's way down to my heel and out of reach.

Overall Rating: I talk with many runners who are reluctant to buy trail shoes because they feel they are too specialized. For them I would recommend the RocLite 295 precisely because it can be used in so many off road conditions. It's a light shoe, but no too light. It has fantastic grip in most all conditions but is still usable on the roads. Finally, when cleaned up, the subtly branded Inov-8 RocLite 295 in its low-key color scheme looks perfect with a pair of nice jeans and your favorite shirt for a night on the town.

Final Thoughts: Inov-8 makes the winningest shoes at the World Mountain Running Trophy and the RocLite 295 builds on that experience to provide even the first time trail runner with a solid shoe that will provide confidence in all conditions. With over a dozen models of dedicated trail shoes to choose from, the Inov-8 product line may seem daunting to navigate, but if you choose this shoe, you won't be disappointed and who knows, you might just be tempted to add a few more trail tools to your box of trail tricks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

USA Track & Field Announces MUT Runners of the Year

The Mountain/Ultra/Trail running (MUT) council of long distance running has named the 2008 USATF Mountain Runners of the year, Ultra Runners of the Year, and Contributor of the Year. The following individuals will be recognized at the USATF National Convention in Reno, NV, on Saturday, December 6 at an awards breakfast.


Mountain men open: Joseph Gray, 24, Lakewood, WA.  Joe (pictured above - left) started out the mountain season in Vail, CO, on June 7 with a sprint-to-the finish third-place at the LaraBar 10km. Later that month he placed fourth at the USA Mountain Running Championships earning a spot on his first Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team.  He was the second U.S. finisher at the World Mountain Trophy – 16th place – in Sierre Crans Montana, Switzerland, and a scoring member of the U.S. bronze medal team. He was the top U.S. finisher at  Challenge Stellina in Susa, Italy, Kitzbuhelerhorn in Kitzbuehel, Austria, and Skaala Uphill Challenge in Loen, Norway He also was the first finisher in the Canadian Mountain Running National Championship at Mt Seymour, Canada, and won the Northwest Mountain Running Championship, in Mt Hood, OR. 


Mountain men master: Simon Gutierrez, 42, Alamosa, CO.  Simon (pictured above - right) is a now a three-time winner of this award. He is also a two-time winner of the open mountain runner of the year award. Like Gray, Gutierrez started out the mountain season in Vail finishing fifth overall and first master in the LaraBar 10km.  He was the USA Mountain Running National Master Champion setting a masters’ course record and finishing in fifth place just behind Gray. He won the La Sportiva Berry Picker in July, the second and final Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team selection race where he made his seventh consecutive team.  He won the World Masters Mountain Running Championships in the Czech Republic (his third consecutive win) and was the fourth U.S. finisher at the World Mountain Trophy finishing in 25h place. 


Mountain women open: Brandy Erholtz, 30, Bailey, CO, in only her second year as a “mountain runner,” finished third at the LaraBar 10km and was the USA National Mountain Running Champion where she made her first Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team. She finished third at both the USA 8km Trail Running Championships and the La Sportiva Berry Picker. Erholtz was the Pikes Peak Ascent champion and also posted wins at the final La Sportiva Mountain Cup Race in Vail and the Black Canyon Ascent setting a course record. She was the top U.S. finisher at the World Mountain Running Trophy finishing in 11th place.


Mountain women master: Laura Haefeli, 40, Del Norte, CO, was the 2004 and 2005 open mountain runner of the year and has earned masters’ recognition this year.  She won the LaraBar 10km and the USA 8km Trail Championships. She was the USA National Mountain Running Masters champion setting a masters course record and finishing in third place.  She earned a spot on the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team with her second-place finish at the La Sportiva Berry Picker. She finished in 44th place at the World Mountain Running Trophy which was her fourth U.S. team appearance at a Trophy event (’04, ’05, ’07, and ‘08).


Ultra men open: Michael Wardian, 34, Arlington, VA, wins his first Ted Corbitt Memorial USATF Ultra Runner of the Year Award in 2008. Wardian posted wins at the USA National 50km Championships, the US National 100km Championships (where he made his first USA National 100km Team), the USA National 50 Mile Trail Championships. He finished 21st at the USA Mountain Running Championships and second at the USA National Trail Marathon Championships showing his versatility over shorter distances. He also posted wins at the JFK 50 Miler and the Lake City 50km.

Page Two/Runners of the Year 2008


Ultra men master: Roy Pirrung, 60, Kohler WI, is a repeat winner in this category having won this award in 2007. Pirrung was second at the 2007 AUA 24-hour National Championships where he ran 138.5 miles. He finished 23rd overall and first in the 55-59 category at the IAU 50 Mile Trail World Challenge held at the Sunmart Endurance Run. He was the 55-59 champion at the USA 50km National Championships and at the USA 100km National Championships. He was first in his age group at the Ice Age Trail 50 Miler in 15th overall. Having turned 60 in July, Pirrung was the 60-64 champion at the USA 50 Mile National Trail Championships and the USA 100km National Trail Championships. At the IAU 24h World Challenge in Seoul, South Korea, Pirrung, who was on his seventh U.S. 24 Hour Team, was 35th overall and has pending 60-64 American Records at 12-hours, 100-miles, and 24-hours. In Korea, he was final scoring member of the U.S. team with 131+ miles.


Ultra women open: Susannah Beck, 40, Brunswick, ME, is the Ruth Anderson USATF Ultra Runner of the Year 2008. Beck was the USA 50 Mile Trail Champion setting a 7:32:12 course record. She was the second overall finisher at the North Face Challenge in Seattle and was the winner of the Way Too Cool 50km setting a course record. She also won Moab’s Red Hot 50km setting a course record in  4:28:22.  Beck won the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon in Ashland, OR, timed in 3:00:29.


Ultra women master: Beverly Anderson-Abbs, 44, Red Bluff, CA, is a repeat winner in this category. Anderson-Abbs won the USA National Masters 100 Mile Trail Championship title and was victorious at the Auburn 50km and the Diablo 50. She was second at the Miwok 100km and the Way Too Cool 50km. She was the masters’ champion at the North Face Challenge in CA where she finished second overall. She complemented her schedule with several marathons having finished fifth overall and first master at the Richmond Marathon and winning the Redding Marathon. Anderson-Abbs was the first female at both the Rucky Chucky Roundabout in Foresthill, CA and the Wildflowers 50km in her home city of Red Bluff At the Sierra Nevada Double Marathon in Granite Bay, CA, Anderson-Abbs finished as the first female and second overall. She also posted wins at the Lake of the Sky 50km Tahoe City, CA, and the Whiskeytown 50km in Redding, CA.


Contributor of the Year - Scott McCoubrey: McCoubrey works tirelessly promoting trail, mountain, and ultra running.  He is the race director of the USA National 50 Mile Trail Championships which has grown in participation each year. He also directs the Cougar Mountain Trail Racing Series which raises money to maintain the local park where the events are held. McCoubrey also puts on the Mountain to Sound Greenway Multi-Sport Race which promotes green space preservation.  Through the Seattle Running Club and the Seattle Running Company, McCoubrey leads free weekly trail runs.  Trail runners with previous or current ties to the Seattle Running Company include Ian Torrance, Phil Kochic, Krissy Moehl, Hal Korner, Brian Morrison, Greg Crowther, and Uli Stidl.  McCoubrey has played a roll in the success of these and many, many other trail runners.


Others garnering votes in the Contributor of the Year category for 2008 include Running Timesmagazine, Trail Runner magazine, Teva, and the Vail Recreation District.


In order to be considered for the USATF Mountain and Ultra running awards an athlete must show top results in U.S. competitions for 2008 (November 1, 2007 through October 31, 2008) to include mountain races (these may be on paved/gravel surfaces as long as there is significant elevation loss or gain) and trail races of varying lengths, as well as road races for the ultra category (distances beyond the marathon). International results are also considered. The nominee must be an ambassador for the sport.  Nominee must be a USATF member for 2008, and to be considered for the masters’ category athlete must be a minimum of 40 years of age.

For a list of past winners in the other categories, please visit