Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Oregon Mountain Running Series

The inaugural Oregon Mountain Running Series (OMRS) kicks off on June 7 in Jacksonville with the Granite Man Mountain Run. Sponsored by La Sportiva and sanctioned by USATF, this series is designed to promote competition in shorter distance trail races with hilly courses. Oregon has long been home to first class trail / ultra runners with names like Sean Meissner, William Emerson & Meghan Arbogast. Well known trail ultra races in the state include the MacDonald Forest 50k and the Where's Waldo 100k.

The OMRS is designed to put some well established and challenging shorter trail races on the map and see which runners "rule the roost"
at the top of the mountain. Run for 31 years, the Mt. Ashland Hillclimb Run features 5600' of climbing over 13 miles giving it more continuous vertical than almost any other race in the USA. The Sunrise to Summit outside Bend may be the shortest race in the series at just 3 miles, but with 2600' of vertical, it's a monster challenge with a big, rewarding view from the summit of Mt. Bachelor. Held in scenic Jacksonville, the Granite Man Mountain Run is just one of 7 races well organized by the experienced folks at Rogue Multi-Sport. Capping off the series will be the Northwest Mountain Running Championships run on the slopes of Oregon's biggest pile of rocks -
Mt. Hood.

At the end of the series who will be the kings and queens of the mountains? So far this year we've seen first class performances from Andy Martin of Bend who won the Peterson Ridge Rumble 30k in April. Andy also won several big West Coast marathons this spring and ran the US Olympic Marathon Trials last Fall in a blazing time of 2:26. What about Kami Semick from Bend, will she show up at the shorter mountain series races? Kami won the Peterson Ridge Rumble 60k and has been a top finisher at the famous Western States 100 Miler.

Top runners in the Oregon Mountain Running Series races will be competing for more that bragging rights. Men's and women's winners in each race who are USATF members will get a free pair of shoes from La Sportiva. USATF Oregon is sanctioning the series races and supporting grass-roots advocacy for mountain, ultra & trail runners and race directors. USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world's oldest organized sports, the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the #1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States.