Friday, July 11, 2008

What is "mountain running"?

So you might be wondering "what the heck is mountain running"? In short, mountain running races are trail (and sometimes road) races with large amounts of vertical ascent or ascent and descent. Famous American mountain races include the Pikes Peak Marathon and Ascent, The Dipsea and the Mt. Washington Road Race. Here in Oregon we have dozens of trail races but only a few that have enough climbing to be considered true "mountain races". The best example of a mountain race in Oregon is the Mt. Ashland Hillclimb Run - now in it's 31st year!

Anatomy of a mountain running race: Just last weekend the Loon Mountain Race took place in Lincoln, New Hampshire. A superb race website and video of the course being laid out provide great insights into what makes mountain running so challenging, so unique and just plain cool.

Check out this video of race director Paul Kirsch and Dave Dunham (the father of American mountain running) setting the course as they hike up Loon Mountain. The video is shot by Tim VanOrden:
Running Raw: Loon Mountain Race - The Course 7/5/2008

NEW ADDITION (7/12/08): Tim VanOrden just released his race day video of the Loon Mountain Race:
Running Raw: Loon Mountain Race - The Race 7/6/2008

Also check out the Loon Mountain race results. The race was won by Eric Blake (New Britain, CT) who 2 weeks before won the Mt. Washington Road Race becoming the USATF Mountain Running Champion and earning a spot on the Teva US Mountain Running Team.

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