Tuesday, June 15, 2010

U.S. Mountain Running Team to be Selected at Mount Washington

The 2010 U.S. Mountain Running Team will travel to Kamnik, Slovenia, to compete in the 26th World Mountain Running Championships on Sunday, September 5. This year’s open team – six men and four women – will be selected at the U.S. Mountain Running Championships to be held at the Mt. Washington Road Race on Saturday, June 19, starting at 10:00 a.m.

The increased support by the race’s primary sponsor, Northeast Delta Dental, was a contributing factor in choosing a single selection race for the team this year.

“The USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Running Council, when considering a host for our selection races, looks at the venue, the race management, and the support the event will provide for our athletes. Mount Washington not only offers a well-managed event with an incredible history (celebrating its 50th running in 2010), this year organizers and sponsors stepped up to increase the prize money and in doing so have amassed a field of competitors unmatched in U.S. mountain running history,” said USATF’s Mountain Ultra Trail Running Council Chairperson Nancy Hobbs. “Having a single selection race is something new for our program (typically there are 2-3 selection races for the team), and means the athletes have just one opportunity to earn a spot on the team. This opportunity will become a reality for 10 of America’s best on Saturday.”

The course will test runners’ strength and endurance for the entire 7.6 miles from the base of the Auto Road with an unrelenting 12 percent grade to the 6,288-foot summit of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

The course provides elevation gains which closely mirror those found in Slovenia’s uphill-only route. In Slovenia, the men will run 12 kilometers with more than 4,300 feet of elevation gain, while the women will run 8.5 kilometers with 3,370 feet of elevation gain.

Among the top U.S. competitors on Saturday will be men's and women's defending champions, Coloradoans Rickey Gates of Boulder, and Brandy Erholtz, of Bailey. Gates is only the fifth man ever to break the one-hour barrier on Mt. Washington, having won last year in 59 minutes 58 seconds. Erholtz is looking for her third straight victory and has her sights set on chasing down the women's course record, 1:10:08, set in 1998 by Magdalena Thorsell of Sweden.

Gates, a four-time mountain running team member, is closely matched with at least two familiar rivals, two-time Mt. Washington champion Eric Blake, New Britain, CT who has also been on the mountain team four times, as well as Joe Gray, Lakewood, WA, who finished fourth here in 2008 and then third in 2009, just behind Gates and Blake. Gray has represented the U.S. twice at Worlds and is the 2009 USA Mountain Running Champion. They'll be joined by two-time mountain team members (’08, ’09) Matt Byrne, of Scranton, PA, who was sixth in 2008 and fourth last year at Mt. Washington and Zac Freudenburg, St. Louis, MO, seventh in 2008; Max King, Bend, OR, who won the USA Half Marathon Trail Championships on June 13; Jeffrey Eggleston, Flagstaff, AZ, who ran a 2:14:32 in his debut marathon this year in Phoenix; Malcolm Campbell, Marietta, GA, who won the 2008 Hogpen Hillclimb in Georgia; Timothy Parr, Gunnison, CO, a three-time mountain team member, and Ryan Hafer, Colorado Springs, CO, both past winners of the Pikes Peak Ascent; Luke Watson, State College, PA, a 2:15 marathoner; 2005 mountain team member Kevin Tilton, North Conway, NH; Kristopher Houghton, Albuquerque, NM, a sub-30 minute 10k runner and third at last year’s team selection race in Colorado. One of the newcomers attracting special attention is two-time U.S. Mountain Running junior team member, 19-year-old Zach Rivers, Victor, NY, who will attempt to break the oldest mark in the Mt. Washington books – the course record for runners 19 and under, 1:09:18, set by Sean Livingston in 1987.

Among the top women are four-time mountain team members Laura Haefeli, Del Norte, CO, who finished third at Mt. Washington in 2008 while setting the women's masters course record, and reigning U.S. Mountain Champion Christine Lundy, Sausalito, CA; two-time U.S. Mountain Running team member Megan Kimmel, Silverton, CO; Alison Bryant, Elkin, NC, who finished third in 2007, fifth in 2008 and fourth last year; Nicole Hunt, Deer Lodge, MT, who placed second in her last Mt. Washington appearance (2007 to win the U.S. Championships and earn a spot on the mountain running team) behind the Czech Republic’s Anna Pichrtova; three-time mountain team member Rachel Cuellar, Albuquerque, NM; Kristin Price, Raleigh, NC, who won the 2009 U.S. Women's Trail 10k National Championship; Megan Lund, Basalt, CO, the women's course record-holder in the Aspen (CO) Mountain Uphill, a 2008 U.S. Olympic marathon trials qualifier, and a member of last year’s mountain running team; Gina Lucrezi, Southborough, MA, leader in the USATF New England mountain running series; Amber Moran, a 1:17 half-marathoner from Arden, NC; and Rachel Cieslewicz, Salt Lake City, UT.

FOR A COMPLETE LIST OF ENTRANTS, sortable by name, by state, or by hometown, visit the Mt. Washington Road Race web site, www.mountwashingtonroadrace.com, and click on Lottery Results. The site also includes a photo gallery, a history of the race, results from previous years, and other information.

The U.S. Mountain Running Junior Team will be selected based on running resumes. For details visit www.usatf.org and www.usmrt.com.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Max King and Sopagna Eap win Dirty Half

Max King and Sopagna Eap win first ever USA Trail Half Marathon National Championships in Bend, Oregon

BEND – On a beautiful sunny day with temps in the 60s, hometown favorite Max King of Bend, and Sopagna Eap of Eugene, OR both set new course records at the 9th annual Dirty Half half marathon, which served as the first ever USA Trail Half Marathon National Championships. USA Track & Field runners from across the country were competing for $3000 in prize money courtesy of Visit Bend (visitbend.com).

"The field was absolutely ripping fast this year. These times are truly incredible on a course like this", said race director "Super" Dave Thomason from Footzone Bend.

“The City of Bend, Visit Bend and the community of Bend where thrilled to host the 1st ever USA Track & Field Trail Half Marathon. The Dirty Half trail half marathon is a hallmark event for Bend and it showed its true colors once again with unbelievable community support, a challenging course and superb race directing by Dave Thomason. The City of Bend and Visit Bend look forward to bringing more USA Track & Field Trail Running National Championships in future years.”

Early on in the race the lead pack of runners included Max King, Eric Bohn (Flagstaff, AZ), Mario Mendoza (Cambria, CA) and Carlos Trujillo and his twin brother Esteban (Eugene, OR). King finished in 1:11:03, followed by the Trujillo brothers, with Carlos coming in at 1:12:17 and Esteban in 1:14:02. Bohn came in 4th (1:14:16) and Mendoza finished in 5th (1:17:20). King earned $700 for the win, with Carlos receiving $400 for second and Esteban $300 for third. First Master and 6th overall was Paul Parsons of Bend in a time of 1:21:36. Parsons took home $100 for being the top master.

King looks to carry his success to next weekend when he heads to Gorham, New Hampshire for the USA Mountain Running Championships at the 50th Annual Mount Washington Road Race.

On the women’s side Eap battled with eventual second place finisher and US Olympic Cross Country Ski Team Member, Morgan Arritola (Ketchum, ID) for the first 9 miles until Sopagna surged ahead for the win. Rounding out the women’s top 3 and winning the female masters category was Bend’s very own Lisa Nye, a former winner at the Dirty Half. Eap took home $700 for first overall, with Arritola winning $400 and Nye winning $400 as well ($300 for 3rd, $100 for 1st Master).

I was really impressed with the trail centric atmosphere here in Bend today. The race had 800 entrants with great amenities. It’s clear to me that Dave and his crew here know what it takes to put on a quality event. As USATF continues its campaign to reach out to more runners in the Mountain, Ultra and Trail community across the country, it was really exciting to see such a great turnout here in Bend today,” noted Paul Kirsch, USATF Mountain/Ultra/Trail Championships Chair and race liason.

USATF will return to Bend on September 25TH for the USA 50K Trail Championships, with a $3000 prize purse courtesy of Visit Bend.