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.