Six elite US mountain runners representing five states and ranging in age from 16 to 37, will represent Team USA at the 14th North American, Central American & Caribbean (NACAC) Mountain Running Championships this fall.
The 2017 NACAC Mountain Running Championships, sanctioned by the World Mountain Running Association, will take place in Golden, BC, Canada, on Sunday, September 24. The 10.5K race for men and women will be held in conjunction with the Golden Ultra. This popular weekend-long event is part of the Skyrunner Series Canada, and includes multiple off-road races including an uphill kilometer, 10K, half marathon, 30K and 60K.
Both individual and team competition will be staged at the NACAC, with US, Canadian and Mexican athletes competing head-to-head. Teams are comprised of up to four men and four women with the top two finishers scoring for their respective country. Team USA includes the following athletes.
Soleil Gaylord, 16, Telluride, CO. Soleil is a versatile off-road athlete having been a member of Team USA at the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships, the 2017 WMRA International Mountain Running Youth Cup and the 2017 US National Snowshoe Team. Soleil won the junior event at the 2017 Snowshoe National Championships (Bend, OR) and World Championships (Saranac Lake, NY). Quote from Soleil; “I have always dreamed of seeing the Canadian Rockies and to get my first glimpse of them while mountain running for Team USA is an extraordinary opportunity! I so look forward to sharing the bounties of being a mountain running team member which include the wonderful comraderies, the excitement of competition at this level, and the chance to learn from my experienced teammates and coaches.”
Kim Nedeau, 37, Leverett, MA. Kim led Team USA women to a bronze-medal at the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships in Bulgaria with her ninth place finish in the competition. Quote from Kim; “It was a welcome surprise when asked to represent the US at NACAC. After a tough injury this winter that left me on crutches for almost two months, I’ve come back as strong as ever. All of my training this summer will be geared towards doing my very best best at NACAC. We have an incredibly strong women’s team with Soleil and Megan and I’m confident we’ll make the US mountain running community proud!”
Megan Roche, 26, Sunnyvale, CA. Megan made her first national team in 2014 competing for Team USA at the World Mountain Running Championships in Italy. She has since competed in several mountain and trail running national championship up to the 50K distance. Quote from Megan; “I am so excited to have the honor to compete in the NACAC Mountain Running Championships. The NACAC Championships are a fun opportunity to get to know teammates, fellow racers, and the culture of the host country! I am looking forward to racing a mountain 10K in the US jersey. Team USA, Team USA, Team USA!”
Josh Eberly, 36, Gunnison, CO. Josh was a member of Team USA for the 2015 World Mountain Running Championships in Wales and was on the 2016 NACAC team. Josh is also a coach for the Western State Colorado University Mountain Sports – Trail Running Team. Quote from Josh; “I always feel privileged to wear a Team USA Jersey. I live right in the heart of the mountains, so I am constantly running on single track and hills. I am very excited to have another go at a great competitive mountain race.”
David Fuentes, 30, Austin, TX. David competed at the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships in Bulgaria where we was a member of the gold medal winning men’s team. Quote from David; “I am excited to once again put on the USA Singlet and represent my country. Being a mountain runner in a state with one mountain hundreds of miles from me has definitely opened my eyes to a sport that I love to be a part of. After winning gold at World Mountain Champs in Bulgaria, it is once again exciting to compete at the international level for Team USA.”
Mike Popejoy, 31, Flagstaff, AZ. Mike finished 8th at the 2016 USATF Mountain Running Championships held at Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. Quote from Mike; “I’ve been a runner since I was a little kid, and have dreamed about representing the US for about as long. This is my first US National Team, and I’m excited to compete against some of the best mountain runners in North America in the beautiful setting of the Canadian Rockies. I’ll be doing the majority of my preparation where I live in Flagstaff, Arizona, with the goals of a high individual finish and bringing home the team title.”
Team leader will be Richard Bolt, Mountain View, CA, a veteran staff member for Team USA who has led nearly 20 teams in international competition. Richard is also the Director of Marketing for the American Trail Running Association, a member of USATF’s Mountain Ultra Trail Council, and a Salomon / Suunto sponsored athlete. WMRA Treasurer and Chairperson of the USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Council Nancy Hobbs will also be in attendance.
This is the 14th consecutive year that the NACAC Mountain Championship has been held, with the event rotating being the U.S., Mexico, and Canada. This is the fifth time for Canada to serve as host, having been the venue for the championships in 2007 (Canmore, Alberta), 2010 (Canmore, Alberta), 2012 (West Vancouver, BC), 2015 (West Vancouver, BC) and 2017 (Golden, BC).
The course will be an up-and-down course to mirror the format of the World Mountain Running Championships which are up and down in odd-numbered years and uphill-only in even numbered years. The 10.5K race route with 387 meters of ascent and descent is on the northern slopes of the Columbia River valley, featuring the rotary trail and newly build (2016) trails. The first and last 2.5 km of the course is on the double-wide, gravel-surfaced town trail, where runners will bask in the glory of cheering spectators. The remaining running is on buff and flowy single-track trails.
Athletes were selected to the team based on the criteria published here in January 2016.
Results from past NACAC Mountain Running Championships can be found on the WMRA website here.