2024 International U18 Mountain Running Cup – Team USA Selection

In 2024, the 17th edition of the World Mountain Running Association’s (WMRA) International U18 Mountain Running Cup will be held in Montaña Palentina, Spain, June 21-22.

This invitation-only event provides a unique opportunity for youth mountain runners from around the world to test themselves against the world’s best. Much more rugged than the typical U.S. high school cross country race, the course will be an up and downhill circuit approximately 5.5 km in length with 200 meters of ascent and descent.

Race venue in Spain. Photo: Francisco Caballero

Mountain Running Cup Details

Venue: Aguilar de Campoo and Barruelo de Santullán, Spain, both situated within the Palencia region boasting deep-rooted history and breathtaking scenery.
Website: https://u18mrc.blogspot.com/
Date: Saturday, June 22, 2024
Trip Duration: Team travel from the United States to Spain will depart Tuesday, June 18, and arrive on Wednesday, June 19. Course preview will take place on June 20-21. The races are on June 22. Team departure will be on Sunday, June 23, for a total of 4 nights lodging. Team members are welcome to arrive earlier and stay longer, but will need to provide their own lodging and transportation to and from the venue/airport. International airport will be named by the local organizing committee soon. Possibly Bilbao, or Madrid.

The U.S. U18 Mountain Running Team competed at the 15th International U18 Mountain Running Cup in Saluzzo, Italy on June 26, 2022.

Team USA athlete eligibility requirements:
• For athletes who are at least 16 years old and not yet 18 in 2024. [See WMRA U18 regulation 206.2 Age Categories.]
• Athlete must be a 2024 USA Track & Field (USATF) member.
• To be considered for the team, athletes should have posted a 16:45 or better (boys) and 19:30 or better (girls) in a 5 km road or cross country event. Equivalent times – from an alternate race distance that translates to the aforementioned time criteria – may be considered for distances other than 5 km.
• Athletes should have experience training and racing on mountain running courses similar to the event.
• Athletes should be mature, motivated, with a positive attitude to proudly represent the United States and sponsors internationally, under the rules of USATF and the event governing bodies.
• Provide a letter of recommendation from a coach, parent, or mentor-runner along with athlete race results.

The U.S. U18 Mountain Running Team will be comprised of up to 4 youth girls and 4 youth boys along with staff members to be announced soon. (Paul Kirsch (Madison, NH) and Melody Fairchild (Boulder, CO) were the staff members in 2023).

Running resumes should include road, trail, track, and cross country results, current training info and will be accepted through April 30, 2024. Submit your resume on this Google Form and send your recommendation letters to: Paul Kirsch, [email protected].

The team will be announced by May 5, 2024.

This is a partially funded USATF team and there is potentially a small stipend from the WMRA to cover travel expenses. Accommodations, meals, as well as transfers to/from LOC-identified international airport are covered by the local organizing committee. Uniforms are provided by USATF. If an athlete makes the team but can’t make the trip due to injury or any other circumstance, the uniform must be returned to USATF.

Expected program for the 2024 International U18 Mountain Running Cup:
Wednesday, June 19 – Off continent (including Team USA) Teams arrival
Thursday, June 20 – Teams and WMRA officials arrival
Friday, June 21 – Course Preview. Technical Meeting. Opening Ceremony
Saturday, June 22 – Race Day
Sunday, June 23 – Teams and WMRA officials departure

U.S. U18 Mountain Running Team members. Photo: Richard Bolt

Do you want to know what it’s like to represent the USA at the WMRA International U18 Mountain Running Cup? Check out the story from the 2019 team who raced in Susa, Italy – “USATF Youth Mountain Runners Race Through History in Susa Italy,” and results from the 2022 U.S. U18 Mountain Running Team, and 2023 U.S. U18 Mountain Running Team.

You can find results from all previous editions of the International U18 Mountain Running Cup on the WMRA website.

Tentatively, the 2024 U18 team selection committee will include Richard Bolt, Paul Kirsch, David Fuentes, Eric Blake, Max King, Mark Weeks, Peter Maksimow, Nancy Hobbs and Melody Fairchild.