Temperatures in the mid-50s with overcast skies greeted runners at today’s USATF Trail Marathon Championships held in conjunction with the 8th Moab Trail Marathon in Moab, Utah, which was held as part of a trifecta of racing including the marathon, a half marathon, and an adventure 5K.
Sage Canaday, 30, Boulder, Colorado, had a specific focus, “My goal today was to beat my time from three years ago and to try and crack three hours. The low threes (hours) has been the winning time, so I knew it would probably take a sub-3 to win knowing how competitive the field was.”
Canaday achieved both goals finishing in 2:58:25 to take the national championships title.
“Azerya (Eritrean runner Azerya Weldermariam) went out fast with a couple guys and then there was a gap, and Joe (Gray) and I were kind of in a second group,” said Canaday. “At about mile 14 going into the big climb, Azerya, Joe and me were all together in the lead. I twisted my ankle on a downhill after that and had to walk it out. They (Azerya and Joe) took off and they were gone.
“I got caught by the fourth-place runner. Then my ankle loosened up and I was able to roll pretty hard to mile 23. I saw Joe on the ropes ahead and I’d been gaining. I passed Joe after the ropes about mile 24 or 25. In the last mile I saw Azerya and I wanted to try and catch him, but he was running really strong and I ran out of real estate. “
Although Azerya won the race – by just 24 seconds – Canaday was the first American to the finish and therefore crowned the USATF national champion.
“I had a good race,” said Canaday. “I feel like I paced it well. I got the most out of myself and that’s all you can ask. I’m really honored to win the USATF title – that’s a pleasant surprise.”
As the top American, Canaday also earned a spot on the 2017 US Long Distance Team slated to compete in the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in Italy on August 5. “It’s always a huge honor to represent your country,” said Canaday. “It’s on my radar – definitely.”
Joe Gray finished second in the USATF championships division with a time of 3:00:59, and Anthony Costales rounded out the top three in 3:07:58.
On the women’s side, Addie Bracy, 30, Longmont, Colorado, bested two-time winner and last year’s titlist Megan Kimmel, 36, Ridgeway, to the finish line to earn the victory.
Said Bracy, “I really wanted to win to get that trip to Worlds (the spot on the US Long Distance Mountain Running Team to compete at the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships next year in Italy). I actually thought Megan was ahead of me (from the start), so I was running to catch up. Then around mile 10, Megan caught me…I even said to her, ‘I thought you were ahead of me.’
“We ran together until about mile 13 and then I pulled away on the really long uphill and kept the lead to the finish,” said Bracy. “I never felt like I had the win locked up until the finish line. I knew Megan was really good on the downhills and I didn’t know the course and I didn’t know how far back she was.”
Bracy posted a time of 3:40:28 to Kimmel’s 3:43:43. Rounding out the top three was Kelly Wolf, 22, Silverton, CO, timed in 3:45:19.
Age group winners on the day included Sara Wagner, 44, Flagstaff, AZ, 4:24:59; Christine Lundy, 46, Sausalito, CA, 3:56:11; Colleen Ihnken, 52, Frisco, CO, 5:06:47; Carolyn Hicks, 59, Black Hawk, CO, 6:03:07; Anita Rawlinson, 60, Red Lodge, MT, 5:53:17.
Jon Brown, 44, Gunnison, CO, 3:41:25; Matias Saari, 46, Anchorage, AK, 3:29:53; Jeff Hunt, 52, Concord, MA, 3:53:31; Dan Nielsen, 55, Avon, CO, 4:13:16; Tom Neuman, 61, Salt Lake City, UT, 5:12:15; Carson Heiner, 65, Hudson, OH, 6:08:25; and Clyde Landry, 70, Colorado Springs, CO, 6:09:29.
Complete results can be found here: http://racingunderground.racetecresults.com/Results.aspx?CId=16436&RId=181&EId=3
A full story with athlete quotes will be posted soon.