[May 25, 2021 UPDATE: The Gnar Gnar race has announced the addition of $5000 in total prize money for the USATF Mountain Running Championships. Prize money distribution details can be found on the race website.]
On February 18, the USATF Mountain Ultra Trail council unanimously approved the Gnar Gnar race to host the 2021 USATF Mountain Running Championships. The event will be held on August 15 at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl, located at Government Camp, Oregon, and is one of many quality events from American Trail Running Association member Go Beyond Racing. Gnar Gnar was due to host the championships last year, but due to COVID-19, the race was cancelled.
“Go Beyond Racing is thrilled to host the 2021 USATF Mountain Running Championships race at Gnar Gnar,” said Renee Janssen, co-owner/co-race director, Go Beyond Racing. “It was disappointing to not get to do that last year because of the pandemic, so earning the bid to host again is extra sweet. We feel that the runners will find the course challenging and really quite fun.”
The course is a 6 mile up-down mountain race with approximately 2000’ of elevation gain and loss, starting near the base of the Ski Bowl, climbing to 5,000’ elevation and returning back to the base for the finish. Strava segment is here. As the Gnar Gnar event name suggests, the terrain is indeed a bit “gnarly,” to keep participants focused as they make their way up and down the mountain. There will be wave starts with the women’s waves starting at 8:00 a.m. and the men in waves starting at 9:00 a.m.
For the national championships, USATF awards will be presented to the top ten men and top ten women overall as well as the top 3 men and women in age groups from 40-99 in five year increments. While only USATF members are eligible for championship awards, all runners can register to compete in the race.
Athletes who participate in National Championships and Team USA competitions are subject to drug testing performed by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) in accordance with the USADA Protocol for Olympic and Paralympic Movement Testing.
Gnar Gnar will also be the sole selection race for the USATF Mountain Running Team with the top three U.S. men and the top three U.S. women earning spots on the team scheduled to compete at the World Mountain & Trail Running Championships in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on November 14.
Two athletes, Joseph Gray and Grayson Murphy, earned automatic spots on the team as defending World Mountain Running Champions. If Gray or Murphy race and finish in the top 3, or if they do not accept their team spot, the fourth place finisher would earn a team spot as well to round out the team selection. To review the mountain & trail team selection criteria, visit this page on trailrunner.com.
“We are delighted to work with our friends at Go Beyond Racing as we prepare for the championships,” said Nancy Hobbs, USATF Mountain Ultra Trail council chairperson. “The only time we have had the championships in the western United States was in 2015 in Bend, Oregon, and we’re eager to return for the Gnar Gnar race at Mt. Hood.”
For a list of all 2021 USATF Mountain Ultra Trail national championships visit this page on trailrunner.com.
What does the venue at Mt. Hood Ski Bowl look like? Check out photos of the 2019 Gnar Gnar race on Paul Nelson’s Smugmug page. Image top of page by Paul Nelson.