Grayson Murphy and Joseph Gray earn USATF Vertical Mountain Running Championship Titles

Grayson Murphy and Joseph Gray earn USATF Vertical Mountain Running Championship Titles
Team USA – Vertical Mountain – is finalized for Austria

At today’s — Saturday, April 29 — USATF Vertical Mountain Running Championships, Grayson Murphy and Joseph Gray earned titles for their respective wins in the USATF Championships division. The Sunapee Scramble hosted the championships at Mt. Sunapee Resort located in Newbury, NH co-directed by Tom Hooper and Paul Kirsch, Six03 Endurance Races.

“When you mix a whole lot of vert with a variety of terrain, you end up with a 100% chance of awesome,” related Hooper. “The weather certainly made for a challenge, but we were really excited with how the day went.”

The four-mile course started at the base of the ski resort on service roads for the first mile and a half before crossing a creek and entering single track and more gnarly terrain. The final 1/8 of a mile was again on service road to the finish line at the top of the mountain. Participants amassed 1900 feet of elevation gain from start to finish.

Start of the men’s race at Sunapee Scramble.

What started out as an overcast day for the late morning starts — men went off first at 11:05 followed by the women at 11:45 — turned into a rain-soaked event by the finish of the women’s race. The adverse conditions didn’t dissuade the participants as enthusiastic smiles were prevalent throughout the finish line.

While Murphy’s win in a time of 35:47 was more than five minutes ahead of her closest competitor Rachel Tomajczyk, Gray battled it out through the race with eventual race winner Canadian Alexandre Ricard who posted a time of 32:12 to finish eleven seconds ahead of Gray. Both Gray and Ricard will represent their respective countries at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Austria this June.

Tomajczyk and Alex Lawson earned spots on the USATF Vertical Mountain Team with their second and third place finishes today timed in 40:28 and 41:03 respectively. The pair along with Murphy join reigning World Vertical Mountain Running Champion Allie McLaughlin who earned an auto spot with her win in Thailand last November at the inaugural World Mountain and Trail Running Championships.

L-R: Lawson, Tomajczyk, and Murphy near the finish line at Sunapee.

On the men’s side, Dan Curts, Eddie Owens, and Garrett Corcoran, who finished a very close second, third and fourth on the day, will join Gray on Team USA. To emphasize how close the men’s race was, the top six men all finished within 41 seconds.

L-R: Corcoran, Curts, Gray, Owens near the finish line at Sunapee.

Nearly 400 runners crossed the finish line today and if you missed the action, you can enjoy the Livestream playback here. Complete results are posted here.

Kirsch working on the Livestream from the finish line at Sunapee.

Tune in here (Sunday, April 30) to watch the action unfold for the USATF Mountain Running Championships at Sunapee when more than 300 participants will take on a challenging up/down course. The route is just under 9 miles with 3000 feet of elevation gain and ascent (1500 feet per loop) and features service roads, single track terrain, descents on black diamond ski trails, and even some lingering piles of snow.

The USATF Mountain Classic Team will be selected at the championships with the top four men and top four women earning team berths. Review the USATF Mountain and Trail Running Team selection criteria here.

Note: With their wins today, Grayson Murphy and Joseph Gray also earned spots on Team USA slated to compete at Challenge Stellina International Meeting of Nations on Sunday, August 27, 2023, in Susa, Italy. Details on the selection criteria here.