This coming Sunday, September 29, the first ever Waterville Valley Mountain Race will host the USA Track & Field’s Mountain Running Championships deep in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. Located near the headwaters of the Mad River, Waterville Valley Resort is surrounded by heavily forested mountains rising 3000 feet above the valley floor.
The up & down technical 7 mile race course has been laid out on the slopes of Mt Tecumseh, within historic Waterville Valley Resort’s alpine ski area. Organized skiing first started on Mount Tecumseh in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps before the resort was founded in 1966. Building on their success hosting world class skiing events, the Waterville Valley Resort, with help from experienced event directors acidotic Racing (aR), are excited to host world class mountain runners for the first time.
300 hardy mountain runners have pre-registered and can expect amazing weather on Sunday. Lows in the 40s, highs in the mid 60s are forecast and the early fall foliage should enhance the scenic backdrop for the race. Temperatures for the 8:30 AM start are predicted to be around 50 degrees – perfect for racing.
According to elite athlete liaison Paul Kirsch, “We’ve had some local New England runners preview the course and they all agreed that it’s a very challenging course. I think it will be a great test to see who the best US mountain runners are as they race for US Mountain Running Team spots.”
Like all good mountain running courses, this one has varied terrain, double track trails, dirt service road, grass ski slope, small sections of single track, and rocky sections.
Runners from 22 US states and Quebec (Canada) will toe the start line on Sunday. For a look at top runners planning to race, check out our preview article from September 3.
Since then, elite runners added to the start list include 2019 US Snowshoe Racing Champion Michelle Hummel (Albuquerque, NM). Seth DeMoor (Englewood, CO), who finished 2nd behind defending USATF Mountain Running Champion Joe Gray at last months Pike Peak Ascent. Another speedy addition is Washington University alumni Ryan Becker (Boulder, CO) who won the Afton Trail Run.
2018 US Long Distance Mountain Running Team member and USATF 50 Mile Trail Champion David Sinclair (Peru, VT) just signed up as did Nike Bowerman Elite athlete Liam Meirow (Portland, OR).
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Another US Mountain Running Team alumni Josh Eberly (Gunnison, CO) has signed up and is bringing a group of youth runners from the Western Colorado University trail running team. Josh will be joined by 2017 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championship bronze medalist Tayte Pollmann (Sandy, UT) and 2016 World Mountain Running Championship team gold medalist David Fuentes (Austin, TX). David is pictured top of page finishing 3rd at last year’s USATF Mountain Running Championships at nearby Loon Mountain.
Looking to make their first US Mountain Running Team is freshly minted USATF Half Marathon Trail Champion Lee Berube (Syracuse, NY) and Travis Fuller who took bronze at the 2018 USATF Trail Marathon Championships in Moab, Utah.
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It’s not just mountain and trail runners signing up for the Waterville Valley Mountain Race. Track speedsters are planning to race as well. University of Oklahoma alumni Liam Meirow (Portland, OR) signed up and recently finished 2nd at the Gnar Gnar trail race on Mt Hood in Oregon. Also crossing over into mountain running is Tim Ritchie (Northampton, MA), who ran 2:11:56 on his way to winning the 2017 California International Marathon (CIM). More recently Tim ran a 1:02:51 at the New York City Half Marathon.
Unfortunately we learned of some elite mountain runners who have had to withdraw from the race including 2010 Olympic cross country skier Morgan Arritola (Ketchum, ID), experienced trail runner Amber Zimmerman (Albuquerque, NM) and 2015 US Mountain Running Team member Kim Nedeau (Leverett, MA).
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In spite of these withdraws, there will still be a strong elite women’s field with Samantha Lewis (Moscow, ID) who’s run 4:41 (1500 meters), 17:07 (5000 meters) and 35:33 (10,000 meters) on the track. Not just an accomplished short distance runner, Kristen Findley (Austin, TX) has run 14:14 (1500 meters), 15:53 (5000 meters) and has a marathon PR of 2:40:27. Also expected to finish well in the women’s field is Denali Strabel (Anchorage, AK) who has finished as high as 5th at the Mount Marathon Race, 10th at the 2018 USATF Trail Marathon Championships and 5th at the 2019 Broken Arrow Skyrace.
As a reminder, this event will feature $3000 in prize money and serve as the sole selection race for the 2019 US Mountain Running Team.
Race day is Sunday, September 29. The top four women and men who are USATF members and US Citizens will earn an automatic spot on the team and represent the United States at the 35th World Mountain Running Championships on November 15, in Villa La Angostura, Argentina.
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.
Finally, it’s not too late to sign up for the Waterville Valley Mountain Race and it’s a bargain at $40 pre-registered or $50 day of race. You can register HERE. Want to know who’s already pre-registered? Check out the full list HERE.