The American Trail Running Association is a World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) media partner and will be providing coverage of all sixteen events in the 2021 Mountain Running World Cup. ATRA founder Nancy Hobbs is a member of the WMRA Council. Photos: Peter Maksimow.
The first race to kick-off the Broken Arrow Skyrace presented by Salomon was the Vertical Kilometer (VK) held yesterday Friday, October 1. The event was one of two American-based races in the 2021 WMRA Mountain Running World Cup, the other being the 26K Skyrace to be held Sunday, October 3, with both events staged in Olympic Valley, California, site of the newly renamed Palisades Tahoe ski resort.
What better way to start the weekend than with an all-out, vomit-inducing, ladder-climbing, red-lining 4.25-mile slog from a 6,234-feet to 8,855-foot-high peak. At 11:00 a.m. nearly 200 runners lined up for the start. Skies were powder blue with temperatures in the 50s, but it felt much warmer due to the vibrant autumn sunshine.
Darren Thomas, 27, Colorado Springs and fellow Coloradoan, Andy Wacker, 33, Boulder, took the race out with decisive speed, however, Thomas took control and slowly increased his lead to finish in 45:08, one minute and 30 seconds ahead of second place finisher, David Sinclair, 29, Peru, Vermont. In third was Telluride, Colorado’s Ryan Becker, 27, in a time of 47:49. Wacker faded to sixth in 49:03.
In the women’s race, Allie McLaughlin (pictured top of page) closely trailed the lead women until the one kilometer mark, when she accelerated and took charge. She continued to gap the field to break the tape in a time of 54:24 to finish in 14th position overall. Less than one minute later, Hillary Allen, 33, Fort Collins, CO, finished second followed by 19-year-old Grace Staberg, Silverthorne, CO.
When the dust settled, Thomas, 27, and Allie McLaughlin, 30, also of Colorado Springs, CO, took the VK titles and the World Cup victories.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, international travel was a huge challenge, however, Ondrej Fejfar, 32, placed an impressive fourth overall after just arriving from the Czech Republic. Other international finishers included Ryan Atkins, 34, Canada, who finished eighth, Juan Bolaños, 20, El Salvador, 20th among the men, and Anna Frost, 39, New Zealand who finished ninth among the women.
The WMRA Mountain Running World Cup VK podium
- Darren Thomas – 45:08 – $500
- David Sinclair – 46:38 – $300
- Ryan Becker – 47:49 – $200
- Allie McLaughlin (POV video above) – 54:24 – $500
- Hillary Allen – 55:20 – $300
- Grace Staberg – 56:20 – $200
Even more race images by Peter Maksimow are available on Google Photos.
Looking for more Broken Arrow Skyrace coverage? Check out our preview article to see who’s favored to win Sunday’s 26K race.
You can watch a replay of the live VK broadcast with multiple camera angles and commentary hosted by professional ultrarunners Corrine Malcom (Adidas Terrex), Dylan Bowman (of Pyllars, Red Bull, and The North Face) and Jorge Maravilla on the Broken Arrow Skyrace YouTube channel.