The coronavirus pandemic has made 2020 a challenging year for races and the even USA Track & Field’s mountain, ultra, trail championship series didn’t escape the wave of event cancellations. Of the twelve championships scheduled this year, seven have been cancelled and only two will have taken place since the pandemic started.
The final 2020 USATF championship will now be the Marathon Trail Championship hosted by the Moab Trail Marathon in Utah on Saturday, November 7. Moab has hosted the Marathon Trail Championships eight times since 2010, and the Half Marathon Trail Championship in 2013 and 2017. The Moab Trail Running weekend features the marathon, half marathons on Saturday & Sunday, a 5K, and a kids’ 1K.
The championship marathon course includes dirt trail, rugged jeep roads, single-track, and slick rock with significant exposure. Elevations vary from the start at 4000 feet, to a high point of 5100 feet while promising a cumulative gain of some 3576 feet. The elite men start at 8AM and the elite women follow at 8:10AM Mountain Time.
With COVID-19 safety measures in place to comply with state and local guidelines, the event will require participant social distancing throughout the nearly 20 wave starts. Other COVID-19 safety measures in place included no packet pickup as all runner bibs were mailed to participants. No spectators will be permitted to attend on race days and runners must stay in their vehicles until 15 minutes prior to their assigned start time, and face coverings will be mandatory for the start/finish areas and at aid stations. Athletes will not be permitted to linger in the finish area after completing their race.
The USATF championship field includes nearly 80 athletes ranging in age from 18 to 71, with an almost-equal split of men and women. Of the 80 USATF members registered from 21 U.S. states, 31 are masters – aged 40 and over.
On the women’s side, competition will be tight up front with favored podium finishers including 2020 Pikes Peak Marathon winner Brittany Charboneau (32 – Denver, CO), 2017 USATF Half Marathon Trail Champion Ashley Brasovan (29 – Golden, CO) and 2019 USATF Mountain Running Champion Allie McLaughlin (30 – Colorado Springs, CO) as well as 2017 Pikes Peak Marathon winner Kristina Mascarenas (31 – Colorado Springs, CO).
Other elite mountain/trail runners and veterans of recent national championships include 2020 USATF Half Marathon Trail Champion Dani Moreno (pictured above – 28 – Mammoth Lakes, CA) and 2020 USATF Half Marathon Trail runner-up Janelle Lincks (27 – Boulder, CO). Additional top contenders on the women’s side include Alycia Hill (32 – Salt Lake City, UT), Jane Maus (25 – Salt Lake City, UT), 2019 US Long Distance Mountain Running Team member Emily Schmitz (39 – Wauwatosi, WI), Jackie Hendrickson (24 – Ogden, UT), 2020 US Snowshoe Champion Michelle Hummel (35 – Albuquerque, NM), Megan Bamford (21 – Gunnison, CO), fourth-place finisher at last year’s Moab Trail Marathon Lindsay Allison (23 – Boulder, CO) and Meredith Edwards (36 – Durango, CO).
Among the masters’ women, a talented group of trail runners are also hoping to post top finishes including Janet Bain (45 – Flagstaff, AZ), Jennifer Sober (45 – Jupiter, FL), Lori Enlow (47 – Tahlequah, OK), Darcie Gorman (45 – Salt Lake City, UT), Christy Aish (43 – Conifer, CO), 2017 US Long Distance Mountain Running Team member Anita Ortiz (56 – Eagle,CO) and Jessica Hruska (40 – Dubuque, IA).
For the men, returning champion Adam Peterman (25 – Missoula, MT), will face a talented Rocky Mountain contingent including 2018 Moab runner-up and 2020 USATF Half Marathon Trail Running Champion Andy Wacker (32 – Boulder, CO), Darren Thomas (27 – Manitou Springs, CO), Kiernan Nay (21 – Gunnison, CO), Adam Merry (29 – Golden, CO), Nicholas Turco (22 – Boulder, CO), and Ryan Becker (26 – Boulder, CO).
Also in the hunt for podium honors will also be 2019 U.S. Trail Team member David Kilgore (28 – Bronx, NY), 2019 World Long Distance Mountain Running Team member David Sinclair (28 – Norden, CA), Michelino Sunseri (28 – Kings Beach, CA), Adam Hendrickson (25, Ogden, UT), Travis Morrison (28 – Salt Lake City, UT), and fourth-place finisher at the 2018 Moab Trail Marathon Jeshurun Small (22 – Provo, UT).
Don’t be surprised if some masters-aged men are in the overall top-ten with local Justin Ricks (40 – Moab, UT), 2015 US Mountain Running Team member Josh Eberly (40 – Gunnison, CO), Jeason Murphy (40 – Salida, CO), Michael Aish (44 – Conifer, CO), and Dan Vega (53 – Colorado Springs, CO), Brett Winegar (41 – Bothell, WA), and veteran of multiple USATF masters championships Kelly Mortensen (49 – St. Paul, MN).
In addition to USATF Championship medals for the top ten men and women, masters’ medals will be presented to the top three men and women ages 40 and over in five-year increments. There is a $4800 cash purse for USATF members to be awarded to the top 5 mens’ and womens’ finishers: $700, $500, $400, $300, $200, and $300 to the top male/female masters’ finishers.
Course records are held by Kerri Lyons (2012) with a time of 3:27:46 and Adam Peterman (2019) timed in 2:57:28.
For a recap of prior USATF Marathon Trail Championships held in Moab visit the following links: