Press release written by USATF Championship liaison Meghan Laws. Photo above: Tim Tollefson winning Singletrack Running’s 2019 FOURmidable 50K.
On Saturday March 14, the Pioneer Spirit Trail Race will host the 2020 USATF 50 Mile Trail Championships in El Dorado and Placer counties, California. Starting in the small town of Cool, the course runs through former homestead land, down the Western States trail, crossing the American River on the famous No Hands Bridge, up to Auburn, then continuing on the Pioneer Express Trail all the way to Beals Point on Folsom Lake.
Headlining the national championship race will be Devon Yanko, 37, San Anselmo, CA. Yanko’s very impressive resume includes a recent 50k road victory at Jed Smith Ultra Classic in 3:27, a 50 mile victory at Tussey mOUnTaiNBACK, as well as multiple Olympic Marathon Trials qualifiers. Anna Zielaski of Oakland, CA, the 2017 Pioneer Spirit race winner, returns this year as well.
On the men’s side, there is no lack of depth with former US Mountain Running Team members Matt Daniels, Tim Tollefson, and Max King scheduled to go head-to-head for the championship victory. Daniels is coming off of a stellar 2019 with a golden ticket win at Black Canyon 100k followed by a 4th place finish at Western States. He recently ran to a second place finish at Moab Red Hot 55k. Tollefson is no stranger to the Auburn events, having twice won Fourmidable 50k, and Ruck-a-chuck 50k. At an international level, he is a force, having won Italy’s Lavaredo 120k last June. 2011 World Mountain Running Champion Max King barely needs an introduction, having won or podium in many distances on trail, roads and the track over the past several years. He recently won the Hagg Lake 50k in Oregon in a tidy time of 3:22.
In order to be eligible for any of the cash prizes, any runner competing in the 50 mile championship event must be a US citizen and a current USA Track & Field (USATF) member. The Pioneer Spirit 50 Mile offers a national championship prize purse in the following amounts and categories: $1000, $700, $500, $200, and $100 respectively to the top five male and female finishers.
Google Streetview Image Above: No Hands Bridge on the Western States 100 and Pioneer Spirit Trail Race course. Find Google Streetview images of the entire Western States course on the Trekker page.