Race Preview Broken Arrow Skyrace

Press release from World Mountain Running Association written by Kirsty Reade, previewing the first race in the 2023 Valsir World Cup – Broken Arrow Skyrace.

The 2023 Valsir Mountain Running World Cup gets underway this week, with the first Gold Label Race – the Broken Arrow vertical uphill race, followed by Gold Label Race – Broken Arrow Skyrace long mountain race. Both events are staged in Palisades Tahoe, California in the United States.

Broken Arrow has been part of our World Cup before, first in 2019, then again in 2021, but it promises to provide even more competitive races this year, with top elite fields. And while it takes place in the US, the event very much has its roots in the traditions of European mountain running, with steep terrain, scrambling and huge amounts of vertical gain and loss at altitude.

Broken Arrow courses

Broken Arrow Vertical Uphill course map.

First up is the vertical uphill race on Friday, June 16, at 10am (UTC -7). The race starts on the valley floor and climbs its way up 954m (3,100 feet) over 6.8km (4.5 miles) to the summit of Washeshu Peak at 2708m (8885 feet). Along the way it takes in some brutally steep terrain, leading up to the Headwall Ridge and the ‘stairway to heaven’ bolted ladder to the summit of Washeshu Peak.

Broken Arrow 23K course map.

On Sunday, June 18, at 8am the long mountain race, the Broken Arrow Skyrace takes place. This is a loop which climbs 1,533m over the course of 23km (or 5,033 feet over 14.25 miles). It starts in Palisades Tahoe Village and most of the race takes place above the tree line on technical and demanding trails. Runners will be treated to views of Granite Chief Wilderness and they will experience Emigrant Pass and, like the vertical uphill runners, the ‘stairway to heaven’ ladder to Washeshu Peak.
LEKI Trail Running Poles

Chris Lundy racing at the 2019 Broken Arrow Skyrace.

Broken Arrow women’s field

As ever there is a very strong women’s field assembled, with many electing to take part in the vertical uphill and long mountain race. Grayson Murphy (USA) will be taking on both, on the back of her very successful campaign at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Innsbruck, where she won the classic mountain race and took bronze in the vertical uphill race.

Janelle Lincks (USA), winner of the 2021 23k race, had back-to-back wins at this past weekend’s GoPro Mountain Games in the 10K and Pepi’s FaceOff in Vail, CO.

Other women to watch include Anna Gibson (USA), who’s had some success in vertical races previously, Sophia Laukli (USA), cross country skier, Danielle Marquette (USA), Hillary Allen (USA), Tabor Hemming (USA) and Lara Hamilton (AUS).

Andrew Douglas at the 2019 Broken Arrow Skyrace.

Broken Arrow men’s field

Like the women’s field, most of the elite men are opting to race both the vertical uphill and the long mountain race. But we will see more international runners in the men’s field. Eli Hemming (USA) was 2nd in both the vertical race and 23k last year and recently won the Breakneck Trail Half Marathon in Beacon, NY. He will be taking part in the 23k race and will be hotly tipped again.

Henri Aymonod (ITA), who was almost unbeatable at a vertical uphill race in 2021, but had more of a mixed 2022, will always be a runner to watch. He was 3rd here in the 23k race in 2019. Andrea Rostan (ITA) will also be travelling to run both races, having had a lot of success in Europe over similar races. Zak Hanna (IRL), who had a very successful 2022, particularly in vertical uphill races like Vertical Nasego and Canfranc Canfranc Vertical, could also do well. Andy Wacker (USA), winner of last year’s 23k and 6th in the vertical uphill race, will compete in the vertical uphill, his first race since ankle surgery this past winter.

Other men to watch include Chris Richards (GBR), Liam Meirow (USA), Joe DeMoor (USA) and Raul Criado (ESP).

Organizers look forward to kicking off the 2023 Valsir World Cup and making this the biggest year ever. A livestream for the event will be available at Broken Arrow Livestream by UltraSignup. Roughly 1200 athletes will compete in the vertical uphill (450 runners) and the 23K (775 runners). Add this number to the competitors in the other events at Broken Arrow – Kids Run, 11K, 46K – and the field tops nearly 2500.