Countries from the North American, Central American and Caribbean region, will compete at the 2018 NACAC Mountain Running Championships hosted by the Loon Mountain Race, in Lincoln, NH, on Sunday, July 8. Both individual and team competition will be staged, with nations competing head-to-head with one another. Teams are comprised of up to four men and four women with the top three finishers scoring for their respective country.
American athletes represent six states and range in age from 20 to 38.
This is the 15th edition of this international competition, which this year will be held concurrently with the USA Track & Field (USATF) Mountain Running Championships, the Collegiate Mountain Running Championships, and the US Team selection race for the 34th annual World Mountain Running Championships.
Team USATF includes the following athletes:
The women’s team is comprised of the gold-medal winning squad from the 2017 World Mountain Running Championships.
Addie Bracy, 31, Longmont, CO – “I’m thrilled to be part of Team USATF again, and even more excited to be teaming with our full roster that took the gold medal at last year’s world championships. I have so much admiration for Kasie, Allie, and Caitlin and can’t wait to be teammates with them again. I am very confident that we’ll have a strong performance.
“Loon Mountain was my first ever mountain race, so it stands out in my mind as a very special place. I’m extremely excited to return there and tackle the infamous (and, terrifying) Upper Walking Boss now that I have more experience under my belt!
“I have recently been trying my hand at some longer races. I am planning to race the Quad Rock 50 Mile at the end of May and, pending a healthy season, planning to culminate my summer racing plans at the Leadville Trail 100 Mile.”
Kasie Enman, 38, Huntington, VT – “It’s exciting that we are returning our entire gold medal winning women’s team from last year. With Allie and Addy being even stronger on the uphill courses than the up and down, and with Caitlin coming fresh off the Olympics, it is setting up to be another super strong team performance.”
“Loon was one of the first real mountain races I ever did. As much as people talk about the insanely steep Upper Walking Boss and the searing downhills interspersed into this ‘uphill only’ race, my favorite thing about Loon is how going there always feels like I’m coming home to a family reunion. The New England mountain running community really embraces this event.”
“Training has been going well. I’ll be competing in the USATF Half Marathon Road Championships in May and the Mount Washington Road Race in June.”
Allie McLaughlin, 27, Nashville, TN – “Gosh darn there’s nothing like wearing the Red, White, and Blue. I’m a sucker for it as it’s a reason to train harder and it puts a whole other meaning to running. Having raced in two world championships, it has surprised me how much love other countries have for us as the US. I think the news and media has divided us in such inconceivable ways and it makes me so sad. Walking though the village of Premana, Italy in my USA gear, people would shout and cheer and even begin chanting U-S-A, U-S-A. Now maybe it was because we happened to win that year but it seems like the stoke was like that even the day before. I wish everyone here could experience this and maybe realize how special our country is and how special it is to interact with others. My favorite quote is ‘traveling makes your heart grow,’ and man, has racing against other countries, seeing new landscapes and meeting new cultures allowed my heart and mind to grow.”
“Loon is gonna be hard especially with no mountains to train on where I live now. I raced it in 2014 though and remember the last straight hill (upper walking boss) not being as bad as I envisioned. Pretty sure it’s gonna be seem doubly steep now especially with a mindset like that. *facepalm*”
“I don’t have any race plans. I need to get in shape and get there healthy. Might try and train in the batman building downtown!!! It’s my favorite one of the Nashville skyline, I hope they let me in!!”
Caitlin Patterson, 28, Craftsbury, VT “I’m looking forward to racing at Loon Mountain again this year, and running uphill as part of Team USA will make it even more fun! After a long winter of cross-country ski racing at the World Cup and the 2018 Olympics, it’s just about time to get my running legs back under me coming up this spring. I really enjoyed getting to know people from the running community last summer through racing at Cranmore and at World Mountain Running Championships, so I’ll be looking forward to Loon Mountain and other running events this summer.”
The men’s team is comprised of three athletes from the 2017 US Mountain Running Team, and last year’s silver medalist from the NACAC Mountain Running Championships.
Joseph Gray, 34, Lakewood, WA – 2016 World Mountain Running Champion, and fourth-place finisher at the 2017 World Mountain Running Championships “Competing for Team USA has always been a great experience for me. Wearing the flag on my chest gives me a sense of pride that can’t be replicated when racing solely as an individual so I’m very much looking forward to the NACAC Championships this year on one of my favorite courses!”
Mike Popejoy, 32, Flagstaff, AZ – Mike was last year’s NACAC Mountain Running Championship silver medalist. “I’m excited to have the opportunity to represent the USA at the NACAC Mountain Running Championships for the second year in a row. We’ll look to defend our title from last year on our home turf at Loon Mountain. We’ve put together a strong team, and I’m looking forward to a course this year with some more climbing.”
Joseph Simmons, 20, Pocatello, ID – Joseph was a member of 2017 Junior Mountain Running Team finishing 22nd at the World Championships “I’m so excited to represent the US again, it’s always an honor to wear those colors. “I plan to finish out my college track season and then spend some significant time just running on the trails and enjoying mountain running again.”
Andy Wacker, 29, Boulder, CO – Andy was a member, along with Joseph Gray, of the bronze medal winning men’s team at the 2017 World Mountain Running Championships “For me, this summer is all about going uphill. What could be a better way to celebrate running uphill than climbing up Loon Mountain in a USA uniform? While our country is threatening building walls and raising tariffs, the mountain running community is bringing together the Americas. I am so happy to be selected as an athlete to help host, compete and show what the US has to offer; to bring together the Americas in a peaceful, wonderful way!”
The NACAC Mountain Running Championship rotates being the United States, Mexico, and Canada. This is the fifth time the United States has been the host country having hosted the inaugural competition in 2004, again in 2005, 2009, and 2013. Mexico hosted in 2006, 2008, 2011, 2014, and 2015, while Canada hosted in 2007, 2010, 2012, 2015, and 2017.
Last year, NACAC team gold went to USA on the men’s side and Canada for the women. Mexico won individual titles in both the men’s and women’s division. Read the race recap in our Trail News.
The course at Loon Mountain will be a mostly uphill course to mirror the format of the World Mountain Running Championships, which are primarily uphill in even-numbered years and up and down loop courses in odd-numbered years. The 6.6 mile route climbs 3200′ and will include the famed Upper Walking Boss, although not long (under one mile), the “Boss” boasts sections upwards of forty percent grade, and it marks the final ascent en-route to the finish line.
For more information about the US Mountain Running Team visit usmrt.com or the USA Track & Field website. For historic results from the NACAC Mountain Running Championships visit the results webpage of the World Mountain Running Association.