Top trail runners from around the country faced off at the sixth edition of the Broken Arrow Skyrace, held June 17 to 19, 2022, in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Olympic Valley, California. The event consisted of six races including the VK, Iron Face Challenge, 26K, 52K, 11K, and Kids Run. Since its inaugural year in 2016, the Broken Arrow Skyrace has become one of the largest and most competitive trail running events in the country. In this article, I recap the events and race results from the three days of the Broken Arrow Skyrace’s trail running races, panel discussions, clinics, and festivities.
[In case you missed it, check out our predictions in this race preview article!]
Broken Arrow Skyrace Day 1
Friday, June 17 – McLaughlin Defends, Smith and Hemming Race Down To The Wire For The VK
Day one of the Broken Arrow Skyrace began with the opening of the vendor village, day-of-registrations and packet pickups. The vendor village offered many activities, free SWAG and a festive environment for runners to explore. Vendors included Tailwind, Salomon, STRAVA, Run the Alps, InsideTracker, Darn Tough Vermont, Spring Energy, Kahtoola, Best Day Brewing, Kodiak, Garmin and LEKI.
Due to high winds at the summit, the day’s first race, The Broken Arrow Skyrace VK, was pushed back from its scheduled time of 11A.M. to 1:30P.M. In this race, participants ascended 3,000 vertical feet in just over four miles to the summit of Olympic Valley at 8,800 feet. Both the mens’ and womens’ races were highly competitive featuring many elite runners from around the country including Mario Mendoza (Bend, OR), Eli Hemming (Louisville, CO), Allie McLaughlin (Colorado Springs, CO) Emkay Sullivan (Reno, NV), Tabor Scholl (Louisville, CO), Cam Smith (Crested Butte, CO), Rachel Tomajczyk (Williams, AZ), Olivia Amber (San Francisco, CA), Andy Wacker (Boulder, CO), Morgan Elliot (Salida, CO) and David Sinclair (Truckee, CA).
The race went out hard on a new course that featured a steeper more direct climb at the beginning of the race. Athletes jockeyed for the lead as they charged up the gut-busting climb. The mens’ race finish was the closest in VK race history, with Smith finishing only eleven seconds ahead of Hemming to set a new course record time of 42:25. Elliot rounded out the mens’ podium, just over a minute behind. Smith describes his race experience, “The VK was an incredibly challenging race with Eli. We went back and forth several times trying to break each other. It made the race super exciting and going back to watch it on the live stream was a neat experience. Congrats to all the Broken Arrow runners and newly minted US national team members!”
See a short video of Smith crossing the finish line on YouTube.
In the women’s’ race, defending champion, McLaughlin, gapped the field early in the race and held onto first place to set a new course record time of 48:46. Cook-Clarke and Hemming battled for the remaining podium spots, finishing only eleven seconds apart and just over two minutes behind McLaughlin. See a short video of Allie crossing the finish line on YouTube.
The top man and woman in the VK (McLaughlin and Smith) earned spots on the U.S. Team competing at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships Vertical Mountain race. The race will be held in Chiang Mai, Thailand in November 2022. Read more about how the U.S. Team is selected.
The recap of the VK live-stream presented by STRAVA is available on YouTube:
Full results of the VK can be found on athlinks.com.
In addition to the VK, a new race was added to the 2022 schedule, The Iron Face Challenge. This event was a five and a half mile mix of trail running, and extreme hiking/climbing on a roped Via Ferrata just above Olympic Valley featuring a staggered start. Participants ran to the base of the via ferrata route where they acquired mandatory gear including helmets, carabiners, and other necessary safety equipment. The top three overall finishers in the inaugural Iron Face Challenge were:
- Max King 1:01:25 (Bend, OR)
- Sage Canaday 1:08:51 (Salida, CO)
- Adrian Ballinger 1:11:15 (Tahoe City, CA)
Full Iron Face Challenge results can be found on athlinks.com.
Day one also featured several events and festivities including the following panel discussions hosted in the ski valley’s main event plaza: “How to Pace Yourself to Success” presentation and Q&A with Trails and Tarmac, “Altitude Training” presentation and Q&A with Peter Mortimer (presented by Kahtoola), and How to Run with Poles clinic with Dylan Bowman & Max King (presented by LEKI hosted at the LEKI tent. Other events included Shakeout Run/Salomon Trail Shoe Demo and Happy Hour with Max King and Dylan Bowman (presented by Garmin, Salomon & Tailwind), Pre-Race Pasta Feed at the local Fireside Pizza, and a free Trails in Motion Film Festival (presented by Victory Sport Design).
Broken Arrow Skyrace Day 2
Saturday, June 18 – Sinclair and Lichter Take Down 52K Course Records
Saturday began with the longest event of the entire weekend, the Broken Arrow 52K Skyrace. This two-loop course featured more than 10,000 feet of elevation and reached the same highpoint as the VK, Squaw Peak, at 10,000 feet. This year’s largely snow-free course, cooler temperatures and highly competitive elite fields were conducive to many fast times, including course records in both the mens’ and women’s’ races.
Prerace favorites included Brittany Charboneau (Denver, CO), Jennifer Lichter (Whitefish, MT), Lindsey Herman (Gunnison, CO), Kaytlyn Gerbin (Issaquah, WA), David Sinclair (Truckee, CA), Matt Daniels (Superior, CO), Mario Mendoza (Bend, OR), Jackson Brill (Boise, ID), Eric Lipuma (Richmond, VT), Michelino Sunseri (Driggs, ID), Ben Robinson (Tunkhannock, PA) and Joey Defeo (Flagstaff, AZ).
In the mens’ race, Sunseri and Sinclair took the first loop out quickly, gapping the rest of the field by several minutes. Daniels, Lipuma, Chris Myers (Los Angeles, CA) and Jeff Mogavero (Missoula, MT) were not far behind. Sinclair remained strong on the second loop to take the win and set a new course record of 4:22:06, while Lipuma and Mogavero made strong surges to take second and third overall.
In the women’s’ race, Lichter went out strong and was over ten minutes ahead of her next female competitor, Charboneau, after the first loop. Charboneau increased the pace on the second loop and gained time on Lichter, but not enough to take the win. Lichter won the race, setting a new course record of 4:55:29, followed by Charboneau in 5:04:40 and Georgia Porter in 5:15:25. Lindsey Herman, ninth place, finisher in the 52K shares her thoughts on the race, “The gritty course at Broken Arrow has both something to play to the strengths of and challenge every single athlete. Because of that unique aspect, and the amazing execution by race directors, the entire weekend was a race environment unlike any other. The true spirit of world class competition in trail running has been captured at the Broken Arrow Skyrace!”
The top two men and women in the 52K (Sinclair, Lipuma, Lichter and Charboneau) earned spots on the U.S. Team to compete at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships 80-Kilometer Trail race. Charboneau shares her thoughts on qualifying for the U.S. Team, “I’ve been dreaming of representing Team USA since I was a little girl, I just never knew which sport. It means everything to finally get to rock the red white and blue kit after 34 years, especially in the sport of mountain running that I love so much!”
See complete results of the 52K can be found on athlinks.com.
The 11K and Kids Race also took place on day two. The 11K course featured 2,190 feet of elevation in just over six miles, while the Kids Race was a half mile with just over 100 feet of elevation gain. These two races offered opportunities for younger runners to race, as well as for those newer to the sport to have an introduction to trail running. In the 11K, the mens’ podium was all under twenty years old and the womens’ thirty and under. Listed below is the podium for the men and women in the 11K.
- Pierce Simpkins 55:30 (Sparks, NV)
- Liam Hammons 57:02 (Salt Lake City, UT)
- Noah McMahan 57:45 (Incline Village, NV)
- Carmen Mejia 1:09:51 (San Francisco, CA)
- Sarah Ostaszewski 1:10:39 (Flagstaff, AZ)
- Lucy Baratholomew 1:11:50 (Melbourne, Australia)
Find full results of the 11K on athlinks.com.
In addition to Saturday’s races, there were also many festivities held in the Palisades Tahoe ski village. Activities included a free pancake breakfast (sponsored by Kodiak Cakes), Nutrition Panel with Rafa Nazarewicz, Sarah Keyes, Peter Mortimer, Sage Canaday, Lucy Bartholomew and Paddy O’Leary hosted by Corrine Malcolm (presented by Spring Energy and Tailwind Nutrition), Mens’ Elite Panel with Dylan Bowman, Max King, David Kilgore, Logan Williams, Stephen Kersh and Mario Mendoza, Live Podcast hosted by Dylan Bowman with guests Maggie Guterl, Seth Ruhling and Kaytlyn Gerbin (presented by Freetrail), Womens’ Elite Panel with Lauren Fleshman, Sophia Laukli, Maggie Guterl, Allie McLaughlin and Kaytlyn Gerbin, How to Trail Run workshop with Max King (presented by Salomon), live music with Tim High and The Mighty, and the “After Party” presented by local restaurants Tremigo and Auld Dubliner.
Broken Arrow Skyrace Day 3
Sunday, June 19 – Laukli Finds 26K Success On the Big Stage and Wacker Returns
The final race of the Broken Arrow Skyrace, the 26K, kicked off the action on day three. The race began at 7am under the European Arch in the Palisades Tahoe ski village and followed the same route as the 52K, but participants completed one loop instead of two.
26K race favorites included Eli Hemming (Louisville, CO), Andy Wacker (Boulder, CO), Max King (Bend, OR), Cam Smith (Crested Butte, CO), Morgan Elliot (Salida, CO), Ryan Becker (Telluride, CO), Sam Hendry (Salt Lake City, UT) Tabor Hemming (Louisville, CO), Allie McLaughlin (Colorado Springs, CO), Janelle Lincks (Thornton, CO), Ashley Brasovan (Golden, CO), Sophia Laukli (Salt Lake City, UT), Renee Metivier (Bend, OR), and Rachel Tomajczyk (Williams, AZ).
In the mens’ race, Hemming and Wacker pulled away from the field on the initial switchback climbs, with Hemming leading the charge. Upon reaching the summit, Wacker took the lead and was able to hold on to first place for the downhill to win the race in a new course record time of 1:50:11, besting his time last year by nearly three minutes. Hemming finished second in 1:51:00, putting the top two men both under the previous course record of 1:52:44. It was a tight race for third place made largely on the final downhill miles to the finish between Smith, Hendry, Elliot, King and Becker. Smith proved to be the strongest of the group on the descent and finished third (his second podium of the weekend) in 1:54:22.
In the women’s’ race, US nordic skier turned professional trail runner, Sophia Laukli, took the race out at a blistering pace and gapped the field on the initial climb. This was one of Laukli’s first opportunities to race in a competitive field of trail runners. Only McLaughlin kept Laukli in-sight on the climb, remaining thirty seconds to one minute behind. A pack of women including Lincks (course record holder), Hemming, Brasovan and Metivier followed in the lead chase pack. Laukli cruised solo into the finish, setting a new record of 2:06:18, establishing herself as not only one of the most talented nordic skiers in the U.S., but also one of the most talented trail runners. McLaughlin finished second in 2:08:22 and Brasovan ran an impressive downhill to round out the podium in 2:16:26.
Brasovan describes her first Broken Arrow Skyrace experience, “This was my first time at Broken Arrow and the race does such an amazing job putting it on! The course is incredible and it reminds me of a European race with the crowds, festivities and top level athletes. I took the race out conservatively and worked my way to the top three—was super stoked to test my fitness early in the season with great completion and excited to come back out to this event in the future!”
This race marked the first North American stop on the 2022 Salomon Golden Trail Series.
See full 26K race results on athlinks.com.
In addition to the final race of the weekend were many festivities that were held in the village. Festivities included another free pancake breakfast presented by Kodiak Cakes and Donner Party Mountain Runners, “Trail Running Illustrated: The Art of Running Free” book signing with author Doug Mayer of Run the Alps, live music with Mike Sinclair, “Feel Good Fitness: Fun Workout Challenges to Inspire Your Fitness Streak” book signing with author and Olympian, Alysia Montano, and more live music with Oldman Fuller.
The Broken Arrow Skyrace brought trail runners, fans and supporters from around the country and overseas together for an action-packed weekend of competitive races and festivities. At the American Trail Running Association, we look for to supporting runners in their journey to #RINGDASBELL in 2023!