The USATF Mountain, Ultra, Trail Council is proud to announce members of the U.S. Trail Team scheduled to compete at the 2018 Trail World Championships May 12, in Penyagolosa/Castellon, Spain. The US team of 6 women and 6 men will tackle the technical 85 kilometer (50 mile) point-to-point course which goes from sea level in the city of Castellón to Sant Joan de Penyagolosa mountain. Climbing to a maximum height of 1500 meters above sea level, the predominantly uphill course has 4900 meters of ascending and 3700 meters of descending. A profile & map for the race course can be found here. The top three US finishers will score for the team in each gender division.
This year marks the fourth year the event has been designated a “world championship” by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and the third year the American team will receive funding from USA Track & Field. The American men’s team finished 2nd at the 2015 Trail World Championship lead by Alex Nichols’ 6th place. After a medal drought in 2016, the American men made it back to the podium with a bronze medal at the 2017 Trail World Championship lead by Mario Mendoza’s 9th place. A hungry & talented women’s team is looking for their first team podium and individual top 10 finish at the 2018 Trail World Championships.
This year’s 12 team members come from nine states and range in age from 26 to 35. The women on this years team will be Danielle Filipek, Clare Gallagher, Sabrina Little, Kaytlyn Gerbin, Amy Leedham and Sarah Pizzo. Representing the men’s team will be Chris Raulli, Olin Berger, Tim Freriks, Zach Miller, Mario Mendoza and Tim Tollefson.
The 2018 U.S. Trail Team are:
Olin Berger, 32, Seattle, WA. Olin qualified for the team by winning the 2017 White River 50 Mile in the shadow of Mt. Rainier in Washington State. “I am thrilled at the chance to represent our country at an international competition and be part of a team that includes exceptional running talents and myself, who will mainly look great in the uniform. I look forward to testing myself on a beautiful course, helping out the team, and am very excited to see who amongst our squad can handle the most post-race churros.”
Tim Freriks, 27, Flagstaff, AZ. Tim qualified for the team by winning the 2017 North Face 50 Mile Endurance Championship in the Marin Headlands of Northern California. “I couldn’t be more excited to be racing the IAU world trail championships. Surpassing any of my individual goals, I know that we are putting together one of our strongest teams and hope to contend for the team title in Spain this year.”
Mario Mendoza, 32, Bend, OR. Mario was the top American finisher at the 2017 IAU Trail Championships finishing 9th and leading the men’s team to a bronze medal. He also won the 2017 USATF Trail Marathon Championship in Moab, Utah and the 2018 USATF 100 km Trail Championship in Bandera, Texas. “Last year the IAU Trail World Championships were a highlight of my running career. To see both of my goals of getting the team on the podium and placing top 10 was a dream come true for me. But it’s definitely time to dream bigger. I want to do my best to help the team bring home a gold medal.”
Zach Miller, 29, Manitou Springs, CO. Zach qualified for the team by finishing 2nd at the 2017 North Face 50 Mile Endurance Championship. Zach also represented Team USATF at the 2014 World Mountain Running Championships in Casette di Massa, Italy. “I think representing one’s country is one of the greatest honors an athlete can have. I feel so blessed to represent the US of A in a sport that I love so much. Repping those three letters brings a bit more excitement, a bit more intensity, and whole lot of stoke. Someone go pinch ten year old me!”
Chris Raulli, 29, Manlius, NY. Chris qualified for the team by winning the 2017 USATF 50 Mile Trail Championships held in conjunction with the Cayuga Trails 50 Mile in Ithaca, New York. Showing his speed and versatility Chris recently finished 2nd at the USATF 50 km Road Championships at Caumsett State Park in New York. “To represent Team USA is a dream for me. This isn’t just my first World Championship, it’s my first every international race. My parents, wife and siblings are my biggest inspirations and supporters, many of whom will be at the race, so my foremost goal is to make them proud and show them I left everything out there. My race strategy will be as it always has been, ‘Respect everyone but fear no one’. Over 85 kilometers of brutal terrain it can be any man’s day, so I hope to compete with the best and not limit my expectations based on the field’s prior accolades. It’s going to be an honor representing this great country and on May 12th I’m going to be ready to send ‘em!”
Tim Tollefson, 33, Mammoth Lakes, CA. Tim was a member of the 2015 U.S. Trail Team that competed in the inaugural “championship” version of the IAU Trail event in Annecy, France. Tim also finished 3rd at the 2017 Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) and won the 2017 Ultra-Trail Australia 100K. “It is a great honor to be selected for this year’s team amongst the other incredible American athletes. With the men and women assembled, something very special could occur in Spain.”
Dani Filipek, 26, Rochester Hills, MI. Dani earned her spot on Team USATF by winning the 2017 USATF 50 Mile Trail Championships held in conjunction with the Cayuga Trails 50 Mile in Ithaca, New York. “I am so elated and blessed for this opportunity to represent Team USA on my first Trail Team appearance! There is no greater honor than to represent your country and compete at the highest level as an athlete. I cannot thank you enough to my family, friends, running community, Brooks Running, sponsors, and SWAP Coach David! I can’t wait to meet my teammates and continue to train hard here in (not-so-sunny, Michigan).”
Clare Gallagher, 26, Englewood, CO. Clare qualified for the team by winning the 2017 North Face 50 Mile Endurance Championship held just North of San Francisco. “2018 in Penyagolosa, Spain will be my first time at a World Championships donning the red, white, and blue. I’m honored and psyched. I’m also eager to see how the early-season timing of this race affects the field. Vamanos!”
Kaytlyn Gerbin, 28, Issaquah, WA. Kaytlyn finished 4th at the 2017 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run and took home victories at the 2017 Needles 50K and 2017 Cascade Crest 100 mile. “I’m honored to be representing the United States in the IAU Trail Championships in Penyagalosa, Spain this year! The course looks stunning and challenging with a lot of ascent, which I’m looking forward to. I’m thrilled to toe the starting line alongside my USA teammates, and to compete against some of the best mountain runners in the world.”
Amy Leedham, 33, Larkspur, CA. Amy finished 2nd at the 2017 Flagstaff Skyrace 55K in Arizona and 7th at the 2017 Broken Arrow 55K Skyrace in Squaw Valley, California. “I am honored and so excited that I have the opportunity to represent my country in international competition. I am looking forward to the team aspect of this event and can’t wait to run in a new destination.”
Sabrina Little, 31, Robinson, TX. Sabrina won the recent USATF 100 Mile Trail Championships in her home state of Texas and finished 2nd at the 2017 USATF 50 Mile Trail Championships at Cayuga Trails in Ithaca, New York. Filling every step of the podium and showing her versatility, Sabrina finished 3rd at the 2017 JFK 50 Mile. “I am thrilled and very grateful to represent Team USA at another World Championship. Wearing the USA kit is a profound honor, and I’m so excited for the chance to compete among some of the best trail runners in the world. I won’t take this opportunity for granted.”
Sarah Pizzo, 35, Lakewood, CO. Sarah won the 2017 Backcountry Rise 50K and finished 3rd at the 2017 Moab Red Hot 55K. “I’m thrilled and honored to be selected to represent the U.S. at the IAU Trail World championships. This fulfills my lifelong dream of competing for my country on the world stage. I look forward to competing alongside the world’s best trail runners on a beautiful and challenging course.”
These athletes were selected to the team based on performances at selection races at the 2017 USATF 50 Mile Trail Championships at Cayuga Trails, the 2017 White River 50 Mile and 2017 North Face 50 Mile, as well as resume submissions as outlined in the published selection criteria. Over 20 talented trail runners submitted resumes for this years team.
U.S. Trail Team staff members will be Richard Bolt and Anita Ortiz. Anita is an experienced mountain/trail runner living in Colorado and member of several national teams in mountain & trail running. Richard raced in three U.S. Olympic Trials in cross country skiing, is a two-time athlete on the US Mountain Running Team and has been a team staff member at 20 World Championship events. Richard and Anita will be posting team updates from Spain on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/USAultrarunning
The following athletes earned automatic selection based on performances in selection races but declined their spots: Megan Kimmel (2nd place – North Face 50 Mile) and Christine Mosley (1st place – White River 50 Mile).
The 2016 Trail World Championship was held on October 29, 2016 in Geres, Portugal at the Peneda-Geres National Park and covered 85 km over a profile of 4500 meters. Find photos of Team USATF at the 2016 event here.
The first Trail World Championship was held in Annecy, France, at the Maxi-Race on May 30, 2015. Find photos of Team USATF at the 2015 event here.