Thirty-seven of the top off-road runners in the United States recently named to the 2022 U.S. Mountain & Trail Running Team are scheduled to compete at the inaugural World Mountain & Trail Running Championships November 4-6 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Hailing from twelve U.S. states, these talented athletes will travel to Thailand with five USA Trail & Field (USATF) team staff members for this World Athletics sanctioned competition.
More than 500 elite athletes from 46 Member Federations are set to race during the four-day festival, which features 80km and 40km trail races plus uphill mountain races for senior athletes, and classic up and down mountain races for both senior and U20 (under 20 years old) athletes. $33,000 in prize money is up for grabs in the mountain races.
The classic mountain race takes place Sunday, November 6 and is 10.7 km with 475 meters of elevation gain & loss. The vertical mountain race will be on Friday, November 4 and is 8.5 km with 1065 meters of elevation gain.
Classic Up/Down Mountain Race
Morgan Elliot, 30, qualified for team with a third place finish at the 2022 Whiteface Mountain Races. Elliot is based in Salida, CO and sponsored by TheFeed. He expresses his gratitude for having the opportunity to represent his country overseas for the first time, “My first US Team brings me so much confidence and faith in my abilities as a mountain athlete. I am thankful to have this opportunity to represent the US trail mountain running community. I have received so much support and love throughout my running career, it’s exciting to have a world platform to express my gratitude.”
Joseph Gray, 38, is a two-time World Mountain Running Champion and World Mountain Running Association’s “Greatest of All-Time”. Gray is sponsored by Hoka One One, Tanri, Foxriver, Casio, Go Sleeves, Never Second, Momentous, Kriva and CBDA, and lives and trains in Colorado Springs, CO. He shares what it means to represent his country another time, “Really thankful to be representing the Red, White and Blue once again and excited to explore and add a new country to my checklist around the globe!”
Follow him on Intragram at @joegeezi.
Andy Wacker, 34, is a many time Team USA veteran and professional runner sponsored by Salomon, Suunto, Darn Tough, Ciele, based in Boulder, CO. He is also the 2022 US Mountain Running Champion and 2022 Broken Arrow 26K Champion. Wacker is excited for the strength of the US team gearing up for Thailand, “It has been a long three years since the last Mountain Running World Championships in 2019. I was lucky to be part of the USA team that placed second, led by Joe Gray’s first place finish in Argentina. But, it will be worth the wait as the USA brings an incredibly strong men and women’s team to Thailand! This year, I am excited not only to race the classic mountain race, but also watch my Team USA in the three other races: Vertical, 40k, 80k and junior races!”
Follow him on Instagram at @wackera.
Mason Coppi, 24, qualified for the team by placing fourth at the 2022 Whiteface Mountain Race. He is based in Ladera Ranch, CA and sponsored by rabbit apparel. Coppi shares his excitement for qualifying for his first US team, “I am beyond stoked to be representing team USA in my first ever world mountain running championships. I am looking forward to seeing new places, meeting awesome people, and of course grooving up and down some mountains!”
Follow him on Instagram at @mcoppi44.
Rachel Tomajczyk, 29, is a professional runner from Williams, AZ, sponsored by Merrell. Tomajczyk is a six time All-American and qualified for the team by placing second at the 2022 US Mountain Running Championships. She’s excited to race amongst strong international competition and aims to help the team secure a podium position, “I’m very excited to represent the US in Thailand. I’ve dreamed of being on a USA world team since I was a kid so this really is a dream come true. It’s so special to be able to represent your country on an international level. We have a great team and I can’t wait to work together with these ladies and fight for a team podium spot on Friday and Sunday!”
Follow her Instagram at @rachrunsworld.
Samantha Lewis is a twenty-eight year old professional runner sponsored by On Running and Nuun, based in Moscow, ID. Lewis qualified for the team by placing fifth at the 2022 US Mountain Championships. She shares her thoughts gearing up for the race, “I am incredibly honored to be competing at the 2022 World Mountain and Trail Running Championships. Even though I have repped Team USA in the past, putting on the Team USA kit is special and I cannot wait to dance in Chiang Mai’s mountains!”
Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @samkeliiahonui.
Corey Dowe, 29, qualified for the team by placing fourth at the 2022 Whiteface Mountain Race and has also won several East Coast mountain running races including the Waterville Valley Mountain Race and the Cranmore Mountain Race. Dowe expresses what it means to be selected for Team USA for the first time, “I am looking forward to the experience of traveling to the complete opposite side of the world to compete with such a large group of talented runners. I was born on Flag Day, so I am pumped to represent the red, white, and blue and experience the culture and people of Thailand! This is my first time being selected for the team, and is something that I have been working towards for a few years now, so it is exciting for it to come together.”
Follow her on Instagram at @co.dowe.
Allie McLaughlin, 31, is professional runner for On Running based in Colorado Springs, CO. McLaughlin qualified for the team by winning the 2022 Broken Arrow VK and also set a course record at Mount Marathon in Seward, AK this summer. McLaughlin expresses her excitement for being a part of the team, “I am really looking forward to wearing the US jersey and competing in the VK with such strong teammates – Lauren Gregory and Grayson Murphy. I think we have potential to do extremely well all together. I am also stoked to only run the VK and leave it all out there and party in Thailand the rest of the time.”
Follow her on Instagram @alliemc3.
Vertical Mountain Race
Joseph Gray, Allie McLaughlin and Rachel Tomajczyk are also racing in the vertical mountain race.
Lauren Gregory, 23, is an All-American runner for the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville, AR) and 2022 US Vertical Mountain Championship at Loon Mountain. Gregory expresses what it means to her to qualify for the first ever Mountain Vertical championships, “I’m looking forward to surrounding myself with some of the best in this sport, both on our team and others in the race. I love witnessing what a group of people can push each other to do mentally and physically in the sport. It is an honor to be a member of this incredible team of runners and competitors. I feel like I’m in the presence of greatness and that is such a humbling and invigorating feeling especially when united wearing the US uniform.”
Follow her on Instagram at @lgeeeeezy.
Cameron Smith, 27, is an eleven-time U.S. Skimo National Champion and recent champion of the 2022 Broken Arrow VK and 2022 Run the Rut 28K, based in Crested Butte, CO. Smith shares his thoughts on competing internationally for Team USA, “It will be an honor to be part of Team USA for the gathering of runners from around the world in Thailand. International competition is a beautiful thing and I hope to help our country take home some medals! We have a great team packed with top level athletes and high character people, which I think will lead us to a great World Championships.”
Follow him on Instagram @camfromcb.
Daniel Curts finished 2nd at the USATF Vertical Mountain Running Championships at Loon Mountain this past Summer. Curts also took 6th place at the 2022 Trofeo Nasego Mountain Running World Cup race in Italy. Dan also has a 3:59.2 mile personal best, 13:38 5000m personal best and is a Division 1 All-American on the track. Curts lives and trains in Norwich, Vermont. “I’m really looking forward to learning the sport more by coming and competing here. I view this as a great learning experience in how to race in the mountains. Definitely never thought I’d come to Asia so this whole trip is about new experiences.”
U20 Mountain Race
Seven young runners will compete for Team USA in the U20 up/down mountain running race on Sunday, November 6 which is 6 km long with 228 meters of elevation gain and loss. They are Samantha Blair (Eagle, CO), Oakley Olson (Mountain Green, UT), Willow Lott (Durango, CO), Christian Groendyk (Fort Collins, CO), Ignatius Fitzgerald (Missoula, MT), Michael Maiorano (Medford, OR) and Dalton Kaines (Fort Collins, CO).
Check out our feature about the eighteen U.S. athletes competing in the 40K and 80K trail races at: https://trailrunner.com/trail-news/us-trail-team-gears-up-for-world-championships-in-thailand/