Founded in 2006 as a qualifier for the U.S. Mountain Running Team, the Loon Mountain Race will once again play host to the top American uphill runners at the inaugural USATF Vertical Mountain Running Championships this Sunday, July 10, in Lincoln, New Hampshire. This new national championship format was created in response to the addition of a short, uphill-only mountain race at the first-ever World Mountain & Trail Running Championship in Chiang Mai, Thailand in November.
In addition to national championship titles, the 2022 Loon Mountain Race winners will earn automatic spots on the World Championship team. The top two finishers will earn spots on the U.S. team scheduled to compete at the Challenge Stellina race in Susa, Italy on August 28.
Top athletes scheduled to compete at Loon include Andy Wacker (Boulder, CO), fresh off his first-ever USATF Mountain Running Championship title at last weekend’s Whiteface Mountain Race in New York State. Looking for a rematch with Andy, other top Whiteface finishers racing Loon include Mason Coppi (4th), Stephen Kerr (7th) and Lee Berube (8th). They will all have to contend with 2-time World Mountain Running Champion Joseph Gray who is undefeated at the Loon Mountain Race.
At the women’s Whiteface race, Rachel Tomajczyk (Williams, AZ) finished 2nd and will be looking for her first national championship win at Loon. She will be chased by several other strong women looking for a rematch after Whiteface including Corey Dowe (4th), Caitlin Patterson (6th), Megan Lacy (7th) and Emily Stitt (8th).
Upper Walking Boss – there is no safe word
At 6 miles in length, the Loon Mountain Race course may be short, but it makes up for it with over 3000 feet of vertical climbing including the infamous Upper Walking Boss (UWB); a kilometer long black diamond grass ski slope with grades up to 40%. Thanks to a generous donation from Northeast Delta Dental, $1500 in prize money will be awarded to the fastest 3 men and women up UWB. This will be in addition to another $1600 in overall and $1000 in USATF-New England prize money.
Named America’s “Most Competitive Hillclimb” by Runner’s World magazine, the Loon Mountain Race has been run by national champions, world champions and Olympians from the sports of trail running, mountain running, Nordic skiing, obstacle course racing and biathlon.
Olympians who have raced Loon Mountain include Magdalena Boulet (Marathon), Nuta Olaru (Marathon – Romanian Olympic Team), Sean Doherty (Biathlon), Jake Brown (Biathlon), Caitlin Patterson (Nordic Skiing), Carl Swenson (Nordic Skiing), Morgan Arritola (Nordic Skiing), Dorcas Wonsavage (Nordic Skiing), Noah Hoffman (Nordic Skiing), Justin Freeman (Nordic Skiing), Kris Freeman (Nordic Skiing), Cathy O’Brien (Marathon) and Johanna Taliherm (Biathlon – Estonia Olympic Team).
Women’s Race (7:30 AM start)
In addition to several top-10 finishers from the Whiteface Mountain Race, the women’s field for Loon is packed with talented mountain running veterans and newcomers looking to make their mark. These include:
- Rachel Tomajczyk (Williams, AZ) – Rachel was the 2021 USATF Half Marathon Trail Champion, 2021 US Mountain Running Team Member, 2nd place at the 2021 USATF Mountain Running Championships and 2nd at last weekend’s USATF Mountain Running Championships / Whiteface Mountain Race.
- Megan Lacy (Boise, ID) – Megan was a member of 2021 US Mountain Running Team and finished 7th last week at Whiteface Mountain.
- Caitlin Patterson (Portland, ME), Caitlin is a 2-time U.S. Winter Olympian in Nordic Skiing and was a member of the gold medal winning U.S. women’s team at the 2017 World Mountain Running Championships.
- Bethany Sachtleben (Burke, VA) – Bethany was a member of the gold medal winning U.S. women’s team at the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships. She was a U.S. team member at the 2019 Pan Am Games Marathon where she won the silver medal. She finished 16th at last weekend’s Whiteface race.
- Lauren Gregory (Fayetteville, AR) – Lauren won the bronze medal in U20 race at the 2017 World Mountain Running Championships. She has a college best time of 15:48.38 for 5000 meters outdoor. She was the NCAA silver medalist in 3,000m indoor (9:01.67) earned first-team All-America honors.
- Lila Gaudrault (Cape Elizabeth, ME) – Lisa is a 2-time winner of the Big A 50K race in Maine and a top 3 finisher at the 2021 Loon Mountain Race.
- Corey Dowe (North Conway, NH) – Corey won the 2021 Cranmore Hill Climb and 2021 Waterville Valley Mountain Race. She finished 4th at last weekend’s Whiteface Mountain Race.
- Amber Ferreira (Concord, NH) – Amber was 2nd at the 2022 Mount Washington Road Race. She is an elite runner and professional triathlete who has competed previously at Loon.
- Emily Stitt (Jericho, VT) – Emily is a Middlebury College alumna and nordic skier who won Vermont’s prestigious Craftsbury Ski Marathon in 2017.
- Michelle Merlis (Albany NY) – Michelle earned a spot on the 2022 USATF 80K Trail Running Team based on her victory at the Breakneck Point Trail Marathon. She finished 15th at last weekend’s Whiteface Mountain Race.
- Kassandra Marin (Merrimack, NH) – Kassandra is a top New England mountain and ultra runner and veteran of several USATF mountain and trail running national championships.
- Rose Conway (Anchorage, AK) – 14 year old Rose just won the Mount Marathon junior race in Seward, Alaska.
Men’s Race (8:00 AM start)
The clear favorite for winning Loon has got to be two-time World Mountain Running Champion Joseph Gray (Colorado Springs, CO). Joseph has won multiple national championships, been on multiple world championship teams and recently won the 7.6-mile Mount Washington Road Race (up the auto-road) and inaugural 2.8-mile Race the Cog (up the cog railway on the other side of the mountain). Nipping at Joseph’s heels will be:
- Andy Wacker (Boulder, CO) – Andy is a 7-time US Mountain Running Team Member, past winner of the USATF Half Marathon Championships and helped the U.S. men’s team win a gold medal at the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships. Last weekend he won his first USATF Mountain Running Championships at Whiteface.
- Mason Coppi (Ladera Ranch, CA) – Mason was 2nd at the 2021 Barr Trail Mountain Race, has a 4:07 mile PR and finished 4th at last weekend’s Whiteface Mountain Race.
- Edward Owens (San Francisco, CA) – Edward was a member of the 2021 U.S. Mountain Running Team and won the famous Dipsea Race earlier this year.
- Joseph DeMoor (Carbondale, CO) – Joseph was a member of the 2021 U.S. Mountain Running Team. He was running in the top 3 at Whiteface last weekend before having to DNF in the final several hundred meters. He will be looking for redemption at his first ever Loon Mountain Race.
- Eric Blake (West Hartford, CT) – Eric is a 7-time US Mountain Running Team Member (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 & 2014), 4-time Mt. Washington Road Race champion (2006, 2008, 2013, 2019) and past winner of the Loon Mountain Race. Eric won the Whiteface Mountain VK last weekend. Eric helped the U.S. men’s team to a bronze medal at the 2008 World Mountain Running Championships and a team silver medal at the 2010 World Mountain Running Championships.
- Lee Berube (Syracuse, NY) – Lee finished top 3 at the Mount Washington Road Race on multiple occasions. He won the 2019 Loon Mountain Race, finished 5th at the 2018 USATF Mountain Running Championships and was 9th at last weekend’s Whiteface Mountain Race.
- Mike Popejoy (Flagstaff, AZ) – Mike is a VK specialist and veteran of the World Skyrunning Championships. He is a 2-time member of the US Mountain Running Team for the NACAC Mountain Running Championships.
- Jacob Dewey (Gunnison, CO) – Jacob is a U.S. Skimo Team Member and winner of the 2021 Barr Trail Mountain Race in Colorado.
- Stephen Kerr (Greenfield, MA) – Stephen finished 7th at last weekend’s Whiteface Mountain Race.
- Bijan Mazaheri (Glendale, CA) Bijan finished top 10 at the 2022 Broken Arrow VK and 26K races. He is a 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon finisher and the 2021 USATF 50K Road Champion.
- Everett Hackett (Hartford, CT) – Everett finished 2nd at the 2022 Mount Washington Road Race behind Joseph Gray and was 2nd (again behind Joseph) at the Race the Cog a week later. He is an elite marathoner making the transition to mountains and trails.
- Jesse Young (Rochester, NH) – Jesse won the recent 2022 USATF New England Trail Running Championships.
- Adam Pacheck (Syracuse, NY) – Adam finished 15th at 2021 USATF Mountain Running Championships in Oregon.
- Matthew Bomkamp (Land-O-Lakes, FL) – Matthew is new to Loon mountain a graduate of the University of Florida with a cross country PR of 15:56.
- Jared Burdick (Fayetteville, NY) Jared stood on the podium at the 2016 USATF 50 Mile Trail Championship, won the 2016 USATF 50K Road Championships in Caumsett, NY and finished 5th at the 2016 JFK 50 Mile.
- Garrett Heath (Seattle, WA) Garrett is a 3-time winner of the Great Edinburgh International Cross Country race in Scotland, defeating Olympian Mo Farah.
- Kevin Tilton (Conway, NH) – Kevin was a member of the 2005 US Mountain Running Team and holds the fasted combined time for the two times the Mount Washington Road Race was shortened to half way (2002 and 2022).
- Jake Brown (Saint Paul, MN) – Jake was a member of the 2022 U.S. Winter Olympic Team in biathlon. He finished 6th at the 2018 Loon Mountain Race.
- Sean Doherty (Center Conway, NH) – Sean was a member of the U.S. Winter Olympic Team in 2014, 2018 and 2022 for biathlon. He finished 4th at the 2021 Loon Mountain Race.
- Josh Ferenc (Athens, VT) – Josh is a former winner of the Loon Mountain Race, US Mountain Running Team member and winner of the Crossan Cup (Top NH finisher) at the Mount Washington Road Race.
- Dave Dunham (Bradford, MA) – Dave won the silver medal at the 1993 World Mountain Running Championships in Gap, France. Dave has won numerous New England mountain races over his more than 4 decades of racing including at Mt. Washington, Mt Wachusett, Mt Ascutney and Mt Kearsarge to name just a few. Dave was a member of several US Mountain Running Teams, the US 100K Team and founded the USATF New England Mountain Running Circuit in 1995.
The Loon Mountain Race has served as a USATF National Championship and qualifier for the US Mountain Running Team in 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2018. In 2018 it also served as the NACAC Mountain Running Championships and included teams from the US, Mexico and Canada.
How to Watch
Follow live updates from the race on the @usatf_mut Twitter account. You can also watch the livestream produced by The Trails Collective (embbed below) for YouTube.
In case you missed it; read our post race recap of last weekend’s Whiteface Mountain Race / USATF Mountain Running Championships.
You can find the Loon Mountain Race course and profile on Strava at this link.