USATF Squad Announced for the WMRA Long Distance Mountain Running Championships

USA Track & Field’s Mountain, Ultra, Trail (MUT) Executive Committee is proud to announce members of Team USATF scheduled to compete at the 16th WMRA World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships on Saturday, November 16, in Villa La Angostura, Argentina. The 2019 USATF Long Distance Mountain Running Team is a strong group of experienced athletes who will be looking to win medals.

The women’s Team USATF is comprised of mountain & trail team veterans including experienced international athlete Emily Schmitz, USATF Half Marathon Trail Champion Ashley Brasovan, and USATF 50K Trail Champion Dani Moreno who will be joined by newcomer Rachel Drake. Rachel won the 2018 USATF Trail Marathon Championship. The final spot on the team will be filled by 2011 World Mountain Running Champion Kasie Enman. Kasie finished 2nd at the recent USATF Mountain Running Championships and will also compete in the short distance World Mountain Running Championships.

All of the men on Team USATF have international experience and include 2016 World Mountain Running Champion Joseph Gray, Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run course record holder Jim Walmsley, 2017 USATF Trail Marathon Champion Mario Mendoza, 2017 UTMB CCC winner Hayden Hawks and Sam Sahli who is currently ranked 8th in the WMRA Mountain Running World Cup.

Meet the Team:

 

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Mario Mendoza, 33, Bend, OR. Mario has been on multiple world championship teams in both mountain and trail running. He was the top U.S. finisher at the 2018 Trail World Championships were he finished 6th. In 2018 he also won national championships in the 100 km trail and marathon trail. More recently, Mario won the White River 50 Mile and Central Oregon classic Peterson Ridge Rumble 40 Mile. Mario is sponsored by Brooks, Drymax, Flora and Honey Stinger. Follow Mario on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/mendozarunner/

 

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Joseph Gray, 35, Colorado Springs, CO. In addition to his 2016 World Championship, Joe won the 2019 Pikes Peak Ascent, set a course record at the 2019 Barr Trail Mountain Race and won a bronze medal at last years World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships. “I’m excited to represent my country once again and even better, we will get the opportunity to compete in a country I’ve never raced in before.” Joe is sponsored by Hoka ONE ONE, Astavita, Amp Human, Fuel 100 Electrobites, Cafe Red Point, Club Northwest. Follow him on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/joegeezi/

 

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Hayden Hawks, 28, Cedar City, UT. Along with teammate Joe Gray, Hayden was a member of the gold medal winning U.S. men’s team at the 2016 World Mountain Running Championships in Bulgaria. Since then, Hayden has torn up the trails in longer distance events with 2019 wins at the Broken Arrow 52K, UTGK (China) 80K, Chuckanut 50K and Artenara 30K (Spain). “Going to Patagonia has always been a dream of mine. To be able to go there and represent Team USATF at the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships is more than I could ever expect! I am so grateful to represent my country at this event and will train hard and give it my all so we can win the team and individual gold medals! The course looks amazing and I can’t wait for all the incredible fans, culture, mountains, and food in Argentina!” Hayden is sponsored by Altra, Nathan, Coros, Unived, and Revant Optics. Follow him on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/hawks_hayden11/

 

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Jim Walmsley, 29, Flagstaff, AZ. Jim stormed onto the U.S. trail running scene with a dominant win at the 2016 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile where he still holds the course record. More recently Jim was the top American finisher coming home in 3rd place at the hyper-competitive Sierre-Zinal race in Switzerland. His Western States comeback story is legendary – third time is a charm. “I’m very excited for the opportunity to race in my first World Mountain Running Championship alongside some other incredible athletes on this team.” Jim is sponsored by Hoka One One. Follow him on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/walmsleyruns/

 

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Sam Sahli, 24, Boulder, CO. An experienced ski mountaineering athlete who has crossed over to mountain and trail racing, Sam won the 2019 USATF 50K Trail Championship and represented the U.S. at the Trail World Championships in Portugal. Since then Sam has fallen hard for European races having competed in Sierre-Zinal (Switzerland), the Grossglocknerlauf (Austria) and the Snowdon Race (Wales). “After a tough race earlier this year at the Trail World Championships I’m thrilled to make this US team and have another opportunity to test myself against the best mountain runners in the World. Putting on a USA jersey was amazing the first time, and I can’t wait to do it again with this team of big-time American mountain runners. I will do everything in my ability to help the team earn a spot on the podium and have fun along the way. It’s going to be wild ride down in Argentina!” Sam is sponsored by RaidLight and Honey Stinger. Follow him on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/sam_sahli/

 

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Emily Schmitz, 37, Wauwatosa, WI. Emily has deep experience racing outside the United States having finished 1st at the 2019 Skymarathon Sentiero (21km), 9th at the 2019 Dolomyths Skyrace (21km) and 16th at the hyper-competitve 2019 Mont Blanc Marathon (42km). She has also raced in previous editions of the Salomon K42 – host of this years world championship. “Being able to represent the US is an incredible honor and I am excited to be able to return to Villa la Angostura, it is a beautiful and challenging course!” Emily is sponsored by Honey Stinger and Nuun. Follow her on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/run.lupe.run/

 

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Ashley Brasovan, 28, Westminster, CO. Ashley made her trail racing debut by winning the 2017 USATF Half Marathon Trail Championships. After that fast start, Ashley finished 8th at the 2018 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships in Poland, won the 2019 Behind the Rocks Ultra 30K and ran 2:40:19 at the California International Marathon (CIM). “After an 8th place finish at last year’s world championship, I am excited to try to vie for a podium spot this year and a team medal with the super talented group of ladies coming out!” Ashley is sponsored by Hoka One One, Runners High Herbals, Leki USA, Nuun and Honey Stinger. Follow her on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/ashley_brasovan/

 

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Rachel Drake, 28, Portland, OR. Rachel won the 2018 USATF Trail Marathon Championship in Moab, Utah; took another win at the 2019 Peterson Ridge Rumble and finished 2nd at the 2019 USATF 50K Trail Championships in Auburn, CA. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to storm the mountains of Argentina with so many strong women!” Rachel is sponsored by Nike Trail. Follow her on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/rachelraedrake/

 

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Dani Moreno, 27, Santa Barbara, CA. Dani is a veteran of the 2017 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships and 2019 Trail World Championships. She won the 2019 USATF 50K Trail Championships and the 2018 XTERRA Trail World Championships in Hawaii. “Each time I get the opportunity to put on the USA jersey, I feel honored and humbled. I am sure former team USA members can agree that you can’t replace the feeling you get when you represent your country in a global competition. Our team is strong, and I can’t wait to get “sendy” with our squad. Go team USATF!” Dani is sponsored by HOKA ONE ONE and rabbit. Follow her on  Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/dan_yell_a/

Kasie finishing 2nd at the 2019 USATF Mountain Running Championships.

Kasie Enman, 40, Huntington, VT. Kasie is a veteran of several world championship events in mountain and trail running. She won the 2011 World Mountain Running Championships, finished 2nd at the 2017 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships and was the top U.S. finisher at the 2019 Trail World Championships. You can follow Kasie on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/kasieenman

US Team Leader Jason Bryant at the 2019 Trail World Championships in Portugal.

U.S. Long Distance Mountain Running Team staff members will be Jason Bryant (Team Leader) and Richard Bolt (Assistant Team Leader). Jason is an avid mountain/trail runner, member of the USATF Mountain/Ultra/Trail Council and has been a team leader for previous IAU Trail and WMRA Long Distance events. Richard raced in three 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. Jason and Richard will be posting team updates from Argentina on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/usmrt

In the 35 year history of the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA), this will be the first mountain running world championship event to take place in South America. In another first, the World Mountain Running Association’s (short distance) World Mountain Running Championships and the World Long Distance Mountain Championships will take place on the same weekend. The 14km short distance “classic” race will take place on Friday, November 15, while the 42 km long distance event will be held on Saturday, November 16.

The championships are hosted by the K42 Adventure Marathon which began in 2003, and features a technical course to challenge runners. The long distance championship course has over 7000’ of climbing and descending in its 42 kilometers.

Joe Gray at last years championships with individual bronze and team silver medals.

This is the 16th year for the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championship and the fifth year the event has been designated a “world championship” by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), and the fifth year the US American team will receive funding from USA Track & Field.

A US team first took part in the Long Distance Mountain Running event in 2010. US women’s teams have won gold in 2010, 2012, and 2014; silver in 2017; and bronze in 2015. The US men’s teams have won gold in 2010 and 2014; and silver in 2012, 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Due to administrative and world championship entry form processing limitations, no team member substitutions can be made after October 21.

Athletes representing the United States in the “short-distance” World Mountain Running Championship will be selected on September 29, in Waterville Valley, NH at the USATF Mountain Running Championships. The top four men and top four women will be automatically be selected to Team USATF and join the long distance team in Argentina.

[Editors Notes: Tara Richardson withdrew from the team on September 18 due to injury. Stevie Kremer withdrew from the team due to a scheduling conflict on October 1. Emily Schmitz will fill the spot vacated by Tara. Kasie Enman will fill the spot vacated by Stevie. Andy Wacker who qualified for the short & long distance world championships withdrew from the long distance team on October 1 to focus on the short distance world championships race. Andy was replaced on the long distance team by Mario Mendoza.]

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