La Sportiva Mountain Cup Giveaway & Analysis through 8 of 10 Races

La Sportiva Mountain CupWith the La Sportiva Mountain Cup entering its penultimate weekend and its final eight days, both the competitors and iRunFar readers have their eyes on the prize. Mountain Cup participants have a shot to take home a part of $25,000 in prize money. With eight of ten races in the books, it’s time to take a final look at how the competition is shaping up. But first, for those of you not in the hunt for the money, you can still take home one of four pairs of La Sportiva shoes and the grand prize in the iRunFar.com La Sportiva Mountain Cup Contest.

iRunFar.com La Sportiva Mountain Cup Contest!
La Sportiva shoesAs we’ve noted from the outset of our La Sportiva Mountain Cup coverage, one lucky iRunFar reader will take home the grand prize… we just hadn’t announced what that grand prize would be until now. The grand prize winner of the iRunFar.com La Sportiva Mountain Cup contest will take home the following:

  • 1 pair of La Sportiva Wildcats
  • 1 pair of La Sportiva Crosslites (iRF Crosslite review)
  • 1 pair of La Sportiva Fireblades (iRF Fireblade review)
  • A free entry into his or her choice of a 2010 La Sportiva Mountain Cup event
  • A La Sportiva schwag pack likely to include a technical t-shirt, a visor, and whatever else the good folks at La Sportiva feel like throwing in

We’ll pull the winner on August 31, a week after we post our report of the final Mountain Cup race, the Shop to the Top in Ketchum, Idaho. All you need to do to be eligible for the grand prize is to enter one of the shoe giveaway contests associated with each LSMC race report. Currently, there’s one La Sportiva shoe drawing – for the Half Wit Half Marathon – and there will be another one for Shop to the Top race report.

Comments on this post will NOT enter you in the drawing for the grand prize!

La Sportiva Mountain Cup Analysis (after 8 of 10 races)
Before going into what the series holds in store going forward, we’ll update you on what’s happened in the Mountain Cup standings since our previous analysis after six races. Four runners remain the same the open men’s and women’s top five. In the women’s field, Rachel Cieslewizc has bumped Keri Nelson, while Bernie Boettcher has joined the men’s top five to Simon Gutierrez’s detriment. That also means Bernie’s took over the top men’s masters spot. Lisa Goldsmith remains the top master’s women despite not racing the past two weeks. Ok, now on to the meaty (or tofuy, if you prefer) goodness. If you like, skip to the open women, masters women, open men, and masters men field analysis.

Open Women
Caitlin Smith Mount Diablo 25kWith her weekend double of Jupiter Peak (second) and Haulin’ Aspen (first) Caitlin Smith (98 pts) usurped Megan Kimmel (91 pts) as the women’s leader despite Megan’s win at Jupiter Peak! This does not mean, however, that Caitlin (pictured right) is in control of the cup. Caitlin has already raced five races (only a runner’s top five races count) and is unlikely to run any more (she’s running the TransRockies Run starting on August 23). On the other hand, Megan has run only four races and even a decent showing at one of the final two series races would put her in the lead.

Third place woman, Brandy Erholtz (50 pts) would need to run both of the final two races to catch either Caitlin or Megan. However, the next three ladies – Lisa Goldsmith (43 pts), Rachel Cieslewicz (43 pts), and Keri Nelson (32 pts) – could move past Brandy and into the money with a strong showing at a single remaining cup race. (Ok, Keri would need to come close to winning a remaining race to pass Brandy.)

One interesting wrinkle is that the fourth place open woman could come home with open prize money. If Goldsmith were to move into third in the open’s women’s field, she would not receive that money. Instead, Goldsmith would take home the greater purse for the master’s win ($2,000) and leave the third place open money ($1,500) to the fourth place woman.

  • 1 – Caitlin Smith – 98 pts – 5 races
  • 2 – Megan Kimmel – 91 pts – 4 races
  • 3 – Brandy Erholtz – 50 pts – 2 races
  • T-4 – Rachel Cieslewicz – 43 pts – 4 races
  • T-4 – Lisa Goldsmith – 43 pts – 4 races
  • 6 – Keri Nelson – 32 pts – 2 races

Masters Women
As we’ve noted before, the masters women’s field is wide open. Lisa Goldsmith (43 pts) remains in the lead, but Laura Haefeli (21 pts), Tara Cardi (19 pts), and Susan Nuzum (15 pts) could challenge her with a pair of good races. Then again, Goldsmith might still win with further inactivity, as the fact that Harfeli, Cardi, and Nuzum have each only run on race in the series suggests they’re not interested in making a go of it. Even at this late stage, a very talented masters runner could place second or third in the series simply by winning or placing well at a single remaining race. Here are all the ladies with 10 or more series points to date.

  • 1- Lisa Goldsmith – 43 pts – 4 races
  • 2 – Laura Haefeli – 21 pts – 1 race
  • 3 – Tara Cardi – 19 pts – 1 race
  • 4 – Susan Nuzum – 15 pts – 1 race
  • 5 – Eva Hagen – 13 pts – 1 race
  • 6 – Kelly Milligan – 11 pts – 1 race

Open Men
Vasque Shiloh MielkeShiloh Mielke (pictured right) and Jason Bryant are doing their damnedest to win the La Sportiva Mountain Cup with both already having raced six races. That said, Shiloh (88 pts) holds a commanding lead over Bryant (68 pts). Both of them bumped a weak performance with their sixth race, leaving Mielke needing to better his 12 points at Barr Trail and Bryant needing to improve upon his 10 points at either Mount Washington or Haulin’ Aspen to better their series point total.

Matt Byrne (58 pts) of Philadelphia currently sits in third having run only three races. He’s the real wildcard of the men’s field. We suspect he’ll run the Half Wit Half Marathon in nearby Reading, Pennsylvania this weekend and overtake Bryant in the process. If Byrne were to enter and run well at both Half Wit and Shop to the Top, it’s quite likely that he’d also pass Mielke. With a swing of $3,500 ($5,000 for first and $1,500 for third) on the line, we’d suggest that Byrne book his ticket to Boise now. As many of the top series runners are likely to be at Shop to the Top, there’ll be a slew of bonus points (2 bonus points are awarded for beating each runner who was in the LSMC top-10 as of the previous day) up for grabs, as well.

Bernie Boettcher (47 pts) has quietly moved his way into fourth with four solid races over the past month. Those four races are all that Bernie has run, so he could pass Matt if Matt doesn’t race again and Bernie puts in a solid showing at Shop to the Top. As Bernie only scored 5 points at Barr Trail, he’d theoretically benefit from running in Reading and Ketchum the next two weeks. We doubt he’ll do that, as there’s little chance that he could move into the series’ top two slots. If he can’t do that, then he’ll take the top men’s master prize rather than the third place open men, just like Lisa Goldsmith might end up doing the women’s side.

Tom Haxton (44 pts) is the dark horse on the men’s side. He may be in fifth at the moment, but he’s only run three Mountain Cup races so far and could rocket up the standings the next two weeks. We think it’s very likely that he’ll run the Half Wit Half Marathon (like Bryant, Haxton lives in Philly), but have no clue whether he’ll make the trip to Idaho in little over a week. We hope he does – it would make that final weekend even more exciting!

  • 1 – Shiloh Mielke – 88 pts – 6 races
  • 2- Jason Byrne – 68 pts – 6 races
  • 3 – Matthew Byrne – 58 pts – 3 races
  • 4 – Bernie Boettcher – 47 pts – 4 races
  • 5 – Tom Haxton – 42 pts – 3 races

Masters Men
Bernie Boettcher (47 pts) is the lead here, but sixth place man and second place master, Simon Gutierrez (34 pts) has the talent that makes the 13 points difference between them a one race affair. Heck, if Bernie didn’t race again, Matt Carpenter (24 pts) could move from third to first if he were to beat a stacked field at Shop to the Top. La Sportiva runner, 51 year old, and Idaho resident Tom Borschel (18 pts) is likely to toe the line in Ketchum. If he does, he could easily pass Carpenter for the final money spot. Matt’s got up to a $2,000 swing on the line at Shop to the Top, but he’s got to show up to get the money. Same goes for Gutierrez.

Boettcher has run four Mountain Cup races, meaning he can only score in one more race before needing to improve upon his 5 points at Barr Trail. None of the next three masters men has run more than two Mountain Cup races, so every point they score from here on out will count.

  • 1 – Bernie Boettcher – 47 pts – 4 races
  • 2 – Simon Gutierrez – 34 pts – 2 races
  • 3 – Matt Carpenter – 24 pts – 1 race
  • 4 – Tom Borschel – 18 pts – 2 races

Wrap Up
La Sportiva has posted the full series standings through eight races. Note that La Sportiva will update the linked results after subsequent races.

While we’ve avoided reading Buzz Burrell’s series commentary until we’re done writing ours (different, untainted analyses are fun), we’ll be reading them as soon as we post this. Buzz’s analysis follows his reports on the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase and Haulin’ Aspen Half Marathon.

Be sure to get your name in to the iRunFar.com La Sportiva Mountain Cup Contest before August 31!

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