After a nearly two month break, La Sportiva Mountain Cup competitors again hit the trails this past weekend near Los Alamos, New Mexico at the Jemez Half Marathon. The half marathon was the second race in this year’s Mountain Cup. Nearly 250 runners started the race, including many runners whose names will be familiar to mountain running fans.
As usual, we’ll begin our LSMC race coverage by giving you the scoop on how the race went. Next, we’ll give you an update on the Mountain Cup standings. We’ll then move on to our giveaway contest (Crosslites this time around) before calling for your comments and finishing up with the full La Sportiva Mountain Cup schedule.
Before we move on to the half marathon, we want to acknowledge Petra McDowell (6:08:43) and Sean O’Rourke (5:29:11) for their wins in the Jemez 50k as well as Nick Clark (8:26:13) and Diana Finkel (10:32:02) for their wins at the Jemez 50 miler! (Read Nick Clark’s race report) The half marathon, 50k (full results pdf), and 50 mile (full results pdf) together make up the Jemez Mountain Trail Runs.
After a benign first two miles, the half marathon course turns upwards bringing runners from a low point near 7,200′ straight up to 8,800′ in four and a half miles before returning runners to the finish on an elevation profile that’s a near mirror image of the first half despite being on different trails. The day before the race saw highs in the upper 80s under a clear New Mexico sky. Even with an early 8 a.m. start, La Sportiva runner Michael Selig of Lakewood, Colorado thought the temps and open course through large tracts of 10-year old wildfire scar warranted cutting his hair before the gun went off. In the end, the newly shorn Selig was one of the La Sportiva runners who placed second through sixth.
When we learned that a woman had placed sixth overall, 2009 Mountain Cup competitors Megan Kimmell and Caitlin Smith came to mind. While Kimmell was in the race, it was Laura Haefeli (right) of Del Norte, Colorado who took sixth. This 41-year old mother of three is the only American woman to win an individual medal at the World Mountain Running Championships. At the Jemez Half, Haefeli had a significant lead over the other women by the first aid station four miles into the race. By the finish, she’d built more than a 6 minute margin of victory. Her time of 1:51:38 was a mere 10 seconds off the course record. [Shameless plug, support one of your own by buying Haefeli Honey straight from the heart of the Colorado Rockies.]
Local Rachel Earley from Albuquerque ran well to capture second just ahead of Megan Kimmell in 1:58:14. Kimmell, the reigning Mountain Cup champ and winner of this year’s inaugural LSMC race at the Mount Penn Mudfest (iRF coverage), has had a long month of travel. On May 8th, she won the Vertical Kilometer on Mount Elbrus in Russia before heading to Spain where she took seventh in the Maratòn Alpina Zegama-Aizkorri, the second 2010 Skyrunner® World Series race. Kimmell ended up in third at Jemez with a time of 1:59:17.
Newton runner and LSMC regular Rachel Cieslewicz had an off day. She didn’t find her legs until an hour into the race and ended up fourth in 2:05:52. Exactly two minutes behind Cieslewicz was Allison Bryant, who earned fifth in 2:07:52.
Our reporters on the course noted that the order of the men’s top five was set early in the race. For what it’s worth, the race for the win could have been a continuation of the Mount Penn Mudfest. Ryan Woods (right) of Boone, North Carolina went out in front and held on for the win. Ryan did take a big fall in the second half of the race that helped La Sportiva’s Matt Byrne shrink Ryan’s lead; however, it wasn’t enough. Woods won his second straight Mountain Cup race in 1:36:47. Less than a minute back, Byrne (1:37:24) claimed second just as he had at the Mudfest.
The age-defying Bernie Boettcher, 47, took third overall and the top masters spot in 1:40:53. Michael Selig bettered his fifth place showing at last year’s LSMC race at the Barr Trail Mountain Race with a fourth place showing at Jemez with a time of 1:41:26. Battling a bad back and a bum ankle, Mountain Cup competitor Jason Bryant will return to North Carolina with a fifth place finish. He ran 1:44:00.
Full unofficial results (pdf) of the Jemez Half Marathon are posted.
La Sportiva Mountain Cup Standings
Below are the overall LSMC standings through two races per our reckoning. We’ve purposely left out the master’s results this week as we’re suggesting some scoring revisions to La Sportiva. Yeah, we’re big trail running dorks.
Megan Kimmell (right) and Rachel Cieslewicz are the only two women to earn big points in each of the first two races in this year’s Mountain Cup, so it’s no surprise that they top the overall standings. As bonus points for beating Top 10 overall Mountain Cup runners were awarded at Jemez and not at the Mudfest, single race competitors who ran at Jemez have an advantage in the Overall Standings. Here are iRunFar’s Unofficial Standings:
- Megan Kimmell – 37 pts in 2 races (17 pts at Jemez for 3rd including 2 bonus pts for beating Cieslewicz)
- Rachel Cieslewicz – 28 pts in 2 races (13 pts at Jemez for 4th)
- Laura Haefeli – 24 pts in 1 race (24 pts at Jemez for 1st including 4 bonus pts for beating Kimmell and Cieslewicz)
- Rachel Earley – 21 pts in 1 race (21 pts at Jemez for 2nd including 4 bonus pts for beating Kimmell and Cieslewicz)
- Mendy Taylor – 17 pts in 1 race (Did not race Jemez)
Three elite men – Ryan Woods, Matt Byrne, and Jason Bryant – returned for LSMC race number two and lead the standings just like the returning ladies.
- Ryan Woods – 44 pts in 2 races (24 pts at Jemez for 1st including 4 bonus pts for beating Byrne and Bryant)
- Matt Byrne – 36 pts in 2 races (19 pts at Jemez for 2nd including 2 bonus pts for beating Bryant)
- Jason Bryant – 24 pts in 2 races (11 pts at Jemez for 5th)
- Bernie Boettcher – 17 pts in 1 race (17 pts at Jemez for 3rd including 2 bonus pts for beating Bryant)
- Tie Karl Savage and Michael Selig – 15 pts in 1 race apiece
iRunFar.com La Sportiva Mountain Cup Contest
Seven weeks ago we promised a reader a pair of La Sportiva Crosslites. We haven’t forgotten and will delay no longer. Mike from Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, you’ve got yourself a new pair of Crosslites!
Don’t fret if you had your heart set on a new pair of Crosslites. Many of the La Sportiva Mountain Runners at the Jemez Half donned Crosslites, so we’re giving away another pair! (iRF Crosslite review) These neutral, lightweight shoes are heavily nubbed giving you sick traction on loose dirt. Want a pair for some summer racing? Simply leave your name and town (in the US or Canada) in a comment before we write about the Rock2Rock Trail Run held near Asheville, North Carolina on Friday, May 28th. As a reminder, if you enter to win the Crosslite you’ll also automatically be eligible to win the grand prize at the end of August. Read up on the iRunFar.com La Sportiva Mountain Cup giveaway grand prize.
Call for Comments
If you ran the Jemez Half Marathon or any of the Jemez Mountain Trail Races, please leave a comment letting everyone know how you did and what you think about the race. Past racers are invited to comment, too!