On Saturday, hundreds of runners headed to the red rock desert of southern Utah to test themselves at the Red Hot Moab 33k and 55k trail races. The 55k has long been a key early race for Intermountain West ultrarunners, while the 33k received a fresh infusion of talent this year upon being named the 2012 La Sportiva Mountain Cup’s second race of this year’s series.
I can offer a personal perspective on this year’s races as I made the trek south from Park City to Moab, Utah for the second year in a row. To begin, the weather for this year’s Red Hot Moab races was simply spectacular. Near freezing temps quickly rose into the low fifties in windless conditions under bluebird skies.
Short-sleeve shirts easily outnumbered puffy jackets at the finish, which is important as folks typically hang out at the finish for hours. A minor injury caused me to (wisely) scratch from the 33k on race morning resulting in my hanging out at the finish for 7 hours. I was never without a circle of entertaining trail runners with whom to enjoy the great weather and festive atmosphere.
Speaking of the atmosphere, race director Chris Martinez, a long-time river guide, ensures that everyone who’s capable of having fun will have fun at his races. There’s a DJ spinning tunes, bread bowls overflowing with vegetarian soup, plenty of drink options (including a variety of adult options brought by friends of the race), a strong presence from sponsors La Sportiva and UltrAspire, and both shade and seating options. Of course, most folks are seen walking around catching up with friends post-race or exploring the red rock of the finishing area, including a sweet set of dinosaur tracks only a 100 yards away. Once the races are all wrapped up the event quickly shifts to Moab’s cornerstone, Eddie McStiff’s, for a well-attended post-race party.
In summary, if the solid weather and ridiculously beautiful course through and on southern Utah’s red rock isn’t enough to get you to the event and you can’t be lured by some hot early season competition, you should still come down to the Red Hot Moab for one heck of a good time.
Our custom this season will be to begin our LSMC race coverage by filling you in on how the race played out. Next, we’ll give you an update on the Mountain Cup standings. We’ll then move on to our weekly giveaway contest(s) before calling for your comments and finishing up with the full La Sportiva Mountain Cup schedule.
The three top men’s finishers loved southern Utah’s slickrock enough to take an eight-minute diversion midrace to see some “bonus” slickrock. That diversion came after they threw down 5:20 miles on the doubletrack in the race’s early going. Even a quarter mile into the race, Jared Scott had himself, Ryan Woods, and Rob Krar breathing hard as they climbed a small rise.
In the end, the fastest guys re-passed anyone who’d gained an advantage during their off-course exploration. Rob Krar of Flagstaff, Arizona won a tight contest in a course record 2:17:45. Last year’s Mountain Cup champ Jared Scott captured a bunch of early-season points by finishing second just a minute behind Krar. Scott’s fellow Inov-8 teammate and Mountain Cup regular Ryan Woods paid for not running his own race early by falling off the pace into third by the finish. In fourth and fifth place were 49-year-old Bernie Boettcher and 55-year-old Kevin Tuck, who were only a minute and two minutes, respectively, behind Woods, who was third overall in last year’s Mountain Cup final standings.
- Rob Krar – 2:17:45 – Course Record
- Jared Scott (Inov-8) – 2:18:51
- Ryan Woods (Inov-8) – 2:22:07
- Bernie Boettcher (La Sportiva) – 2:23:14
- Kevin Tuck – 2:24:23
The women’s race featured a wealth of new faces to the Mountain Cup. Moab-local Heidi Rentz won the women’s race (and was eighth overall) in 2:46:17. Christina Bauer and Shari Marshall finished second and third, two and a half and five and a half minutes behind Rentz respectively, while fourth place woman Jennifer McCarthy finished just a minute and change behind Marshall. Mountain running specialist Gina Lucrezi jumped up to her longest race to date and learned some important lessons in pacing en route to finishing fifth.
- Heidi Rentz – 2:46:17
- Christina Bauer – 2:48:48
- Shari Marshall – 2:51:58
- Jennifer McCarthy – 2:53:20
- Gina Lucrezi (Inov-8) – 2:57:08
Full 33k results (pdf).
Bonus: Full 55k results (pdf).
Ryan Woods may have only finished third at Red Hot Moab, but he jumps out into an early Mountain Cup lead having been the only competitor to run both series races this year. Last year’s series champ Jared Scott moved onto the rankings by placing second and earning two bonus points for beating Woods, who sat in the series top ten prior (leader, in fact) to the race. Winner Rob Krar moves into second overall in the Mountain Cup on the strength of his win and two bonus points; however, his work schedule won’t allow him to make a play for the series this year. Perennial series competitor Bernie Boettcher picked up his first series points of the year with his fourth place finish on Saturday.
- Ryan Woods – 35 points in two races (15 pts at Red Hot for 3rd)
- Rob Krar – 22 pts in one race (22 pts at Red Hot – 20 pts for the win and 2 bonus pts for beating Woods)
- Jared Scott – 19 pts in one race (19 pts at Red Hot – 17 pts for 2nd and 2 bonus pts for beating Woods)
- Patrick Reaves – 19 pts in one race (Did not race Red Hot)
- Jason Bryant – 15 pts in one race (Did not race Red Hot)
No woman has yet run two series races, so the series standings are a simple combining the placings from the first two races. Of the top six women in the series standings at the moment, we only know of one – Alison Bryant – who’ll be going for the series this year.
Women, there are $12,500 to be doled out to the top five women in the series… so get racing!
- T-1 – Alison Bryant & Heidi Rentz – 20 points
- T-3 – Jessica Durrant & Christina Bauer – 17 pts
- T-5 – Mila Harris & Shari Marshall – 15 pts
iRunFar.com La Sportiva Mountain Cup Contest
Tracy K of Los Alamos, New Mexico, you won yourself a pair of La Sportiva Crosslite 2.0s from our Uwharrie La Sportiva giveaway. Contact us to claim your prize.
Before bowing out, I’d planned to wear La Sportiva’s brand new Vertical K’s (review) on the desert slickrock. Having taken the Vertical K out for a short session on the rock playground at the finish, I can confirm that the ultralight, rock-gripping, cushioned package would have been killer out there.
Want to try a pair of the Vertical K? Well, to win a pair, just leave your name and town (in the US or Canada) in a comment before we write about the next Mountain Cup race to be run at Reading’s Ugly Mud next weekend on February 26. As a reminder, if you enter to win the Vertical K, you’ll also automatically be eligible to win the grand prize – any three pairs of La Sportiva trail shoes and some sweet Sportiva schwag at the end of August.
Call for Comments
If you ran either of the Red Hot Moab races this weekend, please leave a comment letting everyone know how you did and what you think about the race. Past racers are invited to comment, too.
Given that all I saw of the course on a gorgeous day was the start and finish, I’d love for some of the racers to link to some of their photos from the event.