We dare say that this weekend’s La Sportiva Mountain Cup race at the Jemez Half Marathon in Los Alamos, New Mexico was the most exciting series race yet this year. Not only are more and more top series competitors showing up as the season progresses (see women’s race), but there were lead changes in both the men’s and women’s races… though for quite different reasons. In the end, more than 200 runners finished this grueling up-and-down course in the Jemez Mountains.
Two ultra events – a 50k and 50 miler – accompanied the Mountain Cup race, with Nick Clark setting a new course record in the 50 miler with a time of 8:07 (race report).
After kicking things off with our LSMC race coverage, we’ll take a look at the Mountain Cup standings. Next, we’ll move on to our La Sportiva shoe giveaway contest before calling for your comments and finishing up with the full La Sportiva Mountain Cup schedule.
But for Erica Baron, the top two women – Megan Kimmel and Ashley Arnold – would have been the same for the third Mountain Cup race in a row. Ah, but Baron was there and she bested the both of them. The Jemez course is, to put it simply, one huge climb followed an equally huge descent. Baron took it easy early, sitting back as sixth woman for the short approach to the trail before moving up to run with Kimmel at the front of the race. Those two hung together until the upper portion of the climb when Baron took off. A local from Los Alamos, Baron saved herself to let loose on the descent and that she did. There was no catching her as she won in 1:48:39.
Kimmel (1:50:22) finished less than two minutes back, while Ashley Arnold (1:59:42) held on to third. We use Ashley’s first name again as here sister, Cynthia (2:01:35) who was running her second series race of the year, would have finished right behind Ashley if series regular Rachel Cieslewicz (2:01:18) hadn’t passed her in the final half mile to take fourth.
Women’s Top Five
- Erica Baron – 1:48:39
- Megan Kimmel – 1:50:22
- Ashley Arnold – 1:59:42
- Rachel Cieslewicz – 2:01:18
- Cynthia Arnold – 2:01:35
Jared Scott and Bernie Boettcher ran together for most of the first half of the race. Similar to Baron in the women’s race, Scott pulled away from Boettcher near the top of the climb and held that lead on the descent. Unfortunately, Scott took a wrong turn in the final mile of course. He still managed to cross the finish line first… but from the wrong direction. He did not return to the course.
Boettcher (1:40:36) was the first to cross the line from the correct direction and was awarded the win. Daniel Goding (1:41:12) took second hot on Boettcher’s heels, while Los Alamos’s own Bradley Skidmore (1:44:34) finished third.
Men’s Top Five
- Bernie Boettcher – 1:40:36
- Daniel Goding – 1:41:12
- Bradley Skidmore – 1:44:34
- Brent Broome – 1:45:25
- Chip Cooper – 1:48:43
Full Results and Additional Reports
Full results are available.
Nancy Hobbs attended the race and wrote this excellent article.
La Sportiva Extras
La Sportiva sold out of its Going the Distance tech tee shirt sales, which raised over $700 for the Los Alamos Volunteer Land Trust, a local trail stewardship organization.
The La Sportiva Standout award was presented to Gina Ortiz, a volunteer EMT who’d provided medical care at the Jemez for the past 6 years before finally running the race this year. Our sources report that she ran in honor of a woman who recently passed away from cancer and who’d planned to run a trail race in each of the 50 states.
Boettcher took advantage of being the sole male scorer at the race to move from fourth to second in the series standings. Now, each of the top three men have three scoring races apiece, which puts them in a great place for comparisons. To maximize points, Ryan Woods, Boettcher, and Jason Bryant each need to run two of the final four series races. Woods has a fairly commanding lead with Bryant needing to step up to best Boettcher. Jared Scott is the only other runner who looks to be within striking distance of the top three.
- Ryan Woods – 64 points (3 races – Did not race the Jemez Half)
- Bernie Boettcher – 51 pts (3 races – 22 pts from the Jemez Half)
- Jason Bryant – 43 pts (3 races – Did not race the Jemez Half)
- Jared Scott – 39 pts (2 scoring races – Did not score at the Jemez Half)
- Waylon Calabrese – 20 pts (1 race – Did not race the Jemez Half)
With her win at Jemez, Megan Kimmel all but assured herself another La Sportiva Mountain Cup title. Ashley Arnold, currently in third, is the only woman with a chance of catching her, but only if Megan doesn’t race again (doubtful) and Ashley runs two more races (likely). Ashley has yet to beat Megan in three series matchups this year. Arnold is, however, in a good position to shot for Rachel Cieslewicz’s second spot, as she’s within one point of Cieslewicz, but has run one less race.
Overall, the top three women held there respective positions. Both Erica Baron and Cynthia Arnold moved into a three-way tie with Alison Bryant for fifth. It’s out understanding that Baron will not be competing in other cup races, while Bryant is quite likely to run additional races. We don’t know what Cynthia Arnold’s races plans are.
- 1. Megan Kimmel – 91 points (4 races – 23 pts from the Jemez Half)
- 2. Rachel Cieslewicz – 58 pts (4 races – 15 pts from the Jemez Half)
- 3. Ashley Arnold – 57 pts (3 races – 19 pts from the Jemez Half)
- 4. Annette Bednosky – 35 pts (2 races – Did not race Don’t Fence Me In)
- T-5. Erica Baron – 28 pts (1 race – 28 pts from the Jemez Half)
- T-5. Alison Bryant – 28 pts (2 races – Did not race the Jemez Half)
- T-5. Cynthia Arnold – 28 pts (2 races – 11 pts from the Jemez Half)
Official Mountain Cup standings can be found here.
This week’s Jemez course was highly technical with most of the top competitors having taken at least one fall. Men’s winner Bernie Boettcher reportedly took two falls, while women’s winner Erica Baron took one as did runner up Megan Kimmel, who was heard to say “I fell, but at least it was soft where I fell.”
Perhaps, all these runners could have benefited from La Sportiva’s terrain absorbing MorphoDynamic technology found in the Quantum racing shoe. If you’d like to win and try out the Quantums yourself? Simply leave your name and town (in the US or Canada) in a comment before we write about the next Mountain Cup race, the Rothrock Challenge on June 4th outside of State College, Pennsylvania. [iRunFar’s Bryon Powell will be attending this race!] As a reminder, if you enter to win the Quantums 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.