2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup Results

Results from the 10-race 2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup.

By on August 4, 2015 | Comments

2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup logoThe 2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup (LSMC) wrapped up this weekend in Park City, Utah, with the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase, which features more than 3,000 feet of climbing over 15 miles. Maria Dalzot and Ryan Woods took away wins in the 10-race, shorter-distance trail-race series taking place all over the U.S. while Sarah Kjorstad and Tayte Pollmann nabbed the wins at Jupiter Peak.

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2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup Schedule

Here was the 10-race La Sportiva Mountain Cup schedule for this year:

2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup Series and Results

Men’s Series and Results

With his fifth-place finish at this weekend’s final La Sportiva Mountain Cup race, the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase, Ryan Woods sealed the deal on his third win of the series. He used early-season wins at the first three races of the series, the Hillbilly Half Marathon, the Hell’s Hills 25k, and the Tuck Fest Half Marathon, to put him squarely in the series lead. He next took the win at the sixth series race, the Sutallee Trace Challenge. Basically all Ryan needed to do was to finish strongly at Jupiter Peak to retain his series win. Racing with a cold made that difficult, but his fifth place at the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase rounded out his series season and earned him the $5,000 payout.

Ryan Woods, 2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup champion

Ryan Woods at the Tuck Fest Half Marathon. Photo: Quinn Carrasco/La Sportiva

Matt Kempton gave Ryan Woods a run for his money this season, finishing in second and just a couple-dozen seconds back at both Hillbilly and Hell’s Hills. Matt’s third race in the series was a solid win of the Don’t Fence Me In Trail Run, and his fourth was a second place at the Vail Hill Climb. Coming into the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase, Matt was in second, but there was a chance for him to upset leader Ryan. He gave it his all and finished second, but not far enough ahead of Ryan to capture the win. His second place in the series nets him $3,500.

Bret Ferrier takes $2,000 for finishing the series in third place, which he earned through a third places at Hillybilly and Don’t Fence Me In, a second place at Sutallee, a seventh place at the La Sportiva Table Rock 27k, and sixth place at Jupiter Peak.

  1. Ryan Woods
  2. Matt Kempton
  3. Bret Ferrier

Full results (when available).

Hillbilly Half Marathon scenery - La Sportiva Mountain Cup

Hillbilly Half Marathon scenery. Photo: Quinn Carrasco/La Sportiva

Women’s Series and Results

Maria Dalzot was in control of the La Sportiva Mountain Cup basically from the get-go. Her series victory comes from a win at Hillbilly and Don’t Fence Me In, third at the Rothrock Challenge, and a second at Table Rock. Her series efforts net her $5,000.

Maria Dalzot - 2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup Champion

Maria Dalzot at the La Sportiva Table Rock 27k. Photo: Tad Davis

Sarah Kjorstad packaged up second place in the series by finishing fourth at Hillbilly, sixth at Don’t Fence Me In, and winning Jupiter Peak.

We believe Meira Minard and YiOu Wang tie for third in the Cup. However, neither are eligible for series prizes because they didn’t compete in the minimum of three races in the series.

  • 1. Maria Dalzot
  • 2. Sarah Kjorstad
  • 3. Meira Minard
  • 3. YiOu Wang

Full results (when available).

2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup Interviews

Below you’ll find interviews with La Sportiva Mountain Cup top finishers.

Maria Dalzot, 2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup Champion

Maria Dalzot is the 2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup champion. In this interview, Maria tells us about what she thought of the diversity of races in this year’s series, how she stepped up her game from previous years in the LSMC, and how she trains for shorter-distance trail running.

iRunFar: To get the LSMC win, you ran the Hillybilly Half Marathon in Washington State, the Don’t Fence Me In Trail Run in Montana, the Rothrock Challenge in Pennsylvania, and the La Sportiva Table Rock 27k in Cali. Phew! That’s some geography. Can you talk about the diversity of course layout, terrain, geography you experienced?

Maria Dalzot: Phew is right! Is has been quite the year of traveling and racing. At the start of the year, my two goals for the spring/summer were to 1. Make the U.S. team and perform well at the World Mountain Running Association’s Long Distance Championships, and 2. Win the La Sportiva Mountain Cup. It was a grueling schedule, but to come out the other side having achieved my goals while staying healthy feels very satisfying.

One of the biggest challenges with the Mountain Cup is figuring out logistically which races to run since they are spread out over the entire country and over six months. Adding a trip to Europe in the middle of it all was no easy task. Hillbilly Half Marathon is just a 2.5-hour drive down I-5 (to Olympia) for us so that made it very convenient start to the series in March. The course is typical Pacific Northwest, muddy and tree-covered trails.

I ran Don’t Fence Me In last year and had a really great experience so we definitely wanted to return now that I had run the course and knew what to expect. I love the Northwest trails, but the trail system in Helena (maintained by the Prickly Pear Land Trust) is awesome; smooth, runnable trails with incredible views for miles.

That was May and by this time I knew I was headed to the WMRA’s Long Distance Championships in Zermatt, Switzerland (July 4th) so we decided to fit in a quick trip to see family in West Virginia and jump into Rothrock (about three hours away in Pennsylvania). My main goal here was simply to garner some points with as little effort as possible since my focus was now on worlds. Rothrock is one of those races that you are warned about, but have to run it to see for yourself. They weren’t kidding; Rothrock is the most technical trail race I have ever run. The terrain was just rocks, rocks, and more rocks. I’m happy I made it through that one with just a few falls and scratches.

After Rothrock I headed to Europe for the WMRA’s Long Distance Championships. Ten days after returning to the States, I ran the La Sportiva Table Rock 27k. Table Rock always has great competition and Inside Trail Running does a fantastic job hosting. This year did not disappoint! This race was the most fun I had at the Mountain Cup this year. Even though I didn’t win it was a blast trading the lead five times throughout the race with YiOu Wang and running 12 minutes faster than I had two years before.

iRunFar: I think this was your third year competing in the the Cup, and your best performance so far, I believe. What has changed? Training? Other races? What has made you so successful this year?

Dalzot: I placed fourth in the Cup in 2013 and 2014. I was battling injuries in 2013, and 2014 was a very competitive year. My racing success over the past 10 months is attributed to staying injury-free. I have been able to train consistently for two years now. Another big change this year was that Megan Kimmel decided to skip the Mountain Cup this year to focus on races in Europe so that left the door wide open.

iRunFar: You seem to specialize in shorter to medium-length trail races. Can you talk about the specific training that goes into that? Speed and hill workouts each week? What’s your long-run distance? Maybe lay out a week of training a couple weeks out from a goal race?

Dalzot: Right now I’ve worked my way up to running between 70 and 80 miles a week with much of it on the trails and with two to three mountain-athlete strength sessions. My long run is 18 to 20 miles. I do a workout once a week that can consist of either a tempo, repeats, or some fartlek variation almost always on a crushed-gravel-type of surface. Though sometimes I’ll do the workout on singletrack if the race I’m preparing for is more technical.

iRunFar: What’s on deck for you in the future? The rest of this season? Next year? Beyond?

Dalzot: I will be running the Angel’s Staircase 35k next weekend just because it is an easy trip and a great race hosted by James Varner of Rainshadow Running. It is also part of the US Skyrunner Series. After Angel’s my focus is on training for the USATF Trail Half Marathon National Championships in Bellingham, Washington. That race was a dream come true last year as I won my first national championship in my adopted hometown. After that I’ll close out the year with the USTAF Trail Marathon National Championships in Moab, Utah. To compete at the national-class level at the marathon, I still need to get faster at the shorter distances so I’ll continue training with that as the goal while at the same time gaining some more experience at the marathon and maybe start thinking about a 50k debut.

Ryan Woods, 2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup Champion

Ryan Woods won the La Sportiva Mountain Cup for the third time. In the following interview, Ryan talks about his struggle with the last race in the series, the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase, how he went about winning this year’s competitive LSMC, and whether or not he’ll return next year.

[Click here if you can’t see the video above. Click here to read a transcript of this interview.]

Sarah Kjorstad, 2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup Second Place

Sarah Kjorstad took second place in the La Sportiva Mountain Cup through three strong performances in the series. In this interview, Sarah talks about her background in running, what she thought of the series, and how her race went at Jupiter Peak.

[Click here if you can’t see the video above. Click here to read a transcript of this interview.]

Matt Kempton, 2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup Second Place

Matt Kempton took second in the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase, the last race in the La Sportiva Mountain Cup, which sealed the deal on his second place in the series. In this interview, Matt talks about the highs and lows of his Jupiter Peak race, his favorite race of the LSMC, and what else in running interests him.

iRunFar: You were second overall at Jupiter Peak. But you were first to the top, so you got King of the Mountain.

Kempton: Yes.

iRunFar: You said before the top rocked you, but you had a couple guys, one a minute behind you and one 45 seconds behind you, and you managed to hold them off to get King of the Mountain?

Kempton: I was doing everything I could. I was near puking to get up. I come from a track and road background, so that is not my element. I was at a complete stop for nearly a minute at the top drinking water. I was toast. But part of my goal and my strategy going into the race was I knew it was a long shot to take first in the overall series. If everything worked out perfectly for me, not necessarily for others, if I would have won and conceivably [LSMC leader] Ryan [Woods] finished fifth or worse and we had enough contenders, there was still a chance. Ryan is a great downhill runner as are a lot of guys in the series. Uphills tend to be my strength. My strategy was to get to the top first.

iRunFar: And put as much distance between you and Ryan as you could?

Kempton: That was exactly my plan.

iRunFar: Did you at any point on the descent see him or was he out of view the entire time?

Kempton: No. I was trying to keep an honest pace on the downhill. I looked back at one point and saw third place behind me and realized that I was going to have to, not that I wasn’t working, but that I’d have to absolutely push it.

iRunFar: You had third place in the Cup knocking down your door, too, right?

Kempton: Yeah, and Bret [Ferrier] is a great runner. I didn’t want it to come down a kick finish with either of those two. I didn’t know if he was going to be the next one behind me or if Ryan was. Ryan and I have come down to a kick finish before, and he’s got a little bit better mile PR than I do on the track. I don’t want to kick against him again.

iRunFar: So it was a matter of crossing the finish and then counting runners. He rolled in fifth, and maintained his series lead. Last question for you: The Cup in general is a pretty cool series of races. Every race is a different style. The geography is different; the climbs and descents are different. What has been your top experiences running around the country this year?

Kempton: The most enjoyable race that I went to, albeit a very short trip and I didn’t get to enjoy the area very much, was Helena, Montana. They do a great job.

iRunFar: The Don’t Fence Me In Trail Run.

Kempton: The race director was very nice. I emailed her several times prior to the race. It’s a beautiful race, and they maximize their trails. That is a hard, hard course in a beautiful area. I would never have any other reason to go up there quite honestly. It was eye opening to the beauty that is in that area.

iRunFar: Congrats. Second at Jupiter Peak. Second in the Cup. Going home with a little cash. King of the Hill, too.

Kempton: Yeah, thank you.

2015 Jupiter Peak Steeplechase Race and Results

Men’s Race and Results

Tayte Pollmann - 2015 Jupiter Peak Steeplechase champion

Tayte Pollmann, 2015 Jupiter Peak Steeplechase champion. Photo: La Sportiva/Quinn Carrasco

After some early-race place changes, Matt Kempton took over the lead and kept it all the way to the top of 9,998-foot Jupiter Peak, where Skullcandy was giving away cash and swag to the King of the Hill, the first male arrival. After topping out maxed out, Matt stayed at the aid station recovering for about a minute, which allowed Tayte Pollmann, who was running in second, to pass and take the lead. Tate gunned the downhill hard and arrived the winner, unchallenged by anyone between Jupiter Peak and the finish. Matt recuperated enough atop the peak to maintain second place.

Matt Kempton - 2015 Jupiter Peak Steeplechase second place

Matt Kempton on Jupiter Peak. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Third place Noah Brautigam took the ascent conservatively, arriving to the top in eighth place before moving up five positions from Jupiter Peak to the finish.

Noah Brautigam - 2015 Jupiter Peak Steeplechase third place

Noah Brautigam getting ready to move from eighth to third on the downhill. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

  1. Tayte Pollmann — 1:50:49
  2. Matt Kempton — 1:52:25
  3. Noah Brautigam — 1:52:39
  4. Fritz Van De Kamp — 1:53:25
  5. Ryan Woods — 1:56:06
  6. Bret Ferrier — 1:57:01
  7. Matthew Jacobs — 1:57:17
  8. Alec Jacobs — 1:58:59
  9. Ryan Ping — 1:59:57
  10. Scott Traver — 2:00:53

Full results.

Women’s Race and Results

Eventual second place Marta Larsen looked like she really wanted the Skullcandy Queen of the Hill prime, and she arrived to the summit of Jupiter Peak working it, a minute in front of the rest of the field. Just after the summit, Sarah Kjorstad, who was running in second at the peak, took over the lead and put time on the rest of the field to finish with a solid win.

Sarah Kjorstad - 2015 Jupiter Peak Steeplechase champion

Sarah Kjorstad, 2015 Jupiter Peak Steeplechase champion. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Marta Larsen held her own, gunning across the line for second.

Marta Larsen - 2015 Jupiter Peak Steeplechase second place

Marta Larsen on Jupiter Peak. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Anna Rudolphi, who topped out on Jupiter Peak in fourth place, moved up between the peak and the finish to claim the final spot on the women’s podium.

Anna Rudolphi - 2015 Jupiter Peak Steeplechase third place

Anna Rudolphi smiling her way to third place. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

  1. Sarah Kjorstad — 2:22:31
  2. Marta Larsen — 2:26:23
  3. Anna Rudolphi — 2:30:41
  4. Megan Ping — 2:34:40
  5. Rhielle Widders — 2:34:48
  6. Ali Sibley — 2:36:38
  7. Alison Memmott — 2:37:12
  8. Amiee Maxwell — 2:39:06
  9. Laurie Shea — 2:42:39
  10. Megan Haley — 2:46:20

Full results (when available).

2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup Interview Transcripts

Ryan Woods Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar here, and I’m at the finish line of the Jupiter Peak Steeplechase. I’m with La Sportiva Mountain Cup winner, Ryan Woods. Hey, dude.

Ryan Woods: Hey.

iRunFar: How’s it going?

Woods: Good.

iRunFar: Congratulations!

Woods: Thank you.

iRunFar: Top-five finish today to seal off your victory in the La Sportiva Mountain Cup.

Woods: Yes.

iRunFar: You’ve run Jupiter Peak Steeplechase a couple of times.

Woods: This is my third time.

iRunFar: So you know the pain that’s coming when you’re standing at the starting line of this race.

Woods: Yeah, you kind of dread it. I was saying earlier, I’m getting over a cold and my breathing isn’t that good. When you know you’ve got to climb about 3,000 feet in about seven-and-a-half miles, it’s not something that you look forward to. I was just trying to get out there and survive.

iRunFar: You toe the line; you’ve got a cold; you’re trying to escape doing something that messes up your point standings in the Cup and staying in the money in the Cup.

Woods: Yes, trying to finish.

iRunFar: Yeah, what goes through your mind at the starting line when you know you’ve got to climb 3,000 feet before anything else happens?

Woods: Well, at the starting line, I’m just super confident. I think, Ah, I’m fine. Cold. Here. You’re going to be alright, but it’s about a mile up when you’re like, Oh, I can’t breathe, and I’m congested, and people are passing me. Maybe I should just turn around and head back down the mountain. No, it was a battle up the mountain. I was saying earlier, at the scramble at the top where you climb basically on all fours in loose rocks, I got to the bottom of that in eighth place, and I think I caught about three people on it which was surprising because I’ve never been in the position in this race where I was around people in the scramble. It just seems so hectic. I didn’t think people really made up ground. It was kind of nice to get some ground. When I got to the top, I could just be in position. I could still run the downhills without really needing my lungs. I really put way the three guys I passed there. I kept the guy in sight for awhile, but I was really more focused on the people behind me than I was the people in front of me. So I just kept moving and just kept a decent pace on the downhills. Last year when I did this race, I was like 5:15 pace on it. This year it was more like 5:45. That was enough. It’s a blazing-fast downhill, but it’s long. After eight miles of it, you do start to feel the toes and quad. Everything hurts at the end.

iRunFar: It’s a pretty amazing downhill. Like you said, it’s about eight miles and almost every bit of it is sweetly runnable, but when you put it all together…

Woods: Mountain-bike trails—when you get the smooth curves, it’s very runnable.

iRunFar: So you worked your way up and you had…

Woods: First, I worked my way way back. I think I had the lead in the first mile—Ah yeah, this is good—then everyone just kept going past me and they’re having conversation. I’m blowing snot rockets. It was not… it was getting bad there in those three-to-six mile marks.

iRunFar: Then you passed a couple people on the last little steep bit, and you’re a guy who’s known for your downhilling ability. So you must have sort of let confidence take over and just let it roll and do what you needed to do.

Woods: That’s exactly what I kept telling myself. I was saying, Just keep them in sight. You’re not feeling good. This isn’t going to be your day. Keep them in sight so you’ve got the opportunity still in the downhill. Everything in my body was just saying, Turn around. Head down the mountain. Call it a day, but the ability to run the downhill gave me confidence. Even though I wasn’t as fast as I had been in the past, I knew I’d be okay if I could just get with those guys or stay in touch with them.

iRunFar: The only guy who you needed to fend off in the cup was Matt [Kemper] in second place. He was in front of you, it must have been from…

Woods: He was a dot in the sky. I had a pretty good points lead on him. I’d won my first four races in the series, and I’d beaten him twice in them. In the Mountain Cup series, head-to-heads are very important especially after you’ve gotten some points and you’re in the top-ten. You get five points on top of somebody for beating them. It’s a 10-point swing in the series if they beat you. If they beat you, you’re five points behind. If you beat them, you’re five points ahead. Those two early wins I had against him made it so I could have a “comfortable-ish,” it wasn’t comfortable at all…

iRunFar: Survivable?

Woods: Survivable day today. If I had to race, it wouldn’t have gone well. It would have gone about like the mountain championships did last weekend.

iRunFar: Talk about that for a minute. You’re coming off three mountain races in a row—the North American championships two weeks ago, the mountain-running championships last weekend, and now here. Similar style of races, but every race had its unique characteristics. After three weekends of mountain races, what are your thoughts?

Woods: I’m tired.

iRunFar: Are you ready for a break?

Woods: I do a lot of racing back and forth. I don’t really train for peaks anymore. I’m 36, and I’ve kind of got this baseline that I can keep through the year. A lot of time I like to race my way into shape. The first race in Vancouver, I thought it went pretty good. It was two loops. The first loop was smaller—good climbing, good descent, fast runnable sections. I stuck with the leaders on that. Then you had a mile with 1,000 feet of climbing. I lost the leaders there. Then you had this technical section at the top where one guy caught me. Then you had a screaming downhill at the end. I nearly caught some folks on that, but the technical sections, when it’s new technical trail you’ve never been on, it’s difficult. I feel pretty competent on some of the technical stuff, but then again, sometimes I don’t. If you got some experience, it helps a lot. Again, the downhill was good for me there. Then the mountain championships, I was a little feverish. I was just trying to survive out there. I don’t know why I didn’t drop out of that one either. I held on and finished. You feel good finishing even if it’s not a good performance. That’s something I try and do, but I’ve got a lot of DNFs over the years now… too many.

iRunFar: You’re now a three-time winner of the La Sportiva Mountain Cup. What keeps you coming back to this race series?

Woods: Great travel. It’s always seemed to work out when there’s been two drives I can do, and then you’ve got three flights. In years past, we’ve made vacations out of those flights. Last year we spent about five days out here in Park City. This year we’re going to leave quickly because we spent vacation last week and then in Vancouver. What was earlier in the year? Didn’t make a trip this year actually on the Mountain Cup, but usually we make a vacation of it. There weren’t a whole lot of new spots on it. Moab has been on the Series before. New Mexico… a lot of really cool areas. Tahoe was on it years ago. A lot of cool areas to visit—that’s kind of what keeps me going and keeps me coming back.

iRunFar: Do you think you’ll give it a shot again in the future or try something different?

Woods: Yeah, absolutely.

iRunFar: You’re kind of a La Sportiva mainstay at this point.

Woods: I am. I have been doing different stuff. I’ve gotten into obstacle racing—Spartans and Battle Frogs. I’m trying to work out the upper body more now. It’s cool because as I’m slowing down, I don’t do road 5k’s anymore. I’ve lost a lot of speed, so I don’t have as much fun with it anymore. Trails, I’m slowing down a little bit, but in the obstacle stuff I’m still the fast guy. You’re training new stuff. I like to diversify.

iRunFar: You’re keeping your mind fresh, too.

Woods: Yes. New stuff that you’ve got a good energy in… I’ll do more of the mountain stuff but the obstacle races, I think, will be in the next couple of years until my body breaks down which might be sooner rather than later. We’ll see.

iRunFar: Awesome. Let’s not jinx ourselves, shall we?

Woods: No.

iRunFar: Congratulations on your win of the 2015 La Sportiva Mountain Cup.

Woods: Thank you.

Saraj Kjorstad Interview Transcript

iRunFar: Meghan Hicks of iRunFar, and I’m here at the finish line of Utah’s Jupiter Peak Steeplechase. This is race 10 in the La Sportiva Mountain Cup. I’m here with Sarah Kjorstad who just won the race and who finished second in the Cup. Congratulations.

Sarah Kjorstad: Thank you.

iRunFar: How’s it going?

Kjorstad: Good, really good. I’m just happy to be done.

iRunFar: This is a tough race. It’s a 15-ish mile race that has 3,300 feet of climb that comes all at once. This is an all uphill and then all downhill race. Talk about how it feels. Talk about how it went out there for you today.

Kjorstad: This race actually suits me because I’m not a super-strong climber, but I can muscle my way through it and at least keep the competition in my sights. I just kind of bide my time and get to the top. Then once I’m at the top, then it’s all… that’s when my race starts, when the downhill comes. That, to me, is easy and I take it fast and hard and I can at least catch, gain a lot of ground, and then put a little space or distance between me and the next girl. So that happened out there.

iRunFar: I was up on Jupiter Peak and saw you up there. You were in second place with another gal just behind you and you were just chatting away, not even breathing hard.

Kjorstad: So maybe I could work a little harder on the uphill. [laughs]

iRunFar: Did you feel pretty good coming up that last little scramble there?

Kjorstad: Yeah, I like that little scramble there. It’s actually kind of a break. It’s a little bit of a… it’s almost like recover from that solid, non-stop up. It’s something different. That scramble or that hike is nice. It’s just kind of a recovery before the big downhill. So, yeah, it was fun. There was another one of the women, we were talking about how the girl wanted the climb Queen of the Mountain more than we did, so we were just chatting. It was fun.

iRunFar: So Marta Larsen was about a minute ahead of you topping out. She got Queen of the Hill. She got the Skullcandy prize for that. When did you pass her, and how did that go?

Kjorstad: Right after the top.

iRunFar: Was it before the next little blip?

Kjorstad: Yeah, I just knew… like I said, the downhill is my thing. I knew as soon as… I could have probably caught her, but I just wanted her to get that. I really wanted her to get the prize, so I let her go. When I got to the top, I knew I was going to take her from there. That’s when I started racing, that peak and then it was all hard from there.

iRunFar: Let’s talk about the Mountain Cup for a minute. You just came in second. What races did you do this year and how were they… what’s really cool about the Mountain Cup is the geographic and terrain diversity represented by the races. They’re all over the country and they’re all different styles.

Kjorstad: The Mountain Cup is great. It works well for me because I’m sort of centrally located in the States. It’s perfect for my location. I was just thinking that my family lives in the West Coast, and there are a couple races out there that I can justify driving over for. This year I did the Hillbilly Half which was the first, and my brother lives in Portland (Oregon), so I went and visited him and did that race. That was the first one. The second one I did was the Helena (Montana) Don’t Fence Me In. We actually lived in Helena for a couple of years, so it’s home to me.

iRunFar: Feels like home a little bit?

Kjorstad: The trail system there is amazing, and the weather is always great, and the support is wonderful. I love that race, and did that one. Then I was thinking about the Vail Hill Climb, but this year it looked like there weren’t as many people in the mix as far as the Cup went, so I could maybe not do as many races and just do three and still eke by into the money. So, I risked it and took the gamble and just waited until the last one to come finish it out.

iRunFar: You had a great day here.

Kjorstad: I did have a great day here. It was fun. I feel like I earned my place into that, into the money. It was good.

iRunFar: You ran this race before. Is there… you’re kind of a local. You live in Jackson, Wyoming. Is there something that draws you back to the Jupiter Peak race? Is it that it suits your interest? Is it the terrain here?

Kjorstad: Yeah, it is a great time of the year. It’s beautiful. I’m a summer kind of girl, so I love the weather. The course does suit me. I love that solid downhill and the climb is… living in Jackson, I feel I have an advantage with the elevation, too. It’s kind of at similar elevations. I run a lot of similar trails in Jackson, so I have that advantage.

iRunFar: Everything is big climbs and big descents?

Kjorstad: Big climbs at higher elevations—it just feels like it’s a good race that suits me. Great support. On the trail today, there were mountain bikers and hikers and every single one of them was counting what female runner I was. Even just random hikers with their dogs, “You’re number 33 and first woman!” Every hiker I passed—it’s such a great community and a great support for their local athletes and local sports.

iRunFar: Last couple of questions for you. This is our first time interviewing you. I’d love to know a little bit of background on you. You’re a mom. You’re a physical therapist when you’re not being a mom.

Kjorstad: I am. Yes, I am. I’m a physical therapist. I stay at home with my son though, full-time now. I have a six-year-old little guy, and he’s super fun. He loves to run, too, so I’m hoping that will…

iRunFar: Rub off on him a little bit?

Kjorstad: Yeah. He keeps me busy when I’m not training.

iRunFar: What kind of racing are you into? The La Sportiva Mountain Cup is just short, grinding, really tough races with a lot of vertical. Are you into that style of racing or do you do other styles of races, too?

Kjorstad: Apparently I am.

iRunFar: “I didn’t know I was…”

Kjorstad: I’m kind of afraid of trying to do… I’m thinking about moving into the 50k longer stuff. I’m just so used to going hard and running hard, hurting suffer fests. I’ve heard… I feel like the longer things would be harder, but I’ve heard they’re nice because they’re not as fast. I’m thinking maybe… I don’t know. That distance doesn’t at all sound appealing to me, but maybe it would be a nice change of pace from these “shorter” 18 miles. It seems… but you still have to run them pretty intensely. Yeah, I might try to move up to the 50k this year or maybe 50 miles. We’ll see.

iRunFar: Experiments. Dangerous experiments.

Kjorstad: I’m signed up for The Rut 50k. I’m still a little nervous about it. For my first one it’s like an intense course.

iRunFar: It is a “go big”-type course for your first 50k.

Kjorstad: Go out with a bang, or go in with a bang.

iRunFar: You’re a mountain girl and used to trails in the Rocky Mountain region. Congratulations again.

Kjorstad: Thank you.

iRunFar: Enjoy your victory lap around Park City. Congrats on your second place in La Sportiva Mountain Cup this year, too.

Kjorstad: Thanks a lot.

Call for Comments

  • Did you run any of the 2015 LSMC races or participate in the Cup itself?
  • If so, which races? What did you think of them?
Meghan Hicks

Meghan Hicks is the Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar. She’s been running since she was 13 years old, and writing and editing about the sport for around 15 years. She served as iRunFar’s Managing Editor from 2013 through mid-2023, when she stepped into the role of Editor-in-Chief. Aside from iRunFar, Meghan has worked in communications and education in several of America’s national parks, was a contributing editor for Trail Runner magazine, and served as a columnist at Marathon & Beyond. She’s the co-author of Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running with Bryon Powell. She won the 2013 Marathon des Sables, finished on the podium of the Hardrock 100 Mile in 2021, and has previously set fastest known times on the Nolan’s 14 mountain running route in 2016 and 2020. Based part-time in Moab, Utah and Silverton, Colorado, Meghan also enjoys reading, biking, backpacking, and watching sunsets.