For the first time, iRunFar will be attending the US Mountain Running Championships (USMRC), which are being run on Mount Bachelor outside of Bend, Oregon this year.
Aside from determining the U.S. mountain running national champions, the race also sets the American squad to compete at the World Mountain Running Championships (WMRC) to be run in Wales on September 19. The women’s race consists of two laps of the 4-kilometer course totaling 8k.
The women’s race starts at 9 a.m. PDT, while the men start an hour later at 10 a.m. (Here’s our full preview of the men’s race.) We’ll be covering the races live on Saturday, July 25th.
Many thanks to Nike for their generous support of our 2015 US Mountain Running Championships coverage!
With last year’s champ Allie McLaughlan not returning, last year’s runner up and 2013 USMR champion Morgan Arritola (pre-race interview) must be the favorite for this year’s race. Morgan also happened to place third at the WRMC in 2012. (She won the US Mountain Running Team qualifier at Loon Mountain.) Originally from Bend, Arritola was previously a world-class Nordic skier, representing the U.S. in numerous events at the 2010 Winter Games. Back on the running front, Morgan was second at last year’s Pikes Peak Ascent and set a big course record at Bend’s Horse Butte 10 Miler in April.
Then, there’s Kasie Enman (pre-race interview) who’s taken third at the past two uphill-only USMRC (2012 and 2014). In the most recent up-and-down USMRC, she was 15th. Don’t hold that against her on this year’s up-and-down course as she was both the US and World Mountain Running champion in 2011 on up-and-down courses. We’ve increasingly seen Kasie at marathon-and-longer races, including runner-up finishes at last year’s Speedgoat (post-race interview) and Rut 50ks (post-race interview) as well as a win at the Whiteface Skymarathon last month.
Brandy Erholtz was runner up to Kim Dobson at the 2012 USMRC before taking 40th at the WMRC after taking 26th a year earlier at the world championships. Going back a few years, she’s won both the Barr Trail Mountain Race and the Pikes Peak Ascent. In 2014, she was third at the Moab Red Hot 33k, second at the 9-mile La Luz Trail Run, and sixth at the Pikes Peak Ascent.
Megan Kimmel has been a dominant mountain runner in the US for more than five years with success in Europe over the past few years, as well. For half a decade (probably longer, in fact) she won the La Sportiva Mountain Cup every year and most of the races she entered in it along the way. She’s run multiple USMRC, including taking fourth in 2013 before finishing 36th at the WMRC. Over the past couple years, Kimmel’s dabbled more in marathon and longer races, winner the USATF Trail Marathon championships last November at the Moab Trail Marathon, taking second at the TNF Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships last December (post-race interview), and, just this past weekend, winning and setting a new course record at the always competitive Dolomites Skyrace. [Late Entrant Added 7/22: Thanks, Mr. Roche. Edit to reflect prior USMRC experience.]
Ms. Kimmel’s not the only Megan to join the USMRC field the week of the race, as Megan Lund-Lizotte will now be racing on Saturday, as well. This Megan is no stranger to the USMRC. She was fourth in 2010 and 2011, sixth at 2013, and fifth last year with experience dating back even further. She’s also been a USATF Trail national champion, taking the marathon title in 2011 at Ashland’s Lithia Loop Marathon. [Late Entrant Added 7/22: Thanks, Mr. Roche.]
Mandy Ortiz (yes, she’s Anita’s daughter) (pre-race interview) is fresh off a third-place finish at this past weekend’s North American, Central America, and Caribbean (NACAC) Mountain Running Championships. Last year, she was third in the junior division at the WMRC after winning the race in 2013. She just finished her freshman year as a CU Buffalo where she was redshirted. I look forward to learning more about this youngster when I chat with her later this week.
Other Top Runners
- Anna Mae Flynn — 4th 2015 Way Too Cool 50k. [Added 7/22 Thanks, David Roche]
- Laura Haefeli — 3rd 2007 WMRC; 1st 2009 USMRC; 10th 2013 USMRC; 4th 2012 USMRC; 1st Barr Mountain Trail Race 2008 and 2013; previously strong competitor in the La Sportiva Mountain Cup.
- Carrie Hoblet — Former Big Ten Indoor 800m champ; 2nd and 3rd at 2014 and 2015 Dirt Half Marathon in Bend.
- Nicole Hunt — 3rd 2010 USMRC; 17th 2010 WMRC (Fun Fact: 2 seconds ahead of Anna Frost).
- Amanda Lee — 5th 2014 GoPro Mountain Games 10k; 25th 2014 USATF XC Championships.
- Christine Lundy — 5th 2013 USMRC; 29th 2013 WMRC; 3rd 2014 USATF Trail Marathon National Championships (Moab Trail Marathon); 2:41 marathoner (2004).
- Corrine Malcolm — Elite biathlete; 1st 2015 Bangtail Divide 38k.
- Kimber Mattox — 2014 XTERRA Trail World Champion; All-American Steeplechaser at University of Oregon. While new to the trail scene, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her mix it up with the more established stars noted above.
- Allison Morgan — New to Bend, a 32:46 10k, 1:13:10 half marathoner running what might be her first mountain race. [7/22 Edit: Update to 10k PR.]
- Anita Ortiz — Many time American team member at WMRCs; 2009 Western States 100 champ; currently injured with a minuscule chance of racing this weekend.
- Caitlin Smith — Over the last decade, Caitlin has be hitting the podium at La Sportiva Mountain Cup events, local trail races in California, and high-level ultras like the Way Too Cool 50k (2nd 2014) and The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Mile Championships (1st 2009).
Entered But Not Race
- Ashley Arnold – Running HURL Elkhorn 50k
Call for Comments
- Excited to follow this race?
- Who do you think will be the U.S. national champion?
- Know of any competitors in particular top form… or anyone who’s injured or won’t be racing after all?
- Please let us know of other top contenders. This is my first USMRC and I’m psyched to learn about additional racers!