A Search for 2024’s Elite Trail Runners: Applications Open for The Trail Team

Applications are open to U.S.-based runners to join The Trail Team, Andy Wacker’s mentorship and support program for up-and-coming elites.

By on January 25, 2024 | Comments

The Trail Team is recruiting for the next round of up-and-coming trail running elites, who are looking to take the next step on their running journey! If that sounds like you, applications are open now, through February 4, 2024.

The Trail Team was founded in 2023 by four-time USATF national champion Andy Wacker, and it aims to develop and support promising U.S.-based trail runners ages 20 to 30, often emerging from collegiate running and looking for where to go as a next step.

Andy Wacker racing at the USA Track and Field Championships.

Andy Wacker racing the 2022 USATF Vertical Mountain Running Championships held at the Loon Mountain Race. Photo: Mike Scott

As the team’s Instagram put it, “Providing mentorship, skill development, media exposure, as well as travel assistance The Trail Team aims to bridge the gap for post-collegiate athletes and create a pipeline to pro trail running.”

The focus is on those running sub-ultramarathon distances, and the six applicants selected will benefit from coaching and mentorship, assistance with travel and accommodation for goal races, training camps, as well as media coverage and connections.

In turn, it is asked that applicants be willing to dedicate considerable time to training and attending camps, commit to running clean and complying with World Anti-Doping Agency/United States Anti-Doping Agency testing, and be willing to help and support their peers on their own running journeys.

For 2023, the elite runners selected to be part of The Trail Team were Sam Hendry, Alex Lawson, Christian Allen, Anna Gibson, Lauren Gregory, and Meikael Beaudoin-Rousseau.

Meikael Beaudoin-Rousseau - 2023 Moab Trail Half Marathon men's winner

Meikael Beaudoin-Rousseau, the 2023 Moab Trail Half Marathon winner. Photo: Aktiva Sport Photography

The team had a great 2023. As an example, Beaudoin-Rousseau finished on the podium at both the 2023 Broken Arrow Skyrace 23k, part of last year’s World Mountain Running Association World Cup, as well as the 2023 Mammoth Trail Fest 26k, a stop on last year’s Golden Trail World Series. He also won the Moab Trail Half Marathon, which served as the 2023 USATF Trail Half Marathon National Championships.

Gibson placed second at the 2023 Broken Arrow Skyrace 23k and won the Broken Arrow Vertical Kilometer on the same weekend. She also took third at the 2023 Pikes Peak Ascent, another race in last year’s Golden Trail World Series.

The rest of The Trail Team, too, had plenty of other top results.

They are now ready to pass the torch to the next group of athletes — with mentors Wacker, Allie McLaughlin, Adam Peterman, and Grayson Murphy on hand to provide guidance and support.

If you are interested, you can find more information on The Trail Team’s website, and applications are open through February 4.

Allie McLaughlin - 2022 World Mountain Running Championships Up and Down third place

Allie McLaughlin of the U.S. on her way to taking third at the 2022 World Mountain Running Championships Up and Down race. McLaughlin is one of the mentors for new athletes on The Trail Team. Photo: iRunFar/Meghan Hicks

Sarah Brady

Sarah Brady is Managing Editor at iRunFar. She’s been working in an editorial capacity for ten years and has been a trail runner for almost as long. Aside from iRunFar, she’s worked as an editor for various educational publishers and written race previews for Apex Running, UK, and RAW Ultra, Ireland. Based in Belfast, Ireland, Sarah is an avid mountain runner and ultrarunner and competes at distances from under 10k to over 100k. When not running, she enjoys reading, socializing, and hanging out with her dog, Angie, and cat, Judy.