Inaugural U.S. Collegiate Trail Championships to be Held at 2023 Moab Trail Half Marathon

Entries are open for the first annual U.S. Collegiate Trail Championships, to be held at the 2023 Moab Trail Half Marathon.

By on October 4, 2023 | Comments

The inaugural U.S. Collegiate Trail Championships will take place on November 4, 2023, in conjunction with the Moab Trail Half Marathon in Moab, Utah. Both individuals and teams from all universities and colleges throughout the U.S. are invited to take part.

Prompted by the growth of the Trail Running Team at Western Colorado University (WCU), the hoped-to-be annual championships aim to act as a catalyst for the development of trail running programs and teams at various higher level institutions throughout the U.S., and to provide such teams with an end goal worth aiming toward. Josh Eberly, head coach of the Trail Running Team at WCU, who is at the helm of developing these championships, told iRunFar:

“We’re working with the race director from the Moab Trail Marathon, Danelle Ballengee, and over the last few weeks we’ve been trying to get some criteria out for this first year. We just launched registration and details on the Moab Trail Marathon website.” He went on:

“The big thing is, I really want to focus on the team element, and encourage more colleges to introduce this trail team environment. However, this year, because the event is soon, we thought it may be good to introduce some individuals too that still fit the criteria, but maybe can’t put together a team of four in a few weeks.”

Western Colorado University - 2022 Moab Trail Marathon

Runners from the Western Colorado University Trail Running Team at the 2022 Moab Trail Marathon, which will be the host event for the inaugural Collegiate Trail Championships. All photos courtesy of Josh Eberly.

While this year’s championships may start small, Eberly hopes it will be a good launching pad and said: “If there’s three teams or there’s 10, I’ll be fine with that. I just want to start somewhere.”

In order to meet the criteria, entrants must be enrolled in a university/college as a student (undergraduate or post-graduate) and be enrolled in a minimum of six current credits per athlete. The team championships are for mixed teams, and teams will be scored on their top two male and female finishers, but are free to enter more runners. All teams must wear an identifiable singlet or team uniform.

Although the championships will take place as part of an open race at the already popular Moab Trail Half Marathon, all collegiate runners will start in a designated USATF Trail Half Marathon Championships wave at 10 a.m.

The open race is full, but there are still places held for collegiate runners and teams, who should email [email protected] to receive a link to register. Or for more information, reach out to Josh Eberly at [email protected].

For the WCU Trail Running Team, the fall semester and season of training and racing is well underway. Eberly said, “We’re weeks deep in practice now. We did a team trip over to Ouray, to the San Juan Mountains, we did The Cirque Series ─ Arapahoe Basin the first week back, and we competed at the Golden Trail World Series Pikes Peak Ascent race. We brought 14 athletes to Pikes Peak and got them to compete and get to the top in one piece, there was awesome energy at it, and it was a great start to the season so far.”

Although they have other events on the calendar, the main focus for the WCU Trail Running Team is the new Collegiate Trail Championships in November. Are you a student or faculty member from another college, and think you can challenge them for the team win? If so, now is the time to sign up!

Western Colorado University - 2023 Cirque Series - Arapahoe Basin

Runners from the Western Colorado University Trail Running Team at the 2023 Cirque Series – Arapahoe Basin race.

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.