If State College, Pennsylvania is sometimes referred to as Happy Valley, then nearby the Rothrock State Forest must be home to the Angry Mountains. The Rothrock Trail Challenge is the most technical trail race I’ve ever run. No joke. Lotsa tears. Ok, no tears, but definitely some nightmares! The first 4 miles of rocks claimed at least one digital camera and two runners. I know, because I was one of the runners and it was my camera. When the rocks weren’t beating up the top runners, they were beating each other into submission. It was the fourth race in this year’s La Sportiva Mountain Cup after all.
I’ll begin our LSMC race coverage by giving you the scoop on how the race went. Next, I’ll give you an update on the Mountain Cup standings. I’ll then move on to our giveaway contest (La Sportiva Fireblades this go around) before calling for your comments and finishing up with the full La Sportiva Mountain Cup schedule.
As a bonus, we’ve got video interview with Jason Bryant, a top mountain runner who finished second at Rothrock. In the interview he talks about his race before concluding with some advice for beginner trail runners.
When I say that Rothrock was one heck of a challenging course, I’m not embellishing. Some of the Mountain Cup’s top runners – experienced, proficient trail runners – echoed my thoughts:
- “That’s more than technical…. I just think it’s insane. This is Rock2Rock [last week’s LSMC race] times five.” Alison Bryant – Women’s Mountain Cup leader
- “That was one of the toughest courses that I’ve ever run.” Michael Selig – Fourth place at Rothrock and in the Mountain Cup.
The men’s race was a battle from the gun and got more interesting as the race went on. Mountain Cup regular Matt Byrne “tried to hang with Jacob Loverich as long as [he] could.” Loverich is a local State College cyclist who was running only his second trail race. (He even rode his bike to the race… it was only 20 minutes.) Byrne was running for the win and felt good for the first two hours. Around mile 13 he started falling back and his last 50 minutes were “tough.” It was then that Loverich pulled away for the win in 2:46:54.
Byrne first fell behind Michael Selig and then Jason Bryant. After much shuffling of position, Bryant moved into second where’s he’d finish with a time of 2:51:34. Byrne (2:52:21) passed Selig (2:54:50) to take third not far behind Bryant. James Rayburn (3:00:32) of York, Pennsylvania was the top master and fifth overall.
Running her third Mountain Cup of season, Alison Bryant crested the first climb in first and then the reality that “it was not [her] course” kicked in. Three women passed her in the sketchy descent that followed. (If she was using an over abundance of caution on this descent, I can’t blame her. This is the same hill on which I fell hard, as did the person immediately behind me… after seeing me slip.) Alison passed all but one woman back on the second climb. This pattern repeated for miles as she would fall back to fourth on the descents and regain second on the ensuing ascent. She would eventually take the middle ground, finishing third in 3:46:51.
As in the men’s race, a State College resident won the women’s race. Meira Minard’s 3:34:17 was enough to put her ahead of yet another local State College runner, Kim Walter (3:44:44), by just over 10 minutes. Caitlin Strahota was fourth in 3:53:39, while Jennifer Fleming (3:59:07) was fifth. Tammy McGaughey (4:28:46) was the top master’s woman.
Official results from the 2010 Rothrock Trail Challenge are available.
La Sportiva Mountain Cup Standings
I’ve calculated the overall series standings through three Mountain Cup races ourselves. These are NOT official, but they should be pretty close. I’m still holding off on masters standings until more masters competitors have returned… though we believe Tadd Morris has just overtaken Bernie Boettcher for the lead.
There’s a change atop the men’s Mountain Cup rankings as Matt Byrne takes advantage of Ryan Woods’ off week to take over the top spot. Note that only a runner’s top five races count and Byrne has run four races to Woods’ three. With his strong second place showing, Jason Bryant widened the gap between himself and fourth place. Michael Selig capitalized on on his fourth place at Rothrock and 2 bonus points to move into sole possession of fourth. Selig has run only two races. Jacob Loverich took advantage of a bonus point rich field to move right into fifth in the Mountain Cup standings. Here are iRunFar’s Unofficial Standings:
- Matt Byrne – 79 pts in 4 races (19 pts at Rothrock for 3rd including 4 bonus pts for beating Selig and Morris)
- Ryan Woods – 63 pts in 3 races (Did not run Rothrock)
- Jason Bryant – 62 pts in 4 races (23 pts at Rothrock for 2nd including 6 bonus pts for beating Byrne, Selig, and Morris)
- Michael Selig – 30 pts in 2 races (15 pts at Rothrock for 24th including 2 bonus pts for beating Morris)
- Jacob Loverich – 28 pts in 1 race (28 pts at Rothrock for 1st including 8 bonus pts for beating Bryant, Byrne, Selig, and Morris)
By placing third in her third LSMC race of the season, Alison Bryant of North Carolina has jumped past Megan Kimmell and Rachel Cieslewicz and into the series lead. Bryant has run one more race than each of those women. On the strength of her win at Rothrock, Meira Minard moved into fifth in the series. Here are iRunFar’s Unofficial Standings:
- Alison Bryant – 46 pts in 3 races (15 pts for 3rd at Rothrock)
- Megan Kimmell – 37 pts in 2 races (Did not run Rothrock)
- Rachel Cieslewicz – 28 pts in 2 races (Did not run Rothrock)
- Laura Haefeli – 24 pts in 1 race (Did not run Rothrock)
- Meira Minard – 22 pts in 1 race (22 pts for 1st including 2 bonus pts for beating Bryant)
The official LSMC standings are available here (pdf). In case you are interested, here’s a link to the official scoring rules.
Video Interview with Jason Bryant
Last week’s Mountain Cup giveaway was for a pair of La Sportiva Raptors. Hopefully, Heidi Dietrich of Seattle, Washington can make use of a pair.
After Rothrock, Ian Achey from La Sportiva was telling me how the low profile of the Fireblade’s outsole is great for gripping rock face. I could have used them last weekend. You’ve now got a chance to win yourself a pair of these great low profile, but not “minimalist” trail running shoes. (iRF Fireblade review)
To enter the contest, simply leave your name and town (in the US or Canada) in a comment before we report on Barr Trail Mountain Race held on Sunday, July 18th. As a reminder, if you enter to win the Fireblades, 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.
Call for Comments
If you ran the Rothrock Trail Challenge, please leave a comment letting everyone know how you did and what you think about the race. Past racers are invited to comment, too!