“Donuts, Dirt, and Epic Trail Running …” promises the tagline of the Mammoth Trail Fest, three elements we all know will make trail runners come running.
Registration opened on Tuesday, May 3, for the new event, which will take place for the first time in Mammoth Lakes, California, in late September 2022. The event is the brainchild of runner Tim Tollefson, who is fulfilling a long-time personal ambition with its creation.
He told iRunFar: “After spending nearly a decade traveling the globe to run some of the biggest and most competitive ultramarathons, I wanted to create something locally here in California to share all of my love of trail running and the Eastern Sierra, to help cultivate the community around these mountain events, and to have it stateside. A lot of people will never have the opportunity to travel abroad to experience some of these big races, and here in Mammoth Lakes we have the perfect opportunity to create something of that scale.”
The feature race is the Mammoth 50k, kicking off at 8 a.m. on Saturday, September 24, packing 8,000 feet of height gain in a single loop. The beautiful course meanders through forests and lakes, with a mix of tricky technical trails and pleasant singletrack. Although the $8,000 prize pot will prove tempting to speedy folks, the race also promises generous cut-offs, making it an all-inclusive event for all abilities.
Also on offer are the McCoy 26k, another single-loop course covering 16.5 miles with 4,000 feet of elevation, and the Dragon’s Back Ascent, a vertical-kilometer-style race to the top of Mammoth Mountain.
Tollefson took inspiration for his festival of running and mountain appreciation from events like The Rut Mountain Runs at Big Sky Resort, Montana, and the Broken Arrow Skyrace at Palisades Tahoe, California.
He said, “What we have here in the Eastern Sierra is incredible high alpine trail running, with Europe-style peaks overlooking the course, and so it’s cool that you can be in California and have that experience.”
The timing of the event in late September should make for a lively end-of-season celebration, with talks, films, and social events planned alongside the racing. Mammoth Lakes already has a budding trail running community, with a group that meets for weekly runs. And Tollefson hopes that the Mammoth Trail Fest will help launch that community further, making Mammoth Lakes one of the new hubs of North American trail running.