Heavenly Runs at Mount Diablo 25k

La Sportiva Mountain CupThis past weekend the La Sportiva Mountain Cup (iRF’s LSMC coverage) headed clear across the country for the Mount Diablo 25k run just a few miles east of Oakland, California. There on the flanks of the aptly-named Mount Diablo the LSMC participants would face an even greater challenge than they did last week at the Rock2Rock Run – 4,450′ of elevation gain in just 25k. Fortunately, unseasonable cool temperatures beneath a marine layer set the stage for course record crushing performances… but with the talent being attracted to the LSMC races that’s becoming the trend regardless of the weather!

Mount Diablo 25k elevation profileMount Diablo 25k elevation profile (click to enlarge)

With the bump up in distance Tom Haxton of Philadelphia stepped up his game. He won the Mount Diablo race after finishing 6th at the Rock2Rock Run. Haxton beat out last week’s LSMC race winner, Shiloh Mielke (Vasque), by just 15 seconds over the nearly 2 hour race (1:52:23 vs. 1:52:38)! Both efforts bettered shattered Gavin Hoch’s 5-year-old course record of 2:12:52 by over 20 minutes. Apparently both runners were still side-by-side as they came within sight of the finish line with Shiloh only backing off the pace once it became apparent that Tom would win. A full twelve minutes back of the leaders, local Chris Vizcaino rounded out the top three in his first LSMC race on the year. Chris and fourth-place Chikara Omine (2:09:46) also sped under Hoch’s previous course record. In the men’s masters race, Will Gotthardt of California marked the ageless Tom Borschel (La Sportiva) to Mount Diablo’s summit before pulling away on the descent to earn the victory by four plus minutes (2:13:38 vs 2:18:02).

Shiloh Mielke Tom Haxton Jason Reed Mount Diablo 50kShiloh Mielke (2nd) and Tom Haxton (1st) out for cool down,
while Jason Reed (12th) nears the finish.

Like Haxton, La Sportiva runner Caitlin Smith of California made her 2009 La Sportiva Mountain Cup debut at the Mount Diablo 50k. Also like Haxton, she won the race and set a course record in the process (2:16:46). Beverly Zimmermann set the previous course record of 2:30:14 in 2002. Heck, Caitlin was only 3 minutes off the existing men’s record! That said, course records are nothing new for Caitlin – she set one just a week earlier at the tough Ohlone 50k.

Caitlin Smith Mount Diablo 50kCaitlin Smith charging up a hill en route to the win

Keri Nelson, also of La Sportiva, improved one spot on her Rock2Rock finish by being the second woman across the line (2:22:26). Keri briefly passed Caitlin about half way up Mount Diablo before Ms. Smith took control of the race. Rachel Cieslewicz of Salt Lake City finished third in 2:26:22. Lisa Goldsmith edged out Sharon Kovar for the top masters women’s spot (2:39:51 to 2:42:49).

If you want to see some great pictures from the Mount Diablo course, check out those taken by La Sportiva runner, Leor Pantilat, on race morning.

La Sportiva Mountain Cup Standings
Granted we’re only two races into the LSMC, but Shiloh Mielke and Tom Haxton have jumped into the series lead. Our back of the envelope calculations (literally) show Shiloh in the lead with 37 points (20 for the win at R2R and 17 for second here), while Tom has 32 points (10 for 6th last week, 20 for this week’s win, and 2 bonus points for beating Mielke who was in the LSMC top 10 going in the race).

As the only top women’s runner to compete in both LSMC events so far this season, Keri Nelson of Colorado easily leads the Cup standings with 32 points (15 for third last week and 17 for second this week). Caitlin Smith is in second with 22 points (20 for winning Mount Diablo and 2 for beating Keri). Megan Kimmel is in third with 20 points based on her win at Rock2Rock.

The official La Sportiva Mountain Cup standings will be available here. There’s no LSMC race next week, so check back in two weeks from now when we report on the Mount Washington Road Race… a “short” road race worthy of iRunFar coverage.

iRunFar.com La Sportiva Mountain Cup Contest
La Sportiva shoesLa Sportiva WildcatOk, ok, we know you’re anxious to find out who won last week’s contest for a pair of La Sportiva Crosslites. Well, it was Owen Schuh of San Jose, California. Enjoy your Crosslites, Owen!

As Sarah Spelt who puts on the Mount Diablo would recommend La Sportiva’s Wildcat on the mountain, that’s what we’re giving away this week. [We since come to learn that the women’s Mount Diablo champion, Caitlin Smith, wore the Wildcat for her course record performance!] If you want to storm some mountains of your own in a free pair of Wildcats this summer, just leave your name and town (in the US or Canada) in a comment before we post a recap of the Mount Washington Road Run in two weeks. As a reminder, if you enter to win the pair of Wildcats, you’ll automatically be eligible to win the grand prize at the end of August.

Final Thoughts

  • Did anyone run Mount Diablo – be it the 8k, 25k, or 50k? If so, what did you think?
  • So far only a few top runners have run multiple La Sportiva Mountain Cup. Who else might be vying for the overall crown by summer’s end?
  • Anyone tried the Wildcat? If so, how’d you like it?