USATF’s Mountain Ultra Trail Executive Committee unanimously voted on November 6, to accept the bid from Visit Bend to host the 2015 USA Mountain Running Championships on July 25 in Bend, Oregon.
“We’re honored to have the opportunity to host the USA Track & Field and Collegiate Mountain Running Championships in Bend at Mt. Bachelor,” explained Kevney Dugan, Visit Bend’s Director of Sales & Sports Development. “Bend is the ultimate outdoor playground, and Mt. Bachelor is a perfect example of the amazing terrain we are so fortunate to offer. The Mountain Running Championships are an excellent opportunity to showcase the city to a new group of athletes and recreation enthusiasts.”
This is the 12th year for the mountain champs and the furthest west the event has ever been held. Only Colorado and New Hampshire have previously hosted the mountain championships.
The event in 2015 will be held at Mt. Bachelor Ski Area and will feature a four-kilometer loop course with approx 800’ climbing. Designed by 2011 World Mountain Running Champion and Bend resident Max King, the terrain is primarily single track on the uphill portion with a short section of dirt road at the top of the loop and a mix of single track and dirt road on the descent. The course is akin to a figure eight although at no time does the loop cross over itself.
Women will run two loops, men three loops. There will be separate starts for the men and women, and also a citizen’s race of one loop (4 kilometers). Non-USATF runners can participate in the women’s race, the men’s race, or the citizen’s open race, but only the USATF-registered runners would qualify for the USATF Championships division and awards.
The course profile mirrors the 2015 World Mountain Running Championships course which will be run in Wales on September 19, 2015. The Mountain Championships in Bend will be the sole selection race for the U.S. Mountain Running Team where the top six men and top four women to finish will earn berths to the team (provided they are USATF members and eligible to represent USA in international competition).
Richard Bolt, U.S. Mountain Running Team Leader and part-time Bend resident said, “Having worked closely with Visit Bend and Superfit Productions on six USATF trail and ultra championships since 2010, I’m really excited to bring our mountain championships to Bend, Oregon. This community doesn’t just support top level off-road running events; they jump in and join the fun! The mix of top level talent from around the country and huge local running fan base is sure to make this event a huge success. The USA Mountain Running Championships has become the fastest sub-ultra trail running race in the country and with this new West Coast venue is sure to attract even more elite talent.”
Another added element in Bend will be the inclusion of the second annual Collegiate Running Association Mountain Running Championships – the inaugural event was held last year at Loon Mountain. A prize purse of $6,000 specifically reserved for college students will be up for grabs in addition to the $5,000 for the USATF Championships division. The CRA national championship is open to any college student enrolled in at least one college course at any level in the spring or summer of 2015. The breakdown for the $6,000 CRA prize purse is for men and women as follows: first through fifth place breakdown – $1,000, $750, $600, $400, $250.
Says Steve Taylor, CRA President and Co-Founder, “We are very excited to announce our 2015 Mountain Running Championships will be held in Bend, Oregon, in conjunction with the U.S. Mountain Running Championships and U.S. Mountain Running Team (USMRT) selection race. Our organization has members in 47 states and we are excited to bring one of our premier championships to the West Coast. We’ve received requests from our membership to host an event in the West and we couldn’t be more excited to find a home for our championships in a trail and mountain running mecca like Bend, Oregon.
“This event will combine the U.S. and collegiate national championships giving mountain running advocates an opportunity for a wonderful prize purse along with the opportunity for collegians and post collegians to earn their way on to the U.S. Mountain Running Team for the 31st World Mountain Running Championships to be hosted by Wales,” continued Taylor, “This will be a great opportunity and destination for college students. In 2014, four college students earned their way onto the U.S. team and it is our hope to have an even larger number in 2015. Additionally, we look forward to the growth of collegiate mountain running and college students taking advantage of this new opportunity the CRA provides specifically for them. Bend is an ideal location for our championships. College students; make your travel plans. We’ll see you in Oregon next summer.”
Adds Jon Molz, CRA Vice President and Co-Founder, “We had tremendous success in 2014 at our first two national championships in Richmond, VA, and Lincoln, NH, respectively. Expanding our reach on the West Coast has been a goal of ours so this is very exciting. The opportunity to host our championship alongside the US Mountain Running Championships in a Team USA selection race once again is a dream come true. Not only can our members compete for a prize purse specifically reserved for college students, but they can also compete for a chance to wear the red, white, and blue in international competition – one of the ultimate honors in our sport.”
For information on this year’s championships in Bend, click here. To follow the U.S. Mountain Running program visit www.usatf.org, and www.usmrt.com. For details on the Collegiate Mountain Running Championships, visit this link.
A list of past US Mountain Running Championships follows.
2014 – Joe Gray and Allie McLaughlin – Loon Mountain Race, NH
2013 – Joe Gray and Morgan Arritola – Cranmore Hill Climb, NH
2012 – Sage Canaday and Kim Dobson – Mount Washington, NH
2011 – Max King and Kasie Enman – Cranmore Hill Climb
2010 – Chris Siemers and Kristin Price – Mount Washington
2009 – Joe Gray and Christine Lundy – Cranmore Hill Climb
2008 – Eric Blake and Brandy Erholtz – Mount Washington
2007 –Rickey Gates and Anita Ortiz – Cranmore Hill Climb
2006 – Eric Blake and Nicole Hunt – Mount Washington
2005 – Not held
2004 – Paul Low and Erica Larson – Mount Washington
2003 – Peter De La Cerda and Anita Ortiz – Vail Hill Climb