NORTH CONWAY, NH – Runners from 21 different states will be at Cranmore Mountain this Saturday to compete in the US Mountain Running Championships. This will be the fifth time that Cranmore has hosted the prestigious National Championships. Top finishers will qualify for the US Mountain Running Team and compete at the World Mountain Running Championships this summer in Premana, Italy.
The championship takes place as part of the new two-day Cranmore Mountain Race weekend on June 3rd and 4th that will provide runners of all ages and abilities a chance to test their fitness on trails that reach up to a 50 percent grade ascending the mountain.
The weekend events start with a single lap, 5-kilometer race on Saturday the 3rd at 7:30 AM that ascends and descends the mountain once. This will be followed by the two-lap championship race for men at 8:45 and the women’s two-lap championship race at 10:30 AM. Both of these two-lap races are approximately 10 kilometers and will ascend and descend the mountain twice. Awards and after party for the race will take place at Tuckerman Brewing Company in Conway at 1pm Saturday.
On Sunday morning June 4th, the race weekend will continue with the Hair of the Dog Hill Climb, which will be an ascent-only race starting at 11 AM. The Meister Hut will be open for food and Tuckerman’s beers at the top of the mountain.
“This year’s championship races have some really strong competitors vying for spots on the US Mountain Running Team,” noted Paul Kirsch, Co-Race Director and staff member of the US Mountain Running Team. Kirsch has been directing a mountain race at Cranmore for the past 15 years including the four other times Cranmore has hosted the National Championships.
“Cranmore is such a great facility for a race like this. We can design a course that mimics the World Championships so that we are fielding the best possible team heading to Italy at the end of July,” continued Kirsch.
The race will see the return of last year’s National Champions, Joe Gray of Colorado Springs, CO and Addie Bracy of Longmont, CO. Gray was also last year’s World Champion and member of the first ever Gold Medal US Men’s Team in 2016. Bracy helped the Women’s Team to a Bronze Medal at last year’s World Championships. Other notable competitors in the men’s race include Andy Wacker of Boulder, CO, Brett Hales of Layton, UT and David Fuentes of Austin, TX, who were members of the 2016 Gold Medal Team. They will be competing against other top runners such as Patrick Smythe of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Cole Watson of Ashland, OR, Payton Batliner of Denver, CO, Trevor Ricks of Provo, UT, Zachary Ornelas of Ann Arbor, MI, and Matt Williams of Colorado Springs, CO.
In the women’s race, Bracy will be competing against top runners Kasie Enman of Huntington, VT, the 2011 World Champion, Julia Webb of Beaverton, OR, Morgan Sjogren of Mancos, CO, Sandi Nypaver of Boulder, CO, and Samantha Doner of Mammoth Lakes, CA.
This year’s championship races feature a second “race within the race”, namely the Collegiate Running Association (CRA) Mountain Running Championships. One of the founders of the CRA, Steve Taylor, will be in attendance at Cranmore.
"We are looking forward to another great Collegiate Mountain Running National Championship.” stated Taylor. “This will be the fourth year the top collegiate mountain runners will compete for not only the Collegiate National Championship, but also the U.S. National Championship while trying to earn a spot on the U.S. Mountain Running Team for the World Championships later this fall. The top collegians have made their presence known each of the past three years with 11 earning spots to the USATF Junior and Senior teams in the first three years of the Collegiate Running Association (CRA) hosting their championships concurrently with the U.S. Championships”
Taylor continued, “One of the goals of the CRA is to expand opportunities for college students and provide opportunities in mountain, trail and road racing while providing prize money specifically reserved for college students (Permissible under NCAA D1 legislation since 2013). The combination of opportunities within the Cranmore Mountain Race makes it a destination event and we expect another exceptional field this year as the collegians compete for $3,000 (1st-$750/2nd-$500/3rd-$250) in prize money for the CRA Championships. Additionally, we are excited to host another ConnectCRA event as part of the post-race awards ceremony where athletes, family, friends and spectators can gather following the races."
All events, including the championship races, are open to anyone to participate. To register for any of the races, visit acidoticRACING.com . In addition, day of registration will also be available.
To qualify to be a member of the US Mountain Running Team, a runner must have a current USATF 2017 membership, be a citizen of the United States and be eligible to represent the United States in international competition.
More information about the Cranmore Mountain Race can also be found on the race’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/cranmoremountainrace