From Jason Bryant
LAUREL SPRINGS, N.C. - (August 29, 2009) - The USA 10K Trail Championship, hosted by the inaugural FootRx Continental Divide Trail Race, was run Saturday under perfect race conditions, upper 60s and sunny, and the competition came ready to race for turf titles. The overall winner of the day may have been the race course. The terrain was a mixture of everything from grass to fire roads to wide trails to tight single-track. The footing ranged from relatively smooth to highly technical. One first time trail runner remarked that a deer wouldn't run on that mountain trail. There was really nothing flat, it was either running up or down. Most descents were a 9-15% grade with one 150 meter section of 28.5% with two bigger climbs. The first big climb came just before halfway with a 1/4 mile climb at 18.5% and the second big climb came with just under a 1/2 mile to go. This climb was again 1/4 mile, but at over 22%, it was a grind. It included a 20 yard section that picked up its own nickname, The Rock Climb.
Everyone from the national champions to middle of the pack runners described the course as brutal, grinding, punishing, "the hardest race I have ever run," and really fun, in a warped, runner sort of way.
Speaking of winners, Michael Spence of Ogden, Utah came out to give trail racing a go in a big way. He led from early on and never looked back to win in 39 minutes, 52 seconds. A little further back, a group of three - Ryan Woods, Aaron Saft and David Riddle - fought hard for a top three placing. In the end, Wood's push on the faster sections after halfway was enough to hold off Saft to be national runner-up in 42:45 to 43:10 for Saft.
The woman's race was a nice battle early on between a few runners. Brandy Erholtz led the way through the first big climb. For Erholtz, it was a final tune-up before heading off to Italy for the World Mountain Running Championships on the U.S. team. In the second half of the race, Kristin Price of Raleigh, N.C. was able to get away for the win in 48:28, while Erholtz earned the runner-up slot in 49:18. Gina Lucrezi continued a great trail and mountain racing season with third place in 50:58.
The USA Masters champions were two Colorado friends, Andy Ames and Lisa Goldsmith, in 47:24 and 52:45, respectively.
Inaugural FootRx Continental Divide Trail Race: USA 10K Trail Championships
Laurel Springs, NC, Saturday, August 29, 2009
1) Michael Spence (UT), 39:52, $700
2) Ryan Woods (NC), 42:45, $800*
3) Aaron Saft (NC), 43:10, $500*
4) David Riddle (AL), 43:31, $200
5) Michael Bunker (NC), 46:45, $175*
USATF MASTERS Men (40+)
1) Andy Ames, 46, 47:24, $350
1) Kristin Price (NC), 48:28, $1000*
2) Brandy Erholtz (CO), 49:18, $500
3) Gina Lucrezi (CO), 50:58, $350
4) Amber Moran (NC), 51:48, $350*
5) Lisa Goldsmith, 44, CO, 52:45, $450
*also USATF North Carolina prize money
USATF MASTERS Women (40+)
1) Goldsmith, see above
For complete results, go to: www.continentaldividetrailrace.com or USA Championship results: USATF.org.