by Dave Dunham
Excitement is high as the USA Mountain running championships return to New England. The championships were last held in New Hampshire at Loon Mountain in 2014. The challenging 6 mile course with nearly 3,000’ of climb will be used again this year. The race will not only be used to select the U.S. team for the world mountain running championships but will also determine the US champions for both teams and individuals in a number of age groups. As a senior runner (age 50-59) I’m most interested in my age group. As a member of the Central Mass Striders I’m also interested in the masters category (age 40-49) as we have a number of runners who may have a shot at taking home medals. CMS has done well at the Mountain running champs scoring Gold in the Open, Masters, and Seniors in 2014 and Gold in the masters in 2013. It is not an easy task to handicap a mountain race as road race times may not indicate an ability at Mountain Running. Loon is especially hard to predict as top runners need to be strong climbers but also have to be able to run fast (2 miles of “cross country”) and have to be good at descending (about 700’ of drop). I’ve only researched USATF entrants as of 06-27-16.
I think the best chances for medals in the masters would be Tim Van Orden, Todd Callaghan, Chris Grauch, Ethan Nedeau, and Ivan Marsh. All have solid road times and/or track along with trail running. Van Orden has won all of the USATF NE mountain series races this year. Callaghan has been very close to Van Orden in all of the mountain series and recently set a personal best at Mt Washington. Grauch is the returning Mountain champion and also was the USA masters trail marathon champion in 2015. Marsh has solid ½ marathon and 10k times and also has Tower Climbing credentials.
The senior competition is pretty wide open with most of the top guys from the USATF NE mountain series in contention. The series has had four different senior winners in the first four races. All of the races have been very close. There is potential for a lot of back and forth during the race as the stronger XC runners do well early and the stronger climbers making up ground late. Dave Dunham, Erik Vandendries, Jeff Hunt, Ed Sheldon, and Dan Verrington all represent the CMS club and any could end up on the podium. Christopher Smith (SRR) and Jeff Walker (Dirigo) also are in the medal hunt.
Potential Top masters and seniors (alpha order) for the USA Mountain running championships @ Loon Mountain 07-03-16
Unless otherwise noted times are from 2016 and places are for MASTERS.
Jim Boule (acidotic Racing): 4th at Wachusett Mountain, 6th @ 2015 Loon Mountain, 10th @ 2014 Loon Mountain
Steve Brightman: 3rd @ Ascutney, 3rd @ 2015 Loon Mountain, 8th @ 2014 Loon Mountain, 2:54 Boston Marathon, 1:18 ½ marathon
Peter Burke (Dirigo): 2:56 Boston marathon, 17:28 5k, 60:54 10 mile
Todd Callaghan (CMS) : PR 1:11:24 @ Mt Washington, 2nd @ Sleepy Hollow, 2nd @ Wachusett, 2nd @ Pack, 2nd @ Ascutney, 1st @ 2015 Loon, 4th @ 2014 Loon.
Chad Carr (CRC) : 1:14:53 @ Mt Washington, 1:04:40 USATF NE trail champs, 16:09 5k
Chris Grauch (Boulder, CO): 3rd 2014 Loon, 1st 2015 USATF trail marathon, 1st 2016 Boulder Mountain 10m ascent, 1st2015 USA Mountain championships (Bend OR), 34:30 10k at Altitude
Ivan Marsh (LRC Racing): 1:15 ½ marathon, 34:21 10k, 1st o’all Omaha Tower Climb, 1:13 ½ marathon in 2015
Ethan Nedeau (Acidotic Racing): 2nd 2015 Loon, 6th 2014 Loon, 9:26 3,000 meters & 4:43 1,500 meters 2016, 5th o’all & 1st40+ at Pineland Farms 25k trail, 1st 40-44 2015 OCR world championships
James Pawlicki (CMS): 5th @ Wachusett, 4th @ 2015 Loon , 7th @ 2014 Loon (was age 39 would have been 7th master), 16:20 5k & 2:52 marathon, 1:17 ½ marathon
Tim Van Orden (CMS): 1st @ Sleepy Hollow, Wachusett, Pack, and Ascutney, 2nd @ USATF NE trail championships, 2nd @ 2013 USA Mountain Champs (Cranmore NH), 16:31 5k, 34:02 10k.
Unless otherwise noted times are from 2016 and places are for SENIORS.
Dave Dunham (CMS): 3rd Mt Washington 1:12:05, 2nd @ Sleepy Hollow, 2nd @ Wachusett, 2nd @ Pack, 1st @ Ascutney, 1st 2015 Loon, 1st 2014 Loon, 1st 2013 US Mountain running champs (45-49)
E J Hrynowski (GLRR): 1:26 Mt Washington, 2:59 Boston Marathon, 1:20 ½ marathon, 17:23 5k in 2015, 5th 2015 Loon, 5th2014 Loon
Jeff Hunt (CMS): 3rd @ Wachusett, 1:15:51 Mt Washington, 3rd 2015 Loon, 1st 2014 USA Trail Marathon championships
Ed Sheldon (CMS): 1st @ Pack, 2nd @ Ascutney, 6th @ Sleepy Hollow, 7th @ Wachusett, 1:19 ½ marathon, 17:37 5k, 2:58marathon in 2015, 2:52 marathon in 2014
Christopher Smith (SRR): 1:18:05 Mt Washington, 17:30 5k, 36:58 10k, 4th @ Sleepy Hollow, 4th @ Wachusett, 3rd @ Pack
Erik Vandendries (CMS): 2nd Mt Washington 1:11:51, 1st @ Wachusett, 3rd @ Sleepy Hollow, 2nd 2015 Loon, 2nd 2014 Loon.
Dan Verrington (CMS): 16:59 5k, 35:27 10k, 1:19 Mt Washington, 1st @ USATF NE trail championships, 2:48 marathon in 2015, 4th 2015 Loon, 3rd 2014 Loon
Jeff Walker (Dirigo): 1st @ Sleepy Hollow, 6th @ Wachusett, 3rd @ Ascutney, 37:52 10k, 2nd @ USATF NE trail championships
Feature image by Joe Viger