Montrail 6k Uphill Challenge

by EJN Comments (1) Articles, Racing

Guest blog by Todd Callaghan

View of Squaw Mt from Todd’s hotel.

I flew out to pace my friend Eric Litvin in the Western States Endurance Run and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the race sponsor, Montrail, was also putting on a mountain race, the Montrail Uphill 6K Challenge. I asked my runner if it was OK and he enthusiastically told me to go for it.

We arrived in Squaw Valley on Thursday night, so when I opened the shades Friday morning at the Resort at Squaw Creek, the expanse of mountains and tall pines in the early morning sun were awesome! I just stood there smiling.

We headed up the Squaw Valley Resort at about 7 AM so I could register and the place was buzzing with an amazing hive of ultrarunners. Just moving my eyes from left to right I saw Rob Krar, Magda Lewy-Boulet, Michael Wardian, and Aliza LaPierre. most of them were just chilling the day before their big race, but some of the elite pacers were registering for the Uphill Challenge (e.g., Ryan Ghelfi) and at least one guy, Gary Gellin, was going to do the Uphill and then the 100 miler the next day.

I was a little out of my element with this race which would start at roughly 5500′ and quickly ascend to the Pinnacle at over 8000′. I scoped out the beginning of the course and determined two things: 1) the 90-degree heat was going to hellacious in the open scrub at the 10 AM start and 2) the half mile boulder field at 15-25% grade was going to be tricky. I wisely opted to run with a water bottle, something I never have to do here on the East Coast.

I lined up conservatively about 3 rows back from the studs up front. The gun went off and I was instantly about 40 people back, even behind some 10-year old kids. I used the brief flat section at the start to work my way up to top 20 by the time the single track started. A dust cloud hovered over the trail and filled my lungs. I quickly got myself caught in a logjam at the boulders and like a good Masshole, loudly exhorted my stalled fellow runners clogging the artery to “keep it moving.”

Given that we are about half way through the New England Mountain Running Series, and I’ve got some good races under me at this point in the season, my legs felt springy going uphill and I threw caution to the wind and started passing people like a madman (I thin the Yiddish term is “meshugenah’) and never stopped running when the boulders transitioned to steep rocky slabs. Luckily they were interspersed with runnable dirt single track where I was able to pass a few guys, including Gary Gellin, who tried to keep me back by extending his left arm and I gave him a hearty East Coast elbow to his skinny ribs (and then apologized).

Despite the elevation, I was feeling great. I passed so many west coast guys who were walking (apparently that’s what they do on steeps, which makes sense when you are running 50K+ length races). I even passed some serious guys from Oregon (Ryan Bak’s pacer Jared Bassett). I gave it my all at the top and passed two more guys just before topping out at the tram station.

I really felt great and probably would have finished closer to the front if I had known the course (it was short about 0.3 miles). The top finishers cheered me in and remarked at how much race I still had in me. It was a good vibe at the top. A lot of people slapping hands and saynig “where are you from?” I bumped into Richard Bolt and said “hi”. He’s a great guy as were several other elites I met. I was really happy with my performance and glad I could represent the East Coast well out there in the desert.

  • Montrail 6k Uphill Challenge 6.26.2015 Callaghan Squaw Mt
  • Montrail 6k Uphill Challenge 6.26.2015 Callaghan refreshments
  • Montrail 6k Uphill Challenge 6.26.2015 Callaghan bar in Truckee CA
  • Montrail 6k Uphill Challenge 6.26.2015 Callaghan tram line
  • Montrail 6k Uphill Challenge 6.26.2015 Callaghan appropriate signage

Results for the top ten men and women of the Montrail 6k Uphill Challenge (Squaw Valley, CA June 26, 2015)

Top Males
Jp Donovan 33.43
Peter fain 37.55
Ryan ghelfi 38.56
David McKay 39.03
Todd Callaghan 39.27
Jared Bassett 40.20
Brett hornig 40.39
Adam st Pierre 40.47
Zachary violett 40.54
Gary gellin 41.18

Top Females
Anna mae Flynn 41.42
Emily Harrison 45.17
Amanda basham 47.30
Gia madole 50.53
Tera dube 51.09
Cassie scallon 51.29
Karyn duluney 53.24
Bree lambert 54.22
Judy smith 55.25
Heather culig 56.10

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One Response to Montrail 6k Uphill Challenge

  1. Drew Best says:

    Way to show them left coasters how we do it, Todd!

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