Seven former Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team Members to Compete
Steamboat Springs, CO ------ For the second year in a row, the renowned ski town of Steamboat Springs, CO will host the USA Trail Championships offering race distances of 12 km for men and 8 km for women and juniors. This is the fifth installment (Vail, Colorado hosted from 2004-2006) of this trail championship event which will be held on Sunday, June 29 at 8:30 a.m.
A very deep field, including two members of the 2008 Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team will be competing. Defending USA Trail Champion Rickey Gates, 26, Boulder, CO, earned a spot on his third Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team at the Mount Washington Road Race on June 21, which served as the USA Mountain Running Championships. Brandy Erholtz, 33, Bailey, CO, earned a spot on her first mountain team with her win at Mount Washington. Both athletes will compete for the U.S. at the 24th World Mountain Running Trophy Race in Sierre Crans-Montana, Switzerland this September.
These top athletes and other USATF members will vie for the $5000 in cash prizes. The prize money breakdown is: $900 for first, $700 for second, $400 for third, $200 for fourth, $150 for fifth, $100 for sixth, and $50 for seventh. The prize giving ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m.
"We are expecting about 150 runners and the same number of spectators for our event," said race director John Chapman. "I've really enjoyed connecting with the USATF athletes and learning a bit more about them and their passion for trail running. We're really making this more than another trail race. With the excellent support from our community, sponsors, and volunteers, this is going to be a celebration of trail running. One very hard run followed by some fun afterwards."
The course has moved from the ski resort to Howelsen Hill for a 4 km loop course. The race route boasts an 11 percent average grade starting at 6,705 feet elevation and topping out at 7,230 feet and includes single track, wide dirt paths, switchbacks and plenty of ascending and descending. There were some last minute changes to the route per request of the Steamboat Parks Department. There will be a guided tour of the course at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 28, led by course director Adam Feerst. Meet at the base of Howelsen Hill.
Runners expected to compete on the men's side (in age order) are:
Jonny Stevens, 18, Vail, CO, was on the 2005, and 2007 junior mountain team. He is a Battle Mountain High School graduate and will attend CU Boulder in the fall. Stevens will compete in the junior men's division.
Rickey Gates, 26, Boulder, CO, is the defending USA 10 km Trail Champion. Last year Gates also won the 2007 USA Mountain Running Championships which was held the week before the Trail Champs. He was the 2007 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year. He made his third mountain team this year by finishing third at the USA Mountain Championships last weekend at Mt. Washington. He is a past winner of the grueling Imogene Pass 17.1 miler, was third at the 2006 Mt. Washington Race, and won the Run the Register Stair Climb in Denver in February 2007 (47 floors, 1,014 steps). His 10 km PR is 31:43 recorded at the Bolder Boulder in May 2007. He once won America's Uphill (held annually in March) on Aspen Mountain racing in a clown suit. He competed in college one year while at Lewis and Clark in Portland, OR. Gates plans to travel to Europe in July to compete in several mountain races before the World Mountain Running Trophy in September.
Jonathan Severy, 26, Winooski, VT, was a collegiate All-American having run for CU Boulder under Coach Mark Wetmore. He was sixth at both the 2005 and 2006 USA 10 km Trail Championships. In 2007 he won the La Sportiva Trifecta in Snowmass Village, a two-day event with a 5 mile trail race and an uphill race on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday.
Clint Wells, 33, Boulder, CO, grew up in Craig, Colorado. He is a four-time All American from CU Boulder where one of his events included the steeplechase. Winner of the Denver Marathon in 2006 timed in 2:28:36, he won the 2006 USA 10km Trail Championships and was third last year. Wells dueled with Eric Blake last weekend at the Mount Washington Road Race with Blake out sprinting Wells to the finish. Wells earned a spot on his second Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team with his finish at Mount Washington. Wells is also this year's Bolder Boulder Citizen's Race winner.
Bernie Boettcher, 45, Silt, CO, is arguably the most raced athlete in the country. Boettcher races just about every weekend, sometimes racing both Saturday and Sunday. Boettcher earned honors as the 2005 USATF Masters Mountain Runner of the Year. Boettcher is an accomplished artist and writer and a member of the LaSportiva Mountain Running Team and is sponsored by 180s. He was runner-up to Severy at the Trifecta in 2007. He was tenth at the 2005 USA 10km Trail Championships and finished 14th last year.
Andy Ames, 45, Boulder, CO, was a member of the 2004 Teva USA Mountain Running Team and placed 47th in the World Mountain Running Trophy in Sauze d'Oulx, Italy. In 2004 he placed sixth at the Masters Mountain Running World Championships (Sauze d'Oulx), was Masters Trail Running 10 km National Champion (fifth overall), masters mountain running National Champion (6th overall), and was named USATF Masters Mountain Runner of the Year. Past victories include U.S. Skyrunning Vertical Kilometer in 1998 and Kokopelli Supermarathon (100 mile stage race over 5 days), Vail HillClimb in 1995 and 1998, Vail HalfMarathon in 1995.He finished eighth at last year's Trail Championships. Ames is a buyer for Excel Sports in Boulder.
On the women's side, a talented field is expected to compete to include (in age order):
Rachael Cuellar, 26, Albuquerque, NM, was a member of the gold-medal winning squad in both 2006 and 2007 at the World Trophy. Cuellar finished fourth at the Trail Champs in 2007. Cuellar has PRs of 17:40 for 5 km indoor track set in 2006 (5,000 feet), 17:14 for 5 km outdoor track a road 5 km PR of 17:27 set in 2006 at 5,000 feet, and ran the 3 km steeplechase in 10:12. She is a five-time winner of the La Luz Trail Race, a 9 mile uphill race with 4,578 elevation gain and an average grade of 12 percent. Cuellar attended New Mexico State University and University of New Mexico.
Keri Nelson, 27, Grand Junction, CO, is a competitive cyclist, triathlete, snowshoe racer, mountain, and ultra runner. In 2007, she was victorious at the North American Snowshoe Championships and second at the U.S. Snowshoe National Championships. She was also first at the U.S. Winter Triathlon Nationals in Breckenridge, CO and in 2006 was third at the Pikes Peak Marathon and third at the Mt. Evans Ascent in Colorado. She was 10th at the 2005 USA 10km Trail Championships and finished 15th last year. She was fifth at last year's USA Mountain Championships.
Brandy Erholtz, 30, Bailey, CO, earned a spot on the 2008 Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team with her win at the USA Mountain Running Championships at Mount Washington. Erholtz just started competing on the trails last year when she raced at the Teva Mountain Games 10 km in Vail and finished third. She finished third again at the event on June 8. She competed at the 2007 North American Central American Carribean Mountain Running Championships (NACAC) for the U.S. Team in Canada finishing fourth overall among the women. Erholtz is employed as a schoolteacher.
Melody Fairchild, 34, Nederland, CO, ran professionally for Nike after her collegiate career at the University of Oregon (earning B.A. in English in 1996) and is well known for her stunning successes as a high school runner. During her three years at Boulder High School she was an eight-time Colorado State champion—six in track (1600m and 3200m), and two in cross country. She made U.S. running history when she became the first high school girl to break ten minutes for two miles, running 9:55 at the Scholastic indoor championships in 1991. She placed second in her first outing at the Foot Locker National High School Cross Country Championships, and went on to win the following two years, setting the course record her senior year. She won a bronze medal in the World Cross Country Championships in Antwerp, Belgium.
Laura Haefeli, 40, Del Norte, CO is a three-time USA National 10km Trail Champion and a three-time member of the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team. In 2007, she won an individual bronze medal at the World Mountain Running Trophy and led the U.S. women's team to a gold-medal finish. She was the runner-up at last year's USA 10 km Trail Champs. She won the Lara Bar 10 km on June 8 which was part of the Teva Mountain Games in Vail, CO (over and up/down course), and on June 21 she broke the masters course record at the Mount Washington Road Race. She was 15th at the World Mountain Running Trophy (second American) in 2004 (a member of the bronze-medal winning American team) and in 2005, she was the top American finisher at the Trophy with an eighth-place finish. Equally talented in summer biathlon (running and marksmanship), Haefeli is a seven time National Champion and a nine-time National Team Member. Running since the sixth grade, she competed in track and cross country in high school, was an All-American during her senior year in college at the University of Dayton and was twice named All-Ohio Runner of the Year and is a two-time USATF Mountain Runner of the Year (2004 and 2005). Laura and her husband Tom are beekeepers and sell honey and wax. She is the mother of three young children.
Anita Ortiz, 44, Eagle, CO, is a five-time member of the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team with two team medals to her credit. A bronze medal at the 2004 World Trophy race in Italy and a gold medal from last year's Trophy Race in Switzerland. She won the 2007 USA Mountain Running Championships and was the 2007 USATF Masters Mountain Runner of the Year. Ortiz is equally talented in both short and long distances races and won the San Juan Solstice 50 Miler last weekend. Ortiz teaches in the Eagle County school district and with her husband Mike, is raising four children ranging in ages from 11 to 15.
Although there will be a strong field of top runners, the event is open to runners of all ages and abilities USATF and non-USATF members alike. Register on Saturday, June 28, from noon to 6:00 p.m. at the Ski Haus sport store, 1457 Pine Grove Road, just off Hwy 40, on your way into town, or on race day beginning at 7:00 a.m. in the start area at the Rodeo Grounds. The $35 entry includes a Smartwool shirt valued at $60 (for the first 300).
There will be an all you can eat Italian buffet on Saturday, June 28 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Colorado Mountain College Cafeteria, 1330 Bob Adams Drive, Downtown Steamboat Springs. The event is open to runners, family and friends and is hosted by the Steamboat Springs Kiwanis Club. Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. For additional details on the Championships, contact: www.runningseries.com.