Registration Open for the 2nd Annual VAC Vail Mountain Winter Uphill Competition
Categories Include: snowshoes, running shoes, skis, or telegear.
Contact: Ellen Miller, (970) 389-5392, Vail Athletic Club, firstname.lastname@example.org
Vail, Colorado – On Saturday, February 21, runners, skiers, snowshoers, and outdoor enthusiasts will meet at the base of Vail Mountain at the Lionshead Gondola for the start of the second annual VAC Vail Mountain Winter Uphill. At 7:00 a.m. participants will head up the race course which includes 2,000 feet of vertical gain from the 8,000 foot base to the summit of Vail Mountain at Eagle’s Nest at over 10,000 feet. The approximately two mile course is on groomed ski trails.
The event is organized by Vail Valley locals Ellen Miller and Hooker Lowe to honor the memory of Vail’s own Lyndon Ellefson who died in 1998. Ellefson was a foreman on the Eagle Bahn Gondola and was instrumental in starting the U.S. men’s mountain running program and was a member of the U.S. Mountain Running Team which is one of the beneficiaries of race proceeds. The event is also a fundraiser for Jack’s Place, a cancer caring house at the Shaw Cancer Center.
The inaugural event drew nearly 150 participants and race organizers anticipate a larger field this year. "This is a great way for people to remember Lyndon while participating in an activity that was so special to him. This year we have invited members of the mountain team to participate in the event and share their experiences from the World Mountain Running Championships with the other competitors," said co-race director Ellen Miller.
"I am looking forward to the Vail Winter Uphill Race. I think it is awesome that Ellen is putting together a race that will act as a fundraiser for the U.S. Mountain Running Team. Making the world team this past year for the first time and earning a trip to Switzerland has been the highlight of my running career thus far. My preparation for the 2009 season has already begun as I hope to earn a spot on the team which will travel to Italy. Without our sponsors it would not be possible!" said Brandy Erholtz, top U.S. women’s finisher on the 2008 Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team.
"We couldn't have the level of competition that we do now if it weren't for the funding. Having funding for athletes allows our sport to be very competitive because it allows anyone and everyone to try out. When I was involved in Summer Biathlon, I saw the rise and decline of that great sport here in the U.S. When there was really great funding/sponsorship, the level of competitors, the number of races throughout the U.S., and number of competitors was huge. When we started losing funding/sponsorship, all those numbers dropped drastically. Now, there is no funding at all. There are only a handful of Summer Biathlon races in the U.S., and very few competitors. It is really amazing how much funding can make a difference!" said Laura Haefeli, four-time Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team member and individual bronze medalist in 2007.
Matt Byrne, member of the bronze-medal winning men’s team from 2008 said, "Traveling to Switzerland as a member of the U.S. Mountain Team was a dream come true for me as a competitive runner. Without the essential funding this experience would not have been possible. I will be forever grateful for the tireless efforts of those who have made this incredible running experience possible. Additionally, bringing home the bronze medal was the sweetest icing I've ever tasted."
Added Byrne’s team member Joe Gray, "Being that running is not like basketball or football, donations and funding are very important regarding the longevity of the sport."
"I was on the team with Lyndon in 1995 in Edinburgh, Scotland, which was the first year the U.S. sent a women’s team to compete at Worlds and I am fortunate to have memories of Lyndon that will last a lifetime. Through this event, we call all reflect on happy times with Lyndon and keep his memory alive in our hearts," said Nancy Hobbs, manager of the mountain team and Executive Director of the American Trail Running Association.
The uniqueness of the event is evident in the varied categories of participation. Athletes will "pick their grip" when registering for the event. The categories include Open – running shoes, stabilizers, or snowshoes are permitted; Track Skis – any light weight ski equipment; and Heavy Metal – heavy metal edged skis including telemark gear. Registrants receive a post race party with breakfast at Eagle’s Nest, T-shirt, awards, and prizes. Prizes will be awarded by overall place and category by gender age group including 18 and under, 19-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, and 70 plus.
For online registration or to download an entry form, visit: www.vailmountainlodge.com/VAC/index.html , onsite at the Vail Athletic Club, or on race morning until 6:30 a.m. at the Chop House Restaurant located at the base of the Lionshead Gondola. Arrive early to sign the Vail Resorts event waiver in addition to the entry form waiver. Race entry is $35 through February 20 and $40 on race day.
Top Finishers from 2008
Open Men (Place, Name, Age, Time)
- Bernie Boettcher, 45, 36:43
- Nacen Gray, 30, 37:33
- Matthew Cull, 46, 37:43
Open Female (Place, Name, Age, Time)
- Anita Ortiz, 43, 39:19
- Rachel Viele, 27, 42:30
- Katie Mazzia, 38, 44:37
Heavy Metal Category Results - Men (Place, Name, Age, Time)
- Dawes Wilson, 54, 42:34
- Isaac Portz 28, 51:30
- David Bower, 45, 54:15
Heavy Metal Category Resolts - Women (Place, Name, Age, Time)
- Tracee Metcalfe, 33, 1:19:41
- Diane Mulligan, 40, 1:36:55
Track Skis Category Results (Place, Name, Age, Time)
- Mike Moher, 46, 43:28
- Billy Mattison, 50, 47:16
- Neal Henzler, 45, 51:53