Trail running ace Max King headlines the men’s squad.
From: Running USA
The U.S. Mountain Running Team will travel to Tirana, Albania, to participate in the 27th World Mountain Running Championships this Sunday.
The U.S. will be one of 33 nations represented in the competition which includes both senior and junior divisions (juniors must be at least 16 in the year of competition and not yet 20).
The running track in Albania will consist of a short section on pavement at the start and finish and includes a course primarily of dirt, grass, and single track through forested areas within a national park. The course – being an up/down year (in even-numbered years the World Championships course is an uphill-only route) – will be fast with lots of ascending and descending, twists and turns, and wonderful spectator opportunities.
The junior women will run 4.49 kilometers with an average grade over 11 percent and the steepest uphill section boasting a 40 percent grade. The vertical gain over the course is approximately 284 meters. The junior men and senior women will each run 8.59K with a total gain of 547 meters and an uphill section a bit steeper than the junior women’s climb. The senior men will run 12.7K with 799 meters of climbing and a maximum steep climb of 41 percent.
In the junior competition, the women can run up to three athletes with the top two scoring for the team results (combined places indicate the final score), the men run a maximum of four athletes with the top three scoring. Likewise, the senior women can run up to four athletes with the top three scoring. For the senior men, six men can run on the team with the top four finishers to score.
For the World Mountain Running Championships, preliminary entries list 51 junior women, 71 junior men, 60 senior women and 60 senior men.
The U.S. will be in the hunt for medals with hopes of repeating some recent podium visits. The senior women’s teams have amassed four team medals – two bronze (’04, ’09) and two gold (’06, ’07) – and one individual bronze (’07), while the senior men’s teams have won both bronze (’08) and silver (’10). The junior women have won team silver (’07) as well as individual silver (’09) and bronze (’08) medals. The junior men have yet to be on the podium, but they have finished as high as fourth place.
The 2011 U.S. Mountain Running Team
Senior Men: Matt Byrne, 36, Scranton, Pa.; Joseph Gray, 27, Lakewood, Wa.; Max King, 31, Bend, Ore.; Tommy Manning, 35, Colorado Springs, Colo.; Jared Scott, 28, Grand Canyon, Ariz.; and Ryan Woods, 32, Boone, N.C.
Senior Women: Kasie Enman, 31, Huntington, Vt.; Brandy Erholtz, 34, Evergreen, Colo.; Megan Lund-Lizotte, 27, Basalt, Colo.; and Michele Suszek, 29, Longmont, Colo.
Junior Men: Oliver Bear Don’t Walk IV, 18, Everson, Wash.; Chase Caulkins, 19, Ketchum, Idaho/Portland, Ore.; Billy Fayette, 19, Clarendon Hills, Ill.; and Ryan Lee, 18, Wilmington, Del.
Junior Women: Krisztina Dearborn, 19, Mirror Lake, N.H.; Clare Moretz, 18, Madison, Va.; and Lara Shegoski, 19, Belle Mead, N.J.
Staff: Team Leader – Richard Bolt, San Jose, Calif.; Manger, Junior Team – Paul Kirsch, Madison, N.H.; Team Manager – Nancy Hobbs, Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Women’s Manager – Ellen Miller, Vail, Colo.