The challenging course crosses over the Eastern Continental Divide twice.
From: Running USA
LAUREL SPRINGS, N.C. — The fourth Continental Divide Trail Race, last Saturday morning, served as the USA 10K Trail Championships for the fourth year in a row. The course crosses over each side the Eastern Continental Divide twice and runners are tested by a challenging course that women’s national champion Megan Kimmel (right) described as “true to the sport of trail running.” The terrain and footing vary frequently with climbs, descents, flats, grass, double track and tight single track. David Roche, the U.S. men’s champion, appreciated the sections of off-camber, rocky and rooty trail racing; calling it a race of truth: “How hard are you willing to go on the trails? Cause it is going to hurt.”
Roche, 24, had a game plan to go hard from the gun and to see who would try to stick with him. The 2010 USA 10K trail champion Bobby Mack was the only runner able to match Roche’s early hard pace. Mack moved to the front on the first climb back to the top of the mountain. But Roche struck back with another tactical surge to regain the lead and open a gap before getting into the first technical section of the course. He never looked back and continued on to claim his first national title in a time of 41 minutes, 21 second. Mack followed in 42:42, while Duncan Hoge rounded out the top three in 44:08.
The men’s Masters competition (40 and older) was a hard fought battle, with the top 3 men finishing less than a minute apart. After turning 40 earlier this month, Jason Bryant captured his first USA Masters title in 44:51. He and Chad Newton traded places 21 times during the race, with Newton placing as the second Master in 45:30. Todd Callaghan took third Master in 45:43.
Kimmel, 32, also took an early lead in the women’s race with the race plan to maintain a strong and steady pace throughout the race. She executed her plan perfectly and the 2012 USA Half Marathon Trail Championship runner-up captured her first national title in a course record time of 48:21, breaking the old course record by 7 seconds. Amber Moran returned to improve on her time and placing from 2009, finishing second in 49:35, while Maria Dalzot finished third (52:58).
In the women’s Masters field, the top two women repeated from last year, Alicia Parr, 42, took the title in 1:03:56 and Kelly Baity was runner-up in 1:05:26 and Laura Rain Tree was third (1:07:09). For the fourth year, Joyce Hodges-Hite, now 75-years-old, returned to challenge the mountain and earned her fourth 70+ USATF age group crown. Also of note, 11-year-old Lauren Henderson had an impressive performance, placing 12th overall in the women’s race and 9th in the USA Championship (1:02:16).
USATF teams also competed for national titles. In the men’s race, the Bull City Track Club repeated their team title with a total combined time of 3:51:49. The Carolina Godiva Track Club took second in 4:32:01, and Gate City Striders, traveling in from New England, was third (5:02:12). For Masters 40+ teams, the Carolina Godiva Track Club won the title again this year. Gate City Striders took second and the Igloi Track Club from Indiana was third in a time of 5:04:52. An Igloi Track Club Masters 50+ team also competed, finishing in 5:30:14. On the women’s side, Bull City Track Club fielded the only complete team to earn the team title in 5:22:53.
Spectators were scattered over the course ringing cow bells and cheering. Kimmel commented on the ability to spectate and enjoyed seeing some of the guys race as there are separate men’s and women’s races. Roche said he got a boost, and chills, as he passed by all the spectators cheering at the half-way point on top of the mountain as well.
The race had 148 finishers over the difficult course with four steep up and down hills including a section where athletes used all fours to scramble up an embankment.
Continental Divide Trail Race: USA 10K Trail Championships
Laurel Springs, NC, Saturday, August 25, 2012
1) David Roche, 24, NC, 41:21, $850+
2) Bobby Mack, 27, NC, 42:42, $550+
3) Duncan Hoge, 24, NC, 44:08, $400+
4) Richard Morris, 24, VA, 44:26, $150
5) William Marquardt, 22, CA, 44:43
6) Jason Bryant, 40, NC, 44:51, $350#
7) Chad Newton, 42, NC, 45:30, $150
8) Todd Callaghan, 42, MA, 45:43, $100
9) Dave Dunham, 48, MA, 46:20
10) George Linney III, 37, NC, 48:02
+includes North Carolina – USATF prize money
#includes Masters prize money
1) Megan Kimmel, 32, CO, 48:21*, $600
2) Amber Moran, 33, NC, 49:35, $650+
3) Maria Dalzot, 24, WV, 52:58, $300
4) Jennifer Woods, 36, NC, 55:29, $300+
5) Alison Bryant, 33, NC, 56:45, $100+
6) Kimberley Hefner, 38, SC, 59:13
7) Caitlin Schier, 28, SC, 1:00:15
8) Heather Foster, 39, NC, 1:00:34
9) Lauren Henderson, 11, SC, 1:02:16
10) Anne Martin, 30, CO, 1:02:43
+includes North Carolina – USATF prize money
*course record (previous record, 48:28, Kristin Price (NC), 2009)
MASTERS WOMEN (40+)
1) Alicia Parr, 42, NC, 1:03:56, $250
2) Kelly Baity, 44, NC, 1:05:26, $150
3) Laura Rain Tree, 45, NC, 1:07:09, $100