Gray, Arritola Win U.S. Mountain Running Titles

The event was part of the Cranmore Hill Climb in North Conway, N.H.

Joe Gray and Morgan Arritola won the U.S. Mountain Running National Championships on Sunday.

The race, which consisted of three, four-kilometer loops for the men and two loops for the women, was held in conjunction with the Cranmore Hill Climb in North Conway, N.H.

Gray, a 29-year-old of Renton, Wash., completed the up-and-down course in 56:23. Finishing a close second was Zachary Ornelas in 56:28, with third-placed runner Max King not far behind in 56:45.

“It was a pretty hard effort right from the start. It was competitive,” Gray told Examiner.com. “On paper, you looked at the guys and knew it was going to be a painful race and it was definitely painful.

“I don’t think I started feeling good until the last climb. I think I let off the gas too much, because I thought Max was behind me. It was Zach, he passed me right before it got a bit rocky, and near the crest of that portion, I passed him and had about five or six seconds on him. Near the finish, I let off the gas a bit because I knew I had it.”

For Arritola, a 2010 Olympian in cross-country skiing, the victory was a nice improvement from her third-place finish at the 2012 World Mountain Running Championships.

Arritola and Stevie Kremer stayed together for much of the race until the former pulled away near the finish. Arritola stopped the clock in 42:31, with Kremer timing a 42:50 for second place. Magdalena Boulet registered a time of 44:52 to place third.

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