Getting’ Crazy at Loon Mountain
The top four American women at Sunday’s race will qualify for the U.S. Mountain Running Team and a spot at the World Mountain Running Championship in Italy this September.
Photo by Scott Mason
When the elite field lines up at the Women’s U.S. Mountain Running Championship Sunday at New Hampshire’s Loon Mountain Race, seven veterans of the U.S. Mountain Running Team (USMRT) will look to add another trip to the World Championships to their resumes.
The problem? Only four women will get to go—and there will be plenty of competition from non-USMRT veterans as well.
“I honestly feel like this is the strongest, fastest group of American female mountain runners that has ever been assembled in one place,” says Ellen Miller, manager of the Women’s USMRT.
Leading that field will be defending U.S. and World Mountain Running Champion Kasie Enman of Huntington, Vermont (read our Q&A with Enman on her preparation for Loon Mountain here: http://trailrunnermag.com/people/q-and-a/393-kasie-enman-gets-ready-for-us-mountain-running-team-qualifiers).
That does not mean she is a lock to make the team, though. One variable is that both Loon Mountain and the World Championships are uphill climbs, whereas last year’s qualifying race and the World Championship race were both on up-and-down courses. The World Championship alternates between uphill and up-and-down each year, and the USMRT qualifying race is designed to match that.
“Kasie is the women’s record holder at Loon and has a good ability to run uphill,” says USMRT team leader Richard Bolt, who also says Enman’s third-place finish at the Mount Washington Road Race in June—behind Kim Dobson and Brandy Erholtz, both of whom will be competing Sunday—is not indicative of her strengths as a mountain runner. “[Mount Washington] is a fast mountain race on a paved surface. Loon has some very steep, very technical sections, and that will play to her strengths.”