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Joe DeMoor Runs to New Heights

Joe Gray, Allie McLaughlin headline strong U.S. at world championships in Thailand

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Right about now, with temperatures dropping and snow falling in Aspen, Colorado, and the opening of the ski season on the horizon, Joe DeMoor’s daily work routine would be in transition.

In the summertime, the 32-year-old Carbondale, Colorado, resident puts in long days on the trail crew of the Aspen/Snowmass resort group, building and maintaining an extensive system of singletrack hiking, running, and mountain biking routes. But once the snow falls and ski season begins, he can be found working long nights operating a snowcat grooming ski runs. 

This week, though, the elite-level mountain runner finds himself in the hot, humid conditions of northern Thailand, preparing to race the 40km event for Team USA at the first combined Trail World Championships and World Mountain Running Championships being held in the mountains near Chiang Mai from November 4-6. 

While Demoor’s mountain running prowess is well known in Colorado—where he has set dozens of Fastest Known Time marks and earned podium finishes at numerous races—he only made his international running debut two months ago. After placing seventh at the Vertical Nasego World Cup race in Italy in late August, he won the Vertical K at the 2022 Skyrunning World Championships in Ossola, Italy—a steep 3.8km race with 1,063 meters of vertical gain up San Domenico ski resort. 

“I love vertical races,” says DeMoor, says DeMoor, who lives in Carbondale with his wife, Mackenzie, dog, Dipsy, and cat, Kenosha. “You just have to go pedal to the metal the entire time. It’s not a super strategic type of racing. It’s really about whoever is fittest and who is willing to go to the pain cave early.”

RELATED: Listen to Joe DeMoor on the Fastest Known Time podcast

Going Big

DeMoor frequently puts himself in the pain cave, and although it might seem he is slightly out of his element in the 40km race and not entered in the 8.5km vertical race, he’s confident his long training days at high altitude will serve him well. (The U.S. team was selected via automatic spots earned at highly competitive U.S. selection races and résumé submissions for at-large spots.)

A lot of his biggest efforts are tied to trying to set fast times on some of Colorado’s burliest mountain routes, which means he spent his summer hammering up and down peaks in the 12,000 to 14,000-foot range. DeMoor set 16 new FKTs in 2021 and seven more this year, including some with extremely technical terrain like the Capitol-Snowmass Traverse — a 23-mile route with several knife-edge ridges and 8,342 feet of total vert. He covered that course in 6:03, breaking the previous mark of 6:58 set by Anton Krupicka in 2013.

“I like to train with some hard efforts,” who is as understated as he is talented. “Trying for FKTs is great prep for all trail running and mountain running. It’s just about getting out and grinding by yourself. It’s super beneficial because in most trail races you’re going to have some time out there by yourself, so it’s important to be able to just push yourself and grind through the pain and know what that’s like.”

The combined championships came together in mid-2021, despite being delayed twice because of the lingering impact of COVID-19. More than 500 elite athletes from 46 countries will compete in the championships, which features 40km and 80km trail races, as well as 8.5km uphill mountain races for senior athletes, and 10.7km up-and-down mountain races for both senior and U20 athletes. There is $33,000 in prize money at stake in the mountain races.

Among American runners, Joe Gray, a two-time World Mountain Running champion (2016, 2019), and Allie McLaughlin, who is coming off a strong showing at last week’s Golden Trail World Series, might be the most likely contender for podium finishes, but the U.S. team has a very strong contingent of 40 runners competing in Thailand, many who have logged strong results in other international races. 

(As the championships began on November 4, McLaughlin won the women’s 8.5km uphill race and led the U.S. team to the title title, while Gray placed sixth in the men’s race as the U.S. men finished fourth.)

Noah Williams, Jonathan Aziz, Zach Miller, and Max King will be racing alongside DeMoor in the 40km, while Stevie Kremer, Kristina Mascarenas, Kimber Mattox, Michelle Merlis, and Ashley Brasovan will race in the event for the women’s team. King was the 2011 World Mountain Running champion, while Kremer has won Sierre-Zinal Mountain Race, Jungfrau Marathon, and the Mattern Ultra during her career.

Joe DeMoor

Starting Young

DeMoor has not only summited all 55 of Colorado’s 14,000 peaks—often by running most of the way—he’s also tackled the top 100 peaks known as Colorado’s Centennials and has started to tick many of them off in the winter, too. In the past two winters, he’s also taken up skimo racing.

“He’s a mountain animal,” says older brother Seth DeMoor, 37, the 2021 Pikes Peak Marathon winner and running YouTube personality. “We’ve always had an interest in big-mountain running since we were little kids.”

The DeMoors grew up in Buena Vista, Colorado, adjacent to the Sawatch Range which includes several of the state’s highest peaks and in the shadow of the now-famous Nolan’s 14 line. Their mom and dad, Wynne and Joe DeMoor were both avid marathoners and trail runners in the 1980s and 1990s, and the boys, along with their older sister, Sarah, tagged along when their dad ran races like the Pikes Peak Marathon and Imogene Pass Run. The family also hiked numerous 14ers before the kids were old enough to drive.

After stellar high school careers that included multiple state titles for each, the DeMoor brothers each went on to run cross country for the University of Colorado’s nationally ranked cross country team. But each found their highest calling when they returned to the mountains after college.

Still, although he placed third in the U.S. Mountain Running Championships last year, Joe hasn’t gotten much notoriety because of his quiet, humble demeanor and limited presence on social media. But his strong race results and collection of prodigious FKTs have earned him huge respect in the mountain running community, as well as a sponsorship deal from LaSportiva.

“The thing with Joe that everyone will say about him is that he’s just the most humble, nicest, quiet human being that you’ll ever meet,” says Carbondale friend and occasional running partner Sean Van Horn. “He’ll never tell you that he got some kind of record or won a race or even that he’s a runner. You really have to pry it out of him. He’s quiet and not many people know about him, but everyone in the Roaring Fork Valley is a Joe DeMoor fan.”

Meet The Team

Vertical Mountain Running Race

  • 8.5km uphill mountain running race with 3,280 feet of vertical gain
  • Friday, November 4 (10:15 a.m. local time)

Lauren Gregory (Fayetteville, AR) – A student at the University of Arkansas, Gregory won the inaugural USATF Vertical Mountain Running Championships, has a career best of 15:48.38 at 5,000m on the track, is an NCAA silver medalist in the 3,000m (9:01.67) and won a bronze medal in the junior race at the 2017 World Mountain Running Championships.

Joseph Gray (Colorado Springs, CO) – A world-class uphill runner and two-time winner of the World Mountain Running Championships, Gray won the inaugural USATF Vertical Mountain Running Championship and Italy’s historic Challenge Stellina Mountain Race in 2022 and the 2021 Pikes Peak Ascent, just to name a few. Gray will also be racing the up/down mountain race.

Allie McLaughlin (Colorado Springs, CO) – McLaughlin won the 2021 and 2022 Broken Arrow Skyrace VK races, took first at the 2014 and 2021 Pikes Peak Ascent and was the 2014 and 2018 USATF Mountain Running Champion. She won a bronze medal at the 2014 World Mountain Running Championships and helped the U.S. women’s team take the bronze medal. She claimed a record-setting victory at the prestigious Mount Marathon in July and also holds the women’s record on the Manitou Incline route. 

Cameron Smith (Crested Butte, CO) – Smith won the 2022 Broken Arrow Skyrace VK and finished third at the Broken Arrow Skyrace 26K just two days later. Cameron has also taken wins at the 2022 Run the Rut 28K, 2022 Imogene Pass Run and 2021 Kendall Mountain Run.

Rachel Tomajczyk (Williams, AZ) — Tomajczyk placed second at both the 2022 US Mountain Running Championships at the Whiteface Mountain Race in July. She also placed sixth at the Broken Arrow SkyRace Vertical K and 23km races.

Dan Curts (Norwich, VT) – A relative newcomer to mountain and trail running, Curts finished second to Joseph Gray at the 2022 USATF Vertical Mountain Running Championships, took sixth place at the 2022 Trofeo Nasego Mountain Running World Cup race in Italy. Curts also has a 3:59.2 personal best in the mile and has run 13:38 for 5,000m on the track.

40K Trail Running Race

  • 40km trail running race with 9,110 feet of vertical gain
  • Saturday, November 5 (7:30 a.m. local time)

Michelle Merlis (Albany, NY) – Merlis won the 2022 Breakneck Point 42K to earn her spot on the team. This year she also won New York’s famous Escarpment Trail Run and just finished second at the Flagstaff Sky Peaks 10K.

Kristina Mascarenas (Colorado Springs, CO) – In 2022, Mascarenas has won the Pikes Peak Marathon for the second time in five years, while also taking victories at the Collegiate Peaks 25 Mile Trail run and Rattler Trail Race 25K.

Stevie Kremer (Crested Butte, CO) – Among her many accomplishments on the trails, Kremer is the 2012 World Long Distance Mountain Running champion. In the past six months, she won and set course records at the Westminster Trail Half Marathon, Mountain Ridge Trail Race and Emerald Mountain Epic Marathon.

Kimber Mattox (Bend, OR) – Mattox stormed onto the trail scene back in 2015 when she finished sixth at the World Mountain Running Championships, leading the U.S. women’s team to a silver medal. That same year she won the XTERRA Trail Run World Championships in Hawaii. In the past 18 months, she won the 2021 USATF 50K Trail Championships, finished second at the Chuckanut 50K and fourth at the JFK 50 Mile.

Ashley Brasovan (Golden, CO) – Brasovan has twice raced the World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships, finishing as high as eighth in 2018. She also won the 2017 USATF Half Marathon Trail Championship and 2018 USATF 30K Trail Championship. In past 18 months, she won the Speedgoat 50K, finished second at the Way Too Cool 50K and took third at the Broken Arrow Skyrace 26K.

Max King (Bend, OR) – Perhaps trail running’s most versatile athlete, King is the 2011 World Mountain Running Champion, 2014 IAU 100K World Champion and bronze medalist at the 2016 NACAC Cross Country Championships / Pan American Cross Country Cup. King punched his ticket to Thailand by winning the 2022 Breakneck Point Trail Marathon. Just over a year ago, King finished second at the USATF Mountain Running Championship.

Jonathan Aziz (Colorado Springs, CO) – Aziz earned his spot on the team by winning the 2022 Pikes Peak Marathon. He also ran 2:15:30 on the roads at Grandma’s Marathon, won the Power of Four 50K, and finished third at the JFK 50 Mile.

Noah Williams (Leadville, CO) – Williams won the Leadville Trail Marathon, Sage Burner 50K, finished eighth at the Silver Rush 50 Mile and 13th at the Leadville Trail 100 Mile Endurance Run. Less than two weeks ago, he finished a close second at the Pikes Peak Marathon.

Joseph DeMoor (Carbondale, CO) – DeMoor recently won the Skyrunning World Championships VK and finished sixth in the Skyrace. He also finished seventh at the highly competitive Trofeo Nasego World Cup mountain race in Italy. He’s won a lot of races in Colorado, including the Leadville Heavy Half, America’s Uphill and Dynafit Half Marathon, and has set numerous FKTs on Colorado mountain peaks and traverses.

Zach Miller (Columbia, PA) – Miller has finished on the podium at many of the premier ultras in the country and abroad. In his quiver of victories: JFK 50 Mile, Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, CCC 100K (the little “sister” of the UTMB), Madeira Island Ultra Trail and back-to-back wins at the North Face 50 Mile Championships. In late August, Miller finished fifth at UTMB — his third top-10 finish in the world’s premier ultra-distance race.

 

​​80K Trail Running Race

  • 80km trail running race with 16,404 feet of vertical gain
  • Saturday, November 5 (6:30 a.m. local time) 

Jennifer Lichter (Whitefish, MT) Lichter earned her spot on the team by winning the 2022 Broken Arrow Skyrace 52K. She also won the Lake Sonoma Marathon and the Run the Rut 50K in 2021 and 2022.

Brittany Charboneau (Denver, CO) – Charboneau punched her ticket to Thailand by finishing second at the 2022 Broken Arrow Skyrace 52K. She also won the 2022 Lake Sonoma 50 Mile, Run Through Time Marathon and Moab Red Hot Ultra 55K. Less than two weeks ago, Charboneau finished second at the Pikes Peak Marathon.

Addie Bracy (Denver, CO) – Bracy was the 2016 and 2017 USATF Mountain Running Champion and 2016 USATF Trail Marathon Champion. She’s been a member of U.S. teams at the World Mountain Running Championships and World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships including 2017 when she helped the U.S. women’s team to a gold medal. More recently she won the 2022 Golden Gate Dirty 50K, 2021 Run Rabbit Run and 2020 Quad Rock 50 Mile.

Kaytlyn Gerbin (Issaquah, WA) – Kaytlyn just finished third at UTMB, won the Yakima Skyline Rim 50K and finished in the top 10 of the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run three times, including 2018 when she was second. In 2018 she finished 10th at the Trail World Championships, helping the U.S. women to a bronze medal.

Leah Yingling (Salt Lake City, UT) – Leah has been building a solid ultra-distance race resume for a number of years. In 2022, she earned a Western States 100 Golden Ticket with a runner-up finish at the Canyons 100K Endurance Runs and worked hard to turn that into a sixth-place finish at the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. Yingling also finished second at the 2022 Gorge Waterfalls 50K, third at the Bandera 100K and finished second at the 2021 Bear 100 Mile.

David Sinclair (Truckee, CA) – Sinclair posted a course record at the 2022 Broken Arrow Skyrace 52K, securing a team position with the win. He took wins at the 2022 Run the Rut VK and 50K, plus the 2022 Speedgoat 50K. David returns to Team USA after helping both the U.S. Mountain Running Team and U.S. Long Distance Mountain teams to silver medal finishes on back-to-back days at the 2019 World Mountain Running Championships in Argentina, with 12th and 10th place finishes respectively.

Eric LiPuma (Richmond, VT) – LiPluma earned his team spot with his second place finish at the 2022 Broken Arrow Skyrace 52K. He took the win at the 2021 Vermont 50 Miler and was the 2018 USATF 50km champion on the roads. He has previously been on USATF teams for 50K and 100K road world championships

Adam Peterman (Missoula, MT) – Peterman made a statement by winning his debut attempt at Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run in June. The Western States win came as no surprise after course record wins at Canyons 100K, Chuckanut 50K and Speedgoat 50K in the past year, plus a JFK 50 Mile win in the second-fastest time in the race’s long history.

RELATED: The Trail Runner Lightning Round 50K: Adam Peterman

Adam Merry (Golden, CO) – Merry will be making his first appearance on a USATF team. He grabbed wins at the 2022 Moab Red Hot 33K, the 2022 McKenzie River 50K Trail Run, the Run the Rock 50 Mile and the 2021 Silverton Alpine Marathons in Colorado.

Jeff Colt (Carbondale, CO) – Colt is also making his first appearance on a USATF team. He won the 2021 IMTUF 100 Mile, finished second at the 2021 Power of Four 50K and finished 11th at the 2022 Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. Jeff also posted a third-place finish at the 2022 Black Canyon 100K.

U20 Mountain Running Race

  • 6.4km up/down mountain running race with 738 feet of vertical gain
  • Sunday, November 6 (8 a.m. local time)

Samantha Blair (Eagle, CO) – Blair finished eighth in the junior women’s race at the 2019 World Mountain Running Championships. She also finished fifth at the 2019 International U18 Mountain Running Cup leading the U.S. women to a team bronze medal.

Oakley Olson (Boise, ID) — Olson has run 17:50 for 5K cross country, 4:57 for 1600 meters on the track and 2:18 for 800 meters on the track.

Willow Lott (Durango, CO) — Lott attends Durango High School (Colorado), ran 11:29 for 3,200 meters on the track and 18:33 for 5km in cross country.

Christian Groendyk (Fort Collins, CO) – Groendyk has run 14:48 in a 5km cross country race, has a 4:17 PR for 1,600 meters on the track, is a 3-time conference champion, 3-time all-conference, four top-10 state finishes and is ranked top 25 nationally for class of 2023 for 3,200 meters.

Ignatius Fitzgerald (Missoula, MT) – Fitzgerald has a 14:55 5km cross country PR, has run 4:12 for 1,600m, is a 2019 Footlocker Finalist, two-time state champion and 2021 NASF National Qualifier.

Michael Maiorano (Medford, OR) – Maiorano attends Gonzaga University and has a 5k cross country PR of 14:48, has run 4:06 for 1,600m and is a Stumptown Twilight Elite 3,200m race winner in 8:51.3.

Dalton Kaines (Fort Collins, CO) – Kaines has run 15:05 for a 5km cross country race and 4:15 at 1,600m on the track.

Mountain Running Race

  • 10.7km up/down mountain running race with 1,558 feet of vertical gain
  • Sunday, November 6 (9:45 a.m.)

Allie McLaughlin (Colorado Springs, CO) — McLaughlin, aka, “Allie Mac” is coming off a strong showing at the 2022 Golden Trail World Series event in Portugal. She also won the Broken Arrow SkyRace VK in California in June and the Mount Marathon Race in Alaska in July in record-setting time and placed fourth in the Pikes Peak Ascent in September.

Samantha Lewis (Moscow, ID) – Lewis finished fifth at the 2022 USATF Mountain Running Championships and was the 2019 USATF Half Marathon Trail Championship. She finished 29th at the 2019 World Mountain Running Championships in Argentina and has been a regular top finisher at USATF Mountain Running Championships and sub-ultra distance USATF Trail Championships.

Andy Wacker (Boulder, CO) – Wacker is the 2022 USATF Mountain Running Champion, winner of multiple USATF trail championships and podium finishes in recent years. He also won the 2022 Broken Arrow Skyrace 26K.

Rachel Tomajczyk (Williams, AZ) – A relative newcomer to mountain running, Tomajczyk stormed onto the scene in 2021, finishing second at the USATF Mountain Running Championships. She also finished second at the 2022 USATF Mountain Running Championships, but not before taking the top step of the podium at the 2021 USATF Half Marathon Trail Championships.

Mason Coppi (Ladera Ranch, CA) – Coppi finished fourth at the 2022 USATF Mountain Running Championships at Whiteface Mountain. He also finished 10th at the 2022 USATF Vertical Mountain Running Championships, fifth at the 2022 Breakneck Point Trail Marathon and ninth at the 2022 Chuckanut 50K.

Corey Dowe (North Conway, NH) – A regular top New Englander at mountain races in her backyard – Loon Mountain, Mount Cranmore and Waterville Valley – Dowe fought her way to a fourth-place finish at the 2022 USATF Mountain Running Championships. Earlier this month, she won the technical Kismet Cliff Run for the second time.

Morgan Elliott (Salida, CO) – Elliott earned his spot on the U.S. Team by finishing third at the 2022 USATF Mountain Running Championships at Whiteface Mountain in New York. He has also won many high-profile mountain races including the Mt. Mitchell Challenge, Georgia Death Race, Power of Four 50K and Flagstaff Sky Peaks 55K.