From Nancy Hobbs:
The Teva Mountain Games in Vail, CO, signals the unofficial start of the competitive trail and mountain running season. The event gives the athletes a chance to assess their training and fitness.
At this year’s Native Eyewear Spring Runoff 10km there were no real surprises. Matt Carpenter, after posting a second place finish at the prior day’s ½ marathon on the roads, was back to assert himself as king of the trails. Carpenter owns too many mountain running records to list but…include both the Pikes Peak Ascent and Marathon, Leadville Trail 100, Lake City 50…you get the picture…the guy is tough. He used to live in Vail so he knows these mountain trails better than, well most if not all the other athletes who competed today. Starting out Matt settled into a comfortable fourth place position on the first climb – which was a gutbuster. At the top of the climb, Carpenter, 44, had taken the lead from uphill specialist Simon Gutierrez, 43, a fellow master’s competitor, and never give up the lead. At the start of the race Carpenter didn’t sound confident of a win, talking about some of the race day registrants who were, in his opinion, factors for a competitive race. Impressive for sure was Joe Gray (LakeWood, WA), a flatlander, who arrived in Vail on Wednesday. Gray, in just his third mountain running season (he was a Steeplechaser in college), showed his mettle for this niche sport posting a third-place finish in the ½ marathon and finishing second to Carpenter. After the race Gray said he’d like to compete against Carpenter on a lower ie: way lower than Vail…mountain course.
On the women’s side, Megan Kimmel took to the first climb leading Brandy Erholtz, Laura Haefeli, Gina Lucrezi, and Megan Lund. Of the five, Lund was the only woman to have run the ½ marathon the day before. Less than one mile from the finish, Erholtz was leading the charge with Haefeli just 30 seconds back, followed by Lund and Kimmel. Lucrezi had faded to fifth, but looked to hold her spot to the finish. Kimmel out sprinted Lund for the bronze-medal position.
The top three women were all members of last year’s Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team and gave a strong showing for potential berths on this year’s team with the first selection race slated for June 28 in North Conway, NH. All of the top five save Kimmel will compete in North Conway with Kimmel opting to try for a spot on the team at the Colorado Springs selection race on July 26.
There were 12 former U.S. Mountain Running Team members competing. In addition to Erholtz, Haefeli, and Kimmel, Cindy O’Neill (2000), and Michelle Blessing (1995) also competed. On the men’s side eleventh place finisher Clint Wells joined the top five male finishers with the honor of represented the U.S. at World’s.
Top 5 Women Overall
1 Brandy ERHOLTZ , Bailey, :55:12.7
2 Laura HAEFELI, Del Norte, :55:28.2
3 Megan KIMMEL, Silverthorne, :56:25.8
4 Megan LUND, Basalt, :56:26.6
5 Gina LUCREZI, Colorado Springs, :58:06.1
Top 5 Men Overall
1 Matt Carpenter, Manitou Springs, :46:15.2
2 Joseph GRAY, Lakewood, WA, :46:39.7
3 Rickey Gates, Boulder, :47:10.9
4 Simon Gutierrez, Alamosa, :47:39.2
5 Payton BATLNER, Boulder, :48:14.0