The Trail Runner Trophy Series, presented by Altra Running, is a points-based, season-long series of more than 200 trail races. With the series in full swing, here are some of the stories that have come out of the last couple weeks.
This year’s Trophy Series has two grand prizes. The runner with the most miles at season’s end will win a trail-running tour beginning in Chamonix, France, led by Run the Alps, and the runner who finishes the most races will end up on the cover of an issue of Trail Runner.
Currently in the lead to be our cover model is Jeff Lynn, 48, of Slippery Rock, PA, with six races. Meanwhile, the race to win a dream vacation in the Alps might be headed for a photo finish: Three runners are currently tied, with 181 miles each.
Scout Mountain Ultra Trail: June 4, Pocatello, Idaho
The Scout Mountain Ultra rang in its eighth year with the hottest race on record (in the past, it has also been cancelled mid-race due to snow). Race volunteers used nearly a ton of ice to keep racers cool, and 250 people made it through either 100K, 50K or 35K in temps that topped 90 degrees.
The race was particularly significant for 40-year-old Emily Sullivan. Though she’d run the race before, it wasn’t certain she’d be able to race this year until only a couple weeks before the start. A few months ago, it wasn’t even certain she’d be alive come race day. Back in March, Sullivan suffered a severe liver laceration when she fell volunteering at a ski-mountaineering race. She completed the 35K in 4:28:21.
“She knew she would be in a race environment where we would take really good care of her,” says race director and Sullivan’s personal friend Luke Nelson. “It was a pretty emotional finish for both of us.”
Deadwood Mickelson Trail Run: June 5, Rochford, South Dakota
The 15th annual Deadwood race lived up to its Wild West reputation: Gunslingers and western re-enactors provided pre-race entertainment at the expo, and the marathon finished in historic downtown Deadwood, not far from the graves of Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok.
Waiting at the finish line was legendary marathoner and race founder Jerry Dunn. He’s been at every Deadwood race since it began and greeted racers at the finish line, wearing a dapper black tuxedo. Dunn, now 70, has earned his nickname of “America’s Marathon Man.” He’s run across the United States, and in the year 2000 ran 200 marathons. But despite all his accolades and adventures, he’s always at the Deadwood finish line, usually in his tuxedo, to watch and congratulate runners.
“America’s Marathon Man” and race founder Jerry Dunn cheers on the finishers of the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Run on June 5. Photo courtesy of Emily Wheeler
Conserve School Trail Run: June 11, Land O’ Lakes, Wisconsin
Stacy Ludwig, a geography teacher from Spencer, Nebraska, has a goal of running in every state. She used the Conserve School Trail Run to cross Wisconsin off the list, bringing along fellow teachers Sara Kraus, Judy Dvorak and Shirley Rossman, plus Rossman’s daughter Kaitlyn Butterfield.
All except Ludwig were new to trail running, so they were expecting what Kraus refers to as a “cowboy trail”: long, flat and gravelly. The Conserve School’s steep, rocky singletrack took them by surprise.
“We didn’t quite understand what trail running really was,” Kraus laughs. “Most of us had trouble walking for a couple days after that.” But soreness isn’t stopping them; from the sounds of it, they’ve caught the bug. Ludwig, Kraus and Dvorak all ran the Dizzy GOAT race in Omaha the very next weekend, and they’re planning other destination races (around coaching high school track and cross country) to help Ludwig continue her quest to race in every state.
Racers receive instructions before the start of the Conserve School Trail Run on June 11. Photo courtesy of Stefan Anderson
Holcomb Valley Trail Run: June 12, Big Bear, California
The course of the Holcomb Valley Trail run has become “hallowed ground,” according to race director Tom Spiegel. That’s because last year, it was graced by the runner Arnulfo Quimare, of Born to Run fame.
Quimare, 31, is a member of the Tarahumara tribe of Mexico, famous for its long-distance runners. He finished sixth in the 33-mile race in 2015, and Spiegel credits his appearance for Holcomb Valley’s record turnout this year, its 20th anniversary. Over 250 runners competed in 33-, 15- and 7-mile distances. Spiegel will never see the race the same way again.
“To run where the greatest has run is like standing in center field at Yankee Stadium where Babe Ruth stood,” he says.
Racers head uphill during the Holcomb Valley Trail Run on June 12. Photo courtesy of Tom Spiegel.
Trophy Series Standings 6/22/16
Age Group Standings
F 10-19, Elizabeth Shaffer, Jersey Shore PA, 13, 3 races,43.8 miles, 158 points
F 20-29, Cheyenne Albert, Morrisdale PA, 26, 6 races, 85.5 miles, 285.1 points
F 30-39, Saige Ballock-Dixon, Idaho Falls ID, 34, 2 races, 37.2 miles, 148.8 points
F 40-49, Meira Minard, State College PA, 42, 4 races, 59.3 miles, 237.7 points
F 50-59, Rebecca Whitesell, Bellefonte PA, 54, 4 races, 59.3 miles, 223.7 points
F 60+, Jane Kone, Howard PA, 62, 6 races, 77.4 miles, 260.5 points
M 10-19, Nathan Bonham, Westfield PA, 19, 4 races, 93.4 miles, 173.6 points
M 20-29, Matt Lipsey, Kersey PA, 26, 6 races, 85.42 miles, 328.66 points
M 30-39, Adam Russell, Rome PA, 37, 6 races, 109.84 miles, 211.2 points
M 40-49, John Johnson, Ulster PA, 43, 4 races, 59.3 miles, 223.7 points
M 50-59, Jeff Smucker, Centre Hall PA, 50, 4 races, 59.3 miles, 237.2 points
M 60+, Gerald Bailey, Glencoe KY, 64, 5 races, 74.36 miles, 196.14 points
F 1, Karen Jackson, Santee SC, 46, 1 race, 140.6 miles, 562.4 points
F2, Allison Miles, Talladega AL, 47, 2 races, 151.4 miles, 505.78 points
F3, Lisa Grippe, Lawrence GA, 53, 2 races, 126.2 miles, 426.2 points
M 1, Nathan Dewey, Mt Pleasant SC, 33, 1 race, 140.6 miles, 562.4 points
M 2, Gabe Wishnie, Redmond WA, 33, 2 races, 162 miles, 524 points
M 3, Andy Kwan, Houston TX, 38, 2 races, 150 miles, 450 points
Jeff Lynn, Slippery Rock PA, 48, 6 races
3 Tied at 181
Trophy Series presenting sponsor Altra Running is a leading trail-running shoe brand. Based in Utah, Altra’s running-shoe innovations—including a cushioned Zero Drop shoe and a foot-shaped toe box—are born from long hard runs in the nearby Wasatch Mountains.Follow @AltraRunning and #ZeroLimits on Twitter,Instagram and Facebook. PR Contact: Colleen Logan, VP Marketing, firstname.lastname@example.org
Run the Alps offers a variety of guided and self-guided trail-running trips throughout the Alps, for all abilities. Founder Doug Mayer is also a contributing editor at Trail Runner; you can read a few of his stories about running in Switzerland here and here. More information is available at their website: www.runthealps.com.