Competitive Scene - Page 2
Max King pumping hard at New Hampshire's Mount Washington Road Race. Photo by Joe Viger.
WHY HAVE CHAMPIONSHIP RACES?
Michael Wardian, a four-time USA and Field (USATF) national champion who may have run more championships than any other American, says, “I choose championship-style races based on the level of competition. If I can race the best, I will try to get myself to the starting line where I can push my limits.” Says Kami Semick, a world champion on the roads at 50K and 100K, “Personally, I can only peak for one or two key races a year. I am motivated by high-quality competition for those races.”
For Geoff Roes, the 2010 Western States Endurance Run (Western States 100) and 2010 Ultra Race of Champions victor, competition puts the accoutrements of a championship race in perspective. “In my mind, the depth of the field is the most important thing to legitimately view a race as a championship. Prize money, titles and other incentives are simply tools to increase the level of competition. It’s nice to win a championship title or some prize money, but all of this stuff, for me, is secondary to the experience of going out and racing with dozens of similarly capable runners.”
Dave Mackey, the 2011 USATF Trail 100K and Montrail Ultra Cup champion, admits, “If there is prize money, that can be equal to competition as a reason to attend.”
Ben Nephew, who has represented the United States internationally four times—twice at the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) Trail Championships and twice at the IAU 50K Championships—says there is nothing quite like competing for the U.S.A. in an international race.
Max King, who is no stranger to national and international championships with USATF trail national championships at the half marathon, marathon and 50K distances as well as a world mountain-running championship to his credit, says that championships also benefit trail running as a sport. “Competition and great athletes bring the sport into the public eye and progress it into a legitimate competitive sport.”