Competitive Scene - Page 6
Action at mid-February's Moab's Red Hot 33K, Moab, Utah, the first race in this year's La Sportivia Mountain Cup. Photo by Chris Hunter.
LA SPORTIVIA MOUNTAIN CUP
The rise of ultramarathon championship races and series was contrasted by the seeming lack of marathon-and-under trail championships on the national stage. Since the mid- 1990s, Federation for Sport at Altitude and, later, the International Skyrunning Federation (ISF) governed championships- style races and series in Europe and around the globe. Informed by that scene, Buzz Burrell, then La Sportiva’s Running Coordinator and current brand manager for Ultimate Direction, “wanted to bring fast-and-exciting European mountain running to the U.S.” The result was La Sportiva launching its eponymous Mountain Cup in 2008.
The race lineup changes from year to year; however, Park City, Utah’s Jupiter Peak Steeplechase has become a staple, serving as the series’ finale for the third straight year in 2013. Currently, the series is scored by adding up a racer’s four best performances out of the series’ 10 races with more bonus points available the better the competition. As a result, there’s gamesmanship involved as to which series contenders will show up to which races, and the series is often a battle to the end between racers who’ve grown to know each other well.
Many-time Mountain Cup competitor Jason Bryant says, “Mountain Cup competitors are an extension of the trail community that is connected, supportive and friendly. We go at it on the course, but grab drinks and meals as friends post race.”