Once again the weather held out for the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon. During the middle of the race some drizzle fell at the finish line while snow flurries swirled around runners and volunteers higher on the course. Ideal conditions for a USA Track and Field National Trail Marathon Championship.
The lead runners separated themselves immediately. A pack consisting of Aaron Saft (NC), Sam Robinson (CA), Jim Johnson (NH) and Max King (OR) pushed each other to the top of the first major climb (3000' in eight miles) at Upper Horn Gap. It was there that King made a move on the flatter section of the course to gain the lead for the rest of the race. He finished in 2:40:23. Robinson and Saft didn't make it easy for King as they finished roughly two and eight minutes behind him respectively.
In the men's master race Greg McMillan (AZ) and Dan Verrington (MA) took the early lead. McMillan worked his way through the pack, eventually passing a cramping Jim Johnson in the last mile to finish fourth overall in 2:54:50. Verrington finished second about ten minutes behind McMillan. Local harrier, JC Callans (Central Point, OR), finished third in the men's masters race in 3:08:25.
In the women's race things played out a little differently. Right from the gun, Cynthia Arnold (KY) took the lead and never looked back. At mile 23, however, she took a wrong turn and was directed by race management to retrace her steps and run the correct course. Arnold had built such a lead (14 minutes by 20 miles) that the extra mile of course correction did not affect her placing. She crossed the line in 3:08:42, seven minutes ahead of second place finisher Becca Ward (WA). Ward pushed hard to the finish in order to out-lean third place finisher Devon Crosby-Helms (CA) by six seconds. Kate Lapides (CO) finished first in the women's masters race and crossed the finish line in 3:48:57. Karla Nash finished second about 14 minutes back of Lapides. Local Ashland runner, Lisa Norvell, finished third in the women's master's division.
143 runners crossed this year's finish line. Full race results can be found here. We'd like to thank the more than thirty volunteers that spent their day on the course and made this race possible. Join us on November 6th, 2010 as the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon returns and plays host as the USA Track and Field National Trail Championships for yet another year.
Fall foliage provides an excellent back-drop for the start of the 2nd Annual Lithia Loop Trail Marathon.
(left to right)Devon Crosby-Helms (3rd woman), Win Goodbody (pink body suit), Krissy Moehl (4th woman) and Ellen Parker (5th woman) less than a minute into the race.
The lead pack charges up the 2060 road. (Left to right) Aaron Saft, Max King, Sam Robinson, Jim Johnson
Mailtribune's Jamie Lusch and Cathy Dunham.