2009 USA Track & Field Trail Marathon Championships
Lithia Loop Trail Marathon
November 7, 2009
Hal Koerner & Ian Torrence
Rogue Valley Runners
Southern Oregon hosts 2009 USA Track & Field Trail Marathon Championships
Runners can expect much more than the standard marathon “bonk” at this year’s USA Track & Field Trail Marathon Championships. Runners will face an initial eight-mile, 3,200-foot ascent through the steep Siskiyou Mountains that shadow the southern Oregon town of Ashland. The trails and fire roads do flatten out for twelve miles in the middle of the race but maintaining pace may become difficult at the oxygen deprived 5,000 foot level. The final six miles and 3,000 feet of descent will test even the strongest of quads as runners descend on technical single track to the race’s finish at Ashland’s town center, Lithia Park.
Championship prize monies totaling $6000 will be awarded to the top five USA Track & Field male and female finishers as well as the top three USA Track & Field male and female masters finishers.
Last year’s Lithia Loop Trail Marathon winner, Jeff Caba (Bend, OR), is returning to defend his title. Sporting a 2:31:12 at this year’s Twin Cities Marathon, Caba will defend his title against his fellow training partner Andy Martin (Bend, OR). Martin ran a 2:25:46 at Twin Cities, and is no stranger to the trails as his team placed second at this year’s six-day Gore-Tex Trans-Rockies Race.
Chasing these gentlemen will be Thomas Brooks (Eugene, OR) who placed third in the steeple at the 2007 USA Track & Field Championships with a time of 8:27.34. Aaron Saft (Fletcher, NC) who won the 2007 USAT&F Trail Marathon Championships in 2:30:53. Phil Kochik (Seattle, WA) who won the 2004 USAT&F 50 Mile Trail Championships. Mark Godale (Aurora, OH) who sports personal records of 2:30 in the marathon, 3:17 in the 50 kilometer and 7:08 in the 100 kilometer distance.
In the women’s race, the two race favorites are Devon Crosby-Helms (Sausalito, CA) and Krissy Moehl (Seattle, WA). Crosby-Helms brings with her a time of 2:49:50 at the 2008 California International Marathon and a 2:53:20 at this year’s Boston Marathon. She also has wins at the 2008 Vermont 100 Mile Endurance Run and this year’s Vermont 50 Mile Run. Moehl hopes to cap a stellar year which includes a victory in France’s 103-mile Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc and her runner-up position at the Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run.
Also heating up is the competition for the men’s master’s title. Dan Verrington (Bradford, MA) ran a 3:25:22 at this year’s USAT&F 50 Kilometer Championships. Verrington will be chased by his fellow club mate (Central Mass Striders) Dave Dunham (Bradford, MA) who finished runner-up in the 2001 JFK 50 Mile and 2001 USAT&F 50 Mile Trail Championships. Greg McMillan (Flagstaff, AZ), of McMillan Elite, will vie for the title as well, as he sports a personal record of 2:31:58 in the marathon.