Competitive field set for Teva trail race
VAIL – Vail is kicking off the spring trail running season Saturday with the Teva Games’ 10-kilometer National Championships. To participate in the USA Trail Championships, division participants must be current USATF members. Defending USA National 10K trail champion and member of the 2005 Teva US Mountain Running Team Laura Haefeli headlines the women’s competition. The 38-year-old from Del Norte was crowned national trail champion the past two years and was the 2005 USATF Mountain Runner of the Year. Haefeli’s identical twin, Ann Sorenson, from Bozeman, Mont., is looking to give her sister some competition as will 32-year-old Danelle Ballengee from Dillon, a past member of the national mountain running squad and one of the top adventure racers in the world. Ballengee, however, has said that she is not at her sharpest fitness level having had ankle surgery in the fall.
In the men’s competition, defending champion Matt Carpenter, 41, of Manitou Springs is not among the pre-race registrants, but Carpenter often registers on race morning. Ten years Carpenter’s junior, Nebraskan James McGown is a member of the USATF Elite Development Team who certainly has the leg speed with a personal record of 14 minutes 34 seconds for 5,000 meters.”I don’t live in really high altitude, but it is 5,000 feet and I ran well in Denver and have excelled in trail running races in Nebraska,” McGown said. “I’m looking forward to the race and my current fitness level indicates a solid effort.”Also expected to challenge for championship honors will be the 2004 USA 10 Trail Champion and four-time Teva U.S. Mountain Running team member Simon Gutierrez from Alamosa. Although Gutierrez finished a distant fifth at last year’s event, he ran to a stellar 10th-place finish at the 2005 World Mountain Trophy Race in Wellington, New Zealand.
Having turned 40 in March, Gutierrez is a top contender for a masters’ victory. He’ll face competition from Bernie Boettcher, 43, of Silt, and Andy Ames, 43, of Boulder. The singletrack trail course starts and finishes in Vail Village and includes more than 3,000 feet of elevation change on Vail Mountain.
“Even though this has been a heavy snow year in the Vail Valley, we’re hoping the snow stays away for this year’s race,” said race director Joel Rabinowitz. Last year the race was delayed 30 minutes so organizers could clear portions of the trail from a late spring snowstorm the night before.”Whether the course is muddy, or dry it’s definitely a challenging route,” Rabinowitz said.A prize purse of $5000 will be equally divided between the event’s top male and female finishers.Vail, Colorado