May 1, 2007
U.S. Team Announced for 2007 NACAC Mountain Running Championships
The Canadian Trail and Mountain Running Association
(CTMRA) in association with the Canmore Challenge Trail will host the fourth
North American Central American Carribean (NACAC) Mountain Running Championship
in Canmore, Alberta, on Sunday, July 28. This up and down event will act as a
tune-up for NACAC teams in preparation for the World Mountain Running Trophy (WMRT)
events to be held in Saillon, Switzerland on September 15.
At an atltitude of 1325 meters, Canmore is a one-hour drive from Calgary. The race site is the Canmore Nordic Center, venue for the 1988 Winter Olympic cross country ski and biathlon events, which recently completed a $16 million dollar renovation. The elevation at the Center is 1425 meters.
The course will be a 12 kilometer route for all competitors (men, women, juniors, masters) and will start at the Nordic Centre, descend to the Bow River, climb back up to the top of the Nordic Centre Trails, and loop back down to the start/finish area. The two-lap course will have an elevation gain of about 450m.
The event was founded by Kelvin Broad and his partner Angie. Broad represented New Zealand at the WMRT on three occasions (1994-96) and with Angie developed the current Canadian mountain running organization (CTMRA) and has been influential in developing a Canadian presence at the WMRT. The Canmore Challenge is now organized by Phil Villeneuve who has competed at four WMRT events (2002-2005). Jim Clampett who has also managed a number of Canadian teams at the WMRT (2000-2005) will be handling the timing and results. CTMRA President John Lofranco says, “With this expertise guiding the event we expect that an exciting mountain running test will be presented to NACAC athletes.”
Race day will include a sponsor/exhibitor village, open 1 km, 6 km and 12 km races (the latter to be run concurrently with the championship events), with awards in the evening. There will be subsidized accommodation support for visiting teams. For more information visit: www.mountainrunning.ca
The U.S. hosted the NACAC event in 2004 and 2005 and Mexico hosted in 2006. Team USA won the first two years, but didn’t compete in 2006. “We are looking forward to fielding a very competitive team this year and hoping to bring home gold,” said team manager and USATF Mountain Ultra Trail Council Chair Nancy Hobbs.
Bios of the 2007 team follow.
Eric Blake, 28, New Britain, CT, was second for the U.S. at last year’s World Mountain Running Trophy Race in Bursa, Turkey finishing in 11th overall. An uphill specialist, Blake won the 2006 Mount Washington Road Race where he was crowned the USA National Mountain Running Championships in a time of 1:01:09 besting second-place finisher Paul Low by 28 seconds. In 2005 Blake finished second to Simon Gutierrez at Mount Washington and was third American in 2004. Blake was fifth at the USA National Mountain Running Championships in Vail in 2003. On June 24, 2006 Blake set the treadmill marathon world record of 2:21:40 in Farmington, CT at Malibu Fitness. (The former world record was 2:23:58.) He was 28th in the 2004 World Mountain Trophy in Sauze D'Oulx, Italy and 23rd in the 2005 World Trophy in Wellington, New Zealand. He was 33rd in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. In Lyman Memorial High School in Lebanon, Connecticut, he was the 1996 state open cross-country champion. He is a member of the Boston Athletic Assocation and is the Assistant Men’s and Women's Cross-Country and Track and Field Coach at Central Connecticut State University. Says Blake, “I am really looking forward to representing the USA in the NACAC Championships. I know the other countries, especially Canada, will put up a tough challenge but we should contend for the team championship.”
James Nielsen, 27, Palo Alto, CA, is fairly new to trail and mountain running. He ran at UC San Diego where he was a two-time NCAA National Champion (DIII) in the 5 km and a four-time NCAA All American (cross country and track). While at UCSD he was a three-time Athlete of the Year. He ran as a transfer/grad student at Stanford and was part of NCAA West Regional Cross Country Championship Team. Nielsen ran 8:48 for the steeplechase and was a scoring member at the Nike Farm Team's USA Cross Country National Championship Team. He also recently won the Eugene Marathon in 2:21:01 and qualified for the 2008 US Olympic Marathon Trials. His PR's include 1500 meters in 3:49, 5 km in 14:13, 10 km in 29:52, and half marathon in 1:07:00. Nielsen is presently finishing his PhD in Electrical Engineering at Stanford and works at an enterprise software start-up in Palo Alto doing business development. He is also a professional triathlete. Says Nielsen, “I am both honored and excited about the opportunity to represent the U.S. at these championships. I've been excited about mountain running for many years and I'm looking forward to some international competition.”
Nick Schuetze, 25, Portland, OR, has an extensive running background including track, road, and cross country. In High School (Westview in Beaverton, OR) he set a PR at 400 meters in 54 seconds. His PR in the mile is 4:12 set in 2002 and matched in 2007. His 3 km and 5 km track PRs were set in 2007 timed in 8:18:79 and 14:18 respectively. On the road in 2006 he ran 29:52 for the 10km to win in course-record time the Pints2Pasta 10 km in Portland and placed among the top five at the Willamette Invitational 8 km timed in 24:23.65. His cross country PRs include 5km 15:25 (Bend Invitational 1999), 8 km 24:38 (Iowa Pre-National 2003), 10 km 30:51 (West Regional 2003 in Portland), and 12 km 41:46.76 at the Cross Country Nationals in Boulder this past February. Schuetze balances the stresses of training with schoolwork and teaching. He is presently completing graduate studies in Education at the University of Portland and teaching high school physics. Schuetze has a goal for track this year to go under 14:10. “As I look forward to the NACAC Championships, I have no idea what to expect. I am excited for the race as an opportunity to race up and down the hills and mountains. That is a type of running that I have always enjoyed, but I've never been able to race on a course that I felt like really tested my abilities. The Mt. Tam race (July 15 in Sausalito, CA) will be a good build up to the NACAC race, hopefully giving me some taste of what to expect in Canada. Following the NACAC race I will be training in Mammoth Lakes, CA in hopes of running an Olympic Trials qualifying time at the end of August or early September.”
Lisa Goldsmith, 42, Nederland, CO, was on the gold-medal winning squad at last year’s World Trophy. She earned her spot on the 2006 mountain team (her second) with her decisive win at the Vail Mountain Trophy Race. Goldsmith represented the U.S. at the World Trophy in Upice, Czech Republic in 1997 where she was the first American woman finisher. To date in 2007 Goldsmith has several race victories including a win (Pairs with Steve Ilg) at the Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon and Pueblo Spring Run-Off 10 miler. She was fourth at the USATF National Masters Cross Country Championships in February, and 43rd at the Boston Marathon (second master). Goldsmith is also a two-time winner of the Pikes Peak Ascent (’05 and ’06) and a masters’ winner from the 2006 Mount Washington Road Race where she was fifth overall. In 2005 and 2006 she was named USATF Masters Mountain Runner of the Year. Goldsmith is a massage therapist. She says the following about the upcoming NACAC event, “I am honored and psyched to race with the U.S. team and travel to fabulous, BEAUTIFUL Canada; The trip can be nothing but terrific considering the people and the venue!”
Nicole Hunt, 37, Deer Lodge, MT, was on the gold-medal winning team at last year’s World Trophy where she was the top finisher for the U.S. in ninth place overall. Her most recent races include a win at the Great Aloha Run in Honolulu this past February, fifth place in the World’s Richest Mountain Race (Mt. Obudu in Nigeria) in November, and an eighth place finish at the USATF 10 km National Championships (Tufts in Boston) in October. She was the first American at Mount Washington last year where she was crowned the USA National Mountain Running Champion and was also honored as USATF Mountain Runner of the Year 2006. Hunt has a 5000m track time of 15:52, a 10000m track time of 33:24. She placed fourth at the USA National Marathon Championships in 2005, and ran a PR of 41:43 at the 2006 Bloomsday Road Race to place tenth among the women and second American. She was sixth overall and second American at the 2006 Houston Half Marathon, and was 18th at the 2004 Olympic Trials timed in 2:40:39. Hunt competed on the USA National Ekiden Teams in 2002 in Beijing and in 2002 in Seoul, South Korea. Hunt is a registered nurse and an Online personal trainer and coach specializing in speed endurance coaching. Says Hunt about the upcoming event, “I am thrilled to run a challenging mountain race in a beautiful region of Canada. I am delighted to be reunited with my 2006 Gold Winning Teammates and I want to thank the Canadian organizers and USATF and the MUT Council for providing this fantastic opportunity to compete with Canada’s finest mountain runners.”
Chris Lundy, 36, Sausalito, CA, is a two-time member of the Teva U.S. Mountain Running Team. She was on the gold-medal squad at last year’s World Trophy finishing 15th overall and was 18th overall, second American, at the World Mountain Trophy Race in Wellington, New Zealand in 2005. In November Lundy finished 6th at the Mt. Obudu Mountain Race. She was fourth at the 2006 Mount Washington Road Race and fifth at the Vail Mountain Trophy Race. She finished fourth (second American) at the 2004 USA10 km Trail Championships in Vail. She was 14th at the New Haven 20 km in 2004 in a time of 1:13:31. At the 2004 Zippy 5-kilomter race in Golden Gate Park, Lundy finished second in a talented field with a time of 17:01. She finished 23rd at the ’04 U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon with a time of 2:41:55 and recently finished 12th overall (fifth in the U.S. Championships division) at the Boston Marathon. A graduate of the University Pennsylvania, Lundy is a member of the Impala Racing team and is a veterinarian.