Wednesday, June 22, 2005

2005 Trail Runner Trophy Series Runners Feel the Heat (Trail Runner Magazine)

The latest update on the 2005 Trail Runner Trophy Series. The magazine is doing a super job keeping the scores up to date this year. You can see the complete standings here.

- SD


CARBONDALE, COLO., JUNE 14, 2005 – Half way through the 2005 Trail Runner Trophy Series, the overall titles are still up for grabs. Off-roaders who enjoyed generous early points leads now find themselves neck-and-neck with other runners whose race schedules started slow and have now hit peak season.

The Trail Runner Trophy Series is the largest trail-running series in the world. Sponsored by La Sportiva and other outdoor companies, the Trophy Series is a seven-month-long points-based competition with two categories: Marathon and Shorter Distances and Ultra Distances.

Chicks Rule

Are women physiologically better suited for ultra distances? If the latest Ultra Division standings are any indication, there may be some truth to the theory. The top four overall spots – and 7 out of the top 10 – are held by the “x chromosome.”

Bend, Oregon’s Kami Semick heads up the Ultra standings – which includes 2800 other trail ultrarunners – thanks to impressive performances at the Kettle Moraine 100K (Whitewater, Wisconsin), McDonald Forest 50K (Corvallis, Oregon) and the Miwok Trail 100K (Sausalito, Caliofornia). The 38-year-old Semick, who is married and has a three-year-old daughter, has only stepped up her trail ultrarunning in 2005. “I had run some 50K’s and marathons over the past couple of years, but decided to take it to the next level this year,” she says, “I picked the 100K distance [as my focus] because I think it will allow me to build a good base to graduate to the 100-mile distance next year.”

With her recent race performances, Semick overtook the previous leader, Connie Gardner of Medina, Ohio. Gardner has had a roller-coaster season and has recently found herself at a low point. While running another Trophy Series race, the Capon Valley 50K (Yellow Spring, West Virginia) in May, her leg began bothering her. “I got an x-ray and it confirmed a stress fracture in my femur,” explains Gardner. Still, don’t count out the seasoned trail veteran. She has tabled her plans to run this weekend’s Mohican 100 Trail Championship in hopes of recovering enough to have a good run at the June 25 Western States 100, another Trophy Series event.

Just beyond the top four female-dominated spots in the Ultra Division overall standings, 41-year-old James Kerby of Carnation, Washington, has snagged the top position in the men’s standings. The married computer engineer has piled on the miles during the first part of the trail ultrarunning season and enjoys a slim lead over two trail ultra legends, Eric Clifton (Albuquerque, New Mexico) and Karl Meltzer (Sandy, Utah). To date, Kerby—who is a member of the Montrail Ultrarunning Team—has hammered out impressive times at the Old Pueblo 50 (Sonoita, Arizona), March Mudness 100K (Portland, Oregon), Mt. Si 50K (Snoqualmie, Washington) and Miwok Trail 100K (Sausalito, California).

And what has been the highlight of Kerby’s Trophy Series surge? “I would have to say the Miwok 100K,” he says, “The race is everything it’s said to be – beautiful, tough trails and good margaritas at the finish.”

Kerby will need to put the pedal to the metal if he’s to hold his lead. Several major ultras linger on the schedule and, in addition to Clifton and Meltzer, several traditional stalwarts have not yet surfaced near the top – including six-time Western States 100 champion Scott Jurek.

Top 5: Trophy Series Ultra Division (Men)

  1. James Kerby, Carnation, WA, 472 points (4 races)
  2. Eric Clifton, Albuquerque, NM, 450 points (2 races)
  3. Karl Meltzer, Sandy, UT, 450 points (3 races)
  4. Patrick Benner, Superior, CO, 428.4 points (1 race)
  5. Kevin Dorsey, Cordova, TN, 422.6 points (3 races)

Top 5: Trophy Series Ultra Division (Women)

  1. Kami Semick, Bend, OR, 620 points (3 races)
  2. Connie Gardner, Medina, OH, 524 points (3 races)
  3. Sue Johnston, Waterford, VT, 500 points (2 races)
  4. Tracy Thomas, Champaign, IL, 500 points (2 races)
  5. Krissy Sybrowsky, Seattle, WA, 460 points (3 races)

Brunson Burner Ablaze

In the Marathon and Shorter Division, Angela Brunson of Los Angeles, California, continues her torrid streak. Brunson, 33, has scorched four Trophy Series races this season, with ambitious plans for more. Her top performances include age-group wins at the Bishop High Sierra 20-miler (Bishop, California), Catalina Marathon (Catalina, California) and Palo Alto Vista Trail Run Half Marathon (Palo Alto, California).

Such a hectic racing schedule might take a toll on many people, but Brunson seems unfazed thus far. “My body is absorbing the abuse quite nicely,” she says. In fact, Brunson has gone in search of some cross-training activities to complement the running, and has joined a roller-derby league.

Still, it doesn’t appear Brunson will skate easily to the Trophy Series title, as several women have recently gained ground in the overall standings. Tania Pacev, a 46-year-old trail blazer from Littleton, Colorado, is one of them. Says Brunson, “I had grown quite comfortable [with my Trophy Series points lead], and perhaps a bit too complacent since I’ve had a large lead for the past six weeks.” Look for Brunson to pick up the racing schedule in the coming months.

Like Brunson, Dale Reicheneder of Malibu, California, has enjoyed the Trophy Series Marathon and Shorter Division lead from the Series’ first weekend. He has been relentless in his pursuit of the title, flying across the country multiple times while racking up top race finished. He has flown 17,200 miles alone. Factor in driving miles and Reicheneder has traveled close to two-thirds of the way around the globe in his quest to win the Trophy Series title.

Reicheneder’s trail-running tales already could fill a short book and he conceded that 13 races in 3 1/2 months have tested his mettle. “I guess things are adding up this season,” he says, “so far a broken toe (got caught between two rocks), broken rib (collision with a mountain biker), rattlesnake strike (not a bite), wrong turns, lost luggage, a twisted ankle, blisters and heel bursitis.”

Despite his trail trials and tribulations, Reichender still enjoys a handsome lead. But his title is anything but safe. The top two finishers of the 2004 Trophy Series, Scott Dunlap (Woodside, California) and Michael Robbert (Littleton, Colorado), have collected big points and now have him in their sights, with many big races to come.

“In terms of points, we can catch him,” says Dunlap, “As long as Michael [Robbert] and I keep racing the longer distances, we’re definitely in the running. Dale [Reicheneder] is a self-proclaimed short-course guy.” Dunlap adds, “There’s always a risk of injury, too – not that I would ever wish that on any of my compatriots, but 25 races with travel can be tough on the body.”

Robbert remains cautiously optimistic. “[To catch Reichender] is going to take sticking to my schedule of races, some determination to place in them, and a bunch of luck.” In 2004, Robbert had a very heavy racing schedule, and 2005 is no different. “I have a pretty heavy schedule of races coming up with quite a few longer ones where the points can add up quickly.”

Top 5: Trophy Series Marathon & Shorter Division (Men)

  1. Dale Reicheneder, Malibu, CA, 469.2 points (11 races)
  2. Michael Robbert, Littleton, CO, 272.8 points (3 races)
  3. Scott Dunlap, Woodside, CA, 183.4 points (2 races)
  4. Bernie Boettcher, Silt, CO, 162 points (2 races)
  5. Christian Hendrickson, Denver, CO, 128.6 points (2 races)

Top 5: Trophy Series Marathon & Shorter Division (Women)

  1. Angela Brunson, Los Angeles, CA, 265.2 points (4 races)
  2. Tania Pacev, Littleton, CO, 204.8 points (5 races)
  3. Kathy White, Lakewood, CO, 162 points (2 races)
  4. Julie Ann Bergman, Boulder, CO, 150 points (2 races)
  5. Raz Estridge, Mrufreesburo, TN, 135.8 points, (3 races)

For complete standings, go to
(Press release from Trail Runner Magazine, All Rights Reserved)

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