USATF-NE Mountain Running Championship

by Dave Dunham <>

This was my first attempt at directing a NE championship, and I certainly learned some things! The competition was as hot as the day. Temperatures creeped up to 80 degrees, it was hard to imagine that the same trails were being skied on only a couple of weeks ago. The race was not only run to crown the New England champions, but would also serve as the selection race for the USA mountain running team. The top 2 men and the top woman would be automatically selected for the team, which will compete in the World Mountain Trophy in Arte Terme Italy on September 16th.

The field included 5 former US team members. On the men's side favorites included: Eric Morse a 5 time member of the US team, a 3 time NE Mountain circuit champion, and the winner of the previous 2 USATF NE mountain championships. Dan Verrington a 6-time member of the US team, and runner up at the previous weekend's mountain race. Dave Dunham a 9-time selectee to the US team who recently set the American record for 50k. Mike Casner a 4 time member of the US team who has always run well in the NE championships, and currently is the all-time point's leader in the USATF NE mountain circuit (1995-present). Wilson Perez an All-American at Keene State College with a 29:30 PR taking his first stab at mountain running. Ben Nephew, one of the best pure trail runners in New England "fresh" off his victory at the grueling 7 sisters trail race the previous weekend.

The women's field was also an excellent mix of talent. Nikki Kimball was runner-up at the 100K national championships and has been tearing up the trail circuit including an 18-minute course record the previous weekend at 7 sisters. Suzy West a 3 time member of the US mountain running team, perennial top finisher at Mount Washington, and winner of last weeks USATF NE mountain circuit race at Mt Kearsarge. Barbara Remmers former Mt Washington champion looking to test the waters in an up/down race.

The field of 65 runners took off at 9am on the 5K double loop course. Each K was marked, as was the course with 225 surveyor flags. The lead pack of Morse, Perez, Dunham, Verrington, Casner, and Nephew pulled away from the rest of the field in the fast (although the footing was a bit dicey in spots) first 1k. Morse and Perez pressed the pace leading up to the initial climb up Barrett Mountain. This part of the course is the toughest with over 500' of climb in about 800m (approx. 19% grade). Morse began to pull away running a 5:30 K split. Perez decided that walking was a faster mode of locomotion. Dunham and Verrington passed Perez on the mountain, but quickly lost sight of a fast accelerating Morse. "I never saw Eric on the downhill" noted Verrington "I was too busy watching my feet".

The 4th and 5th K were slightly rolling with spots of tricky footing and a bit of mud. On the 200m section that is run as an out/back, Morse passed Verrington and Dunham with a 1-minute lead. Morse's split at 5k was 19:05; by comparison the same loop done in February during a snowshoe race was run in 21:48. Casner lead Nephew and Perez through 5k about 40 seconds behind Dunham and Verrington. The race then drastically changed. Perez called it quits at the end of the first 5k loop. Morse ran into major problems as he went of course and lost at least 2 minutes. Once he was back on course, Morse closed on Casner during the 2nd climb up Barrett Mountain. Verrington and Dunham continued to duel, believing that one of them would not be the automatic selection to the US team.

Morse pulled ahead of Casner with about 2k remaining; he then went off course again and decided to call it a day. Dunham and Verrington ran stride for stride in the last 200m with Verrington (who does all of his speed work ON TRAILS) outkicking Dunham (who has been nursing a strained hamstring) at the line. Dunham was visibly upset upon learning of that Morse had not finished 1st. "What dumb #$%$&#%^ marked this course" stated Morse. There were many opportunities for someone not familiar with trail running (or not paying attention) to take a parallel trail or head off in the wrong direction.

The women's race was also very exciting. "Suzie (West) is an awesome climber, so I just wanted to hang with her on the climb" Noted Kimball. Nikki went on to state that she "went all out to match her pace climbing, then tried to create a gap on the descent". There was never a lead pack of women, but Kimball knew her competition well. While clicking off even splits for the second loop she worried about "Suzie…as she is currently training for the Lake Placid Iron man", "Debbie, of course has a good successful trail running history. Amy Caldwell is and excellent cross country skier and a professional triathlete".

The remaining members of the team will be selected via the 2nd selection race (Barr Trail) and from resumes submitted to Dave Dunham ( or Nancy Hobbs ( Interested athletes should submit resumes and current results to Dave or Nancy.

Results below, and click here for pictures

about 11K
Windblown NH, May 12

1.Dan     Verrington 0:41:08 M      100.00%
2.Dave    Dunham     0:41:08 M      100.00%
3.Mike    Casner     0:42:21 M       97.13%
4.Ben     Nephew     0:42:34 M       96.63%
5.David   Herr       0:44:05 M       93.31%
6.Mark    Pitts      0:46:11 M       89.07%
7.Robert  Chasen     0:47:12 M   40  87.15%
8.Richard Stockdale  0:47:23 M   50  86.81%
9.Nicki   Kimball    0:47:51 F       85.96%
10.Paul   Young      0:48:09 M       85.43%
11.Thomas Wetter     0:48:09 M       85.43%
12.Len    Hall       0:48:49 M   40  84.26%
13.Suzie  West       0:50:27 F       81.53%
14.Scott  Spence     0:51:11 M       80.36%
15.John   Pelton     0:52:02 M   60  79.05%
16.Dave   Birse      0:52:28 M   40  78.40%
17.Cituck Landry     0:52:48 M   40  77.90%
18.DeborahSchieffer  0:53:03 F       77.54%
19.Amy    Caldwell   0:53:09 F       77.39%
20.Paul   Thompson   0:53:49 M       76.43%
21.Art    Davis      0:54:27 M       75.54%
22.Thomas Backus     0:55:32 M   40  74.07%
23.Gregg  Lowe       0:55:53 M       73.61%
24.Jay    Salus      0:56:16 M       73.10%
25.John   Stansfield 0:56:16 M   50  73.10%
26.Thom   Parker     0:57:27 M       71.60%
27.Annie  Wetter     0:58:41 F       70.09%
28.Dan    Poliquin   0:59:03 M       69.66%
29.MichaelWade       0:59:20 M       69.33%
30.Lisa   Doucett    0:59:41 F   40  68.92%
31.Donna  Smyth      1:00:10 F   40  68.37%
32.BarbaraRemmers    1:00:21 F       68.16%
33.Jeff   O'Neill    1:00:35 M       67.90%
34.David  Poliquin   1:01:34 M       66.81%
35.CharlesJohnson    1:02:29 M   50  65.83%
36.Brenda Bolan      1:02:51 F       65.45%
37.Derek  Sebalj     1:03:24 M       64.88%
38.Lynne  Ploof      1:03:38 F        64.64%
39.Yuki   Minami     1:04:25 F       63.86%
40.David  Wendt      1:04:29 M   50  63.79%
41.Elden  Burkinshaw 1:04:31 M   50  63.76%
42.David  Sachs      1:05:46 M       62.54%
43.Fred   Ross       1:07:44 M   50  60.73%
44.Ken    Deary      1:08:09 M   40  60.36%
45.Andrew Barrett    1:08:25 M       60.12%
46.Addie  Kim        1:08:47 F   40  59.80%
47.Steve  Moland     1:09:48 M   50  58.93%
48.Brian  Sanborn    1:12:34 M   50  56.68%
49.Tracey Sousa      1:13:39 M   40  55.85%
50.Paul   Grant      1:13:40 M   50  55.84%
51.MarshalMcCloskey  1:14:23 M   50  55.30%
52.Emer   O'Donoghue 1:19:59 F       51.43%
53.RichardMacdonald  1:20:32 M   50  51.08%
54.Laurel Shortell   1:25:43 F       47.99%
55.GregoryCazson     1:26:30 M   40  47.55%

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