This year’s USATF Club Cross Country National team and individual champions conquered an elite field — and a challenging course at the River’s Edge Golf Course in Bend, Ore.
“This is the best cross country course I’ve seen in the U.S.,” said former marathon world record holder Steve Jones, who ran a few laps of the 2k loop the day before the races. Many runners finished with battle wounds. On prominent team even pulled out the night before the race, as announced in a tweet.
In the women’s open race, the Beasts Track Club (Seattle, Wash.) dominated the field. Led by Deborah Maier, who finished 3rd in 22:06, the Beasts scored an impressive 34 points with five runners finishing in the top 15. Runner-up team Boulder Running Company/adidas (Colorado Springs, Colo.) placed second for the fourth year in a row, scoring 85 points — despite the absence of Alisha Williams, one of the team’s strongest runners who had to drop out due to injury. HTS Elite (Boulder, Colo.) took third with 108 points.
Individual champion Laura Thweatt, of the Boulder Track Club, capped off a great year with a 20-second victory. She ran 21:43 on the 6k course. Runner-up Amy Van Alstine competed for Team Run Flagstaff.
In the men’s open race, only 25 points separated the top three teams. Champions League Athletic Performance (Boulder, Colo.) scored 127 points, led by Bret Vaughn, who finished 4th in 31:20. Pre-race favorite Zap Fitness Reebok (Blowing Rock, N.C.) took second by just one point. Team Run Flagstaff was third with 152 points, and last year’s team champion Hanson-Brooks Distance Project (Rochester, N.Y.) was 4th with 165 points.
Joe Gray of Club Northwest (Seattle, Wash.) allowed the course to take its toll on the field of more than 400 runners. He attacked the later stages of the course to win the individual title by 6 seconds on 31:05 for the 10k. Interesting: Race director and course designer Max King finished 15th with a time of 31:42.
In both the women’s and men’s master’s 40+ races, Atlanta Track Club teams took first. The over 50 master’s champions were the women of the Impala Racing Team (San Francisco, Cali.) and the men of the Cal Coast Track Club (Orange County, Cali.). Women’s over 60 champion team was the Genesee Valley Harriers (Rochester, N.Y.); the men’s over 60 champion team was the Ann Arbor Track Club (Ann Arbor, Mich.). In the men’s 70+ race, the winning team was the Central Oregon Running Klub.
Recommended reads and info:
Complete team and individual results
Women’s Open Results
Men’s Open Results
Awesome pictures by TracktownPhoto.com
Kenyon Neuman (left) and Kurt Roeser (right) of Champions League Athletic Performance talk about the race here: