The USATF 100 Mile Trail Championships will take place this Saturday Jan. 30 at the Rocky Raccoon 100 presented by Altra and put on by Tejas Trails. Rocky Raccoon hosted the USATF 100 Mile Trail Championships the past two years and one other time in 2006. The race runs the trails at Huntsville State Park in Texas. The course is five loops with each loop being 20 miles. There is a minimal amount of elevation gain with each loop, but the trails do roll a little to keep racers engaged. The footing is mostly non-technical, soft terrain. Forecasted weather conditions are 38 at race start with a 40% chance of rain in the am, so things could be a little messy early in the race. Will this slow down some newcomers who are often hot to trot off the start? Conditions should improve through the day with temps moving up to around 60 and clearing. The course records are 12:44:33 for the men set by Ian Sharman in 2011 and 14:22:18 for the women set by Nicole Kalogeropoulos just last year.
Speaking of Nicole, she will be returning to defend her National Champion title at 100 Mile Trail. Nicole is from Dallas, Texas so should be quite accustomed to the Texas conditions. Paul Terranova will also be returning to defend his National Champion title at 100 Mile Trail. Paul is a local Texan from Austin who puts feet to Texas trails often, so he should have plenty of friends along the course to antagonize him. Will there be any challengers to their status as reigning champions? In addition, Ian Sharman will be racing once again as he looks for his 3rd overall win at Rocky Raccoon. Sharman is not eligible for the USATF Championship since he is not a US citizen.
In addition to the overall categories at the USATF 100 Mile Trail Championships, age group championships will be contested in 5 year age groups beginning with 40-44 and going through 70+. Gunhild Swanson of Spokane, Washington will be looking for another 100 mile trail finish at the age of 71. Gunhild grabbed much attention in finishing Western States 100 this past June as the oldest woman finisher ever at Western States. There will plenty of other age groupers challenging for their categories. You can follow the race in progress on the twitter account here as we plan to do updates during the race. A full list of all USA Championship races along with the Mountain Ultra Trail Championships for 2016 are posted at http://www.usatf.org/Events—Calendar/National-Championships.aspx.