FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BEND, OREGON – (June 12th, 2011) – The U.S.A. Half Marathon Trail Championships held in conjunction with the 10th annual Foot Zone “Dirty Half”, kicked off to sunny, blue skies, a sold out field of 800 runners and some dominant performances on Sunday.
Max King of Bend proved that he is indeed the king of the U.S. trail running scene as he captured his 7th U.S.A. Trail Running Championship. King, who is also a member of the US Mountain Running Team and the 2010 World Trail Running Champion cruised to victory in a time of 1:14:44.
The women’s race looked to be a three way battle until US Ski Team member and 2010 Olympian Morgan Arritola of Ketchum, ID, made a surge halfway through and captured her first U.S.A. Trail Championship in a time of 1:24:34.
King wasn’t the only runner showing his dominance of the trails. Tim Van Orden, 43 from Bennington, VT, won his 5th U.S.A. Masters Championship title with an impressive 5th place overall finish, in a time of 1:18:45. The next Masters runner (forty and over) was nearly three minutes behind Van Orden. On May 14th, Van Orden won the U.S.A. Masters title at the 15 kilometer Trail Championships in Spokane, WA with a 7th place overall finish.
“I ran a pretty conservative race today” said Van Orden. “I wasn’t sure how much gas I’d have in the tank for a race this long at altitude. I let the top four go at three miles and settled into 5th. I probably should have held on longer because I still felt fresh at eleven miles and made a move for 4th, but couldn’t close the gap.” he added.
The 13.1 mile course ran through the scenic Deschutes National Forest and featured mostly single track trails winding though ponderosa pines, seven hundred feet of climbing and views of five snowcapped volcanoes.
Rounding out the men’s top five were King’s training partner and 2010 USATF Trail Championship Series winner Mario Mendoza from Bend in second with a time of 1:15:01. Kristopher Houghton from Albuquerque, NM was third in 1:17:34, Cory Jenkins from Washington, fourth in 1:18:11 and Van Orden in fifth with 1:18:45.
After dueling closely with Arritola for the first half of the race, Marcy Klimek of Phoenix, OR finished second in a time of 1:25:15. Former US Mountain Running Team member Megan Lund Lizotte from Basalt, CO took home third place in a time of 1:25:51. In the female masters competition, 2010 USA Trail Marathon champion Katie Caba from Bend took the win in a time of 1:26:07. Katie was the fourth woman overall.
Bend, which will also host the USA 50k Trail Championships in September is considered by many to be the best trail running town in the United States. But Van Orden has another view “it’s great to see so many people out mountain biking and running here and using the trails. It’s a really athletic town. But it’s not the paradise everyone makes it out to be.” he said. “Where I’m from in Bennington, there are even more trails. In fact the town is almost completely surrounded by trails and to be honest, I think they are a lot prettier.” he added.
Next up for Van Orden is the Mount Washington Road Race on Saturday June 18th, which runs up the auto road of New England’s highest peak in Gorham, NH. Then on June 26th Van Orden will be looking for another Masters title at the U.S.A. Mountain Running Championships at the Cranmore Mountain ski resort in North Conway, NH.