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The La Sportiva Mountain Cup is a completely new race series that spans North America. The Rock2Rock 10K in Asheville, N.C., launched the 13-event series on Friday, May 30. Runners were treated to a well-organized race, a fun and exciting course, and high caliber competition. Asheville provided a beautiful backdrop, in a unique part of the country that normally only locals get a chance to enjoy.
â€œWhen more runners realize what the Southeast has to offer, events like the Rock2Rock – named after the two summits that are traversed – will become destination events like others that take place out west,â€ said Buzz Burrell, La Sportiva’s Mountain Running team captain. â€œThe Southeast has become a hotbed of Mountain Running and trail racing; and many of the courses there are in the European tradition – fast and technical. The local runners were definitely up for it and had a great time.â€
The La Sportiva Mountain Cup is composed of 13 of the premier races on the continent. Runners earn points at each event, with the overall Cup winners sharing $25,000 in cash prizes â€“ one of the largest purses in the sport of mountain or trail running.
â€œThe Rock2Rock was the perfect tune-up for what is to come, as the top three men and top two women are both specifically training for Mount Washington in New Hampshire. The cash prize is big; and the game is on,â€ said Burrell.
Each race in the series is designed to be fun, fast, exciting and very spectator-friendly. Some courses are hill climbs, some are true mountain races, and some are beautiful loops through the forest. Venues were chosen for their exceptional quality and fun factor. Because the courses are so varied, no specialist is favored. The entirety of the Mountain Cup is designed to encourage the recreational runner to participate, to help grow the sport locally, and to raise its national stature.
The Rock2Rock 10K took place near Black Mountain, just outside of Asheville, N.C. It was part of the up-and-coming Asheville Mountain Sports Festival. The staging area is an idyllic summer camp, so runners were happy to mill around after the event, lounging on the grass or swimming in the warm lake.
“Course records fell for both men and women as the brother and sister team of Shiloh Mielke and Meadow Tarves decimated a deep field that included national champions Mark and Anne Lundblad, national trail marathon champion Aaron Saft, and 2008 Mt. Mitchell champion Jason Bryant – along with a host of local trail-running talent,â€ said Rock2Rock race director Jay Curwen.
Results are available here:
A comprehensive race report is available here:
The Mountain Cup will move on to the Northfield Mountain Race, in western Massachusetts on June 7. The epic Mount Washington Road Race in Gorham, New Hampshire, which has been named the 2008 U.S. Mountain Running Championship, follows on June 21.
â€œNorthfield has a tradition of hosting big races,â€ said Dave Dunham, the race director for the Northfield Mountain Race. â€œLast year we had a record number of finishers (227) and the number of pre-registered athletes is ahead of last year. Paul Low, the 2007 champion is injured and will not be defending his title. Jason Bryant (La Sportiva) may have the longest drive to Northfield as he makes his way from North Carolina. Bryant finished in third place at the Rock2Rock, which was the first race in the La Sportiva Mountain cup.â€
As part of its efforts to promote the Mountain Cup, La Sportiva is partnering with retailers and race directors to promote the races locally. La Sportiva, founded in a small village in the Italian Dolomites, turns 80 years young this year. The La Sportiva Mountain Cup reflects the heritage by bringing European-style trail/mountain racing to the U.S. and Canada.
The La Sportiva Mountain Cup is easy to enter. Complete any race and your points will automatically be scored and totaled. Overall contenders will be scored on their best six races, with $25,000 in cash prizes to be issued at the end of the series. Participants and spectators can follow the Cup throughout the racing season.
For a complete list of venues and to follow the competition, go to:
Editor’s note: Images of the Rock2Rock are available upon request. Simply email Kris Versteegen at Kris@VerdePR.com.
ABOUT LA SPORTIVA
Celebrating its 80th anniversary, La Sportiva brings a strong alpine mountaineering and climbing heritage to its line of performance mountain footwear. This core experience enables La Sportiva to offer the most versatile technical climbing, mountaineering, Mountain RunningÂ® and hiking shoes on the market. For more information on La Sportiva visit www.sportiva.com. Register and get the latest Mountain RunningÂ® news, race highlights and training tips at mountainrunning.com.
Here are all of the links:
Race report: http://www.mountainrunning.com/item.php?id=73
Venue listing: http://www.mountainrunning.com/mc/venues.php
General info: http://www.mountainrunning.com/mc/index.php