Industry News

Nike to sponsor US Mountain Running Championship

Prize purse increases to $16,000

Longtime USA Track & Field partner Nike has expanded its support for trail running by becoming the first-ever title sponsor for a MUT (Mountain, Ultra, Trail) national championship.

Just 18 months after forming its elite team, Nike Trail Running will sponsor the US Mountain Running Championships slated for July 25, in Bend, Oregon. As the sole selection race for the US Mountain Running Team, this event has become the premier sub-ultra distance trail race in the United States and historically features the fastest trail and mountain runners in the nation.

The top six U.S. men and top four U.S. women earn berths to represent Team USA at the World Mountain Running Championships, September 19, in the Snowdonia region of Wales. National championship awards will be presented to the top 10 men and women overall, top three masters in 5-year age groups (starting at 40), and junior runners (19 and under). The race is open to runners of all ages and abilities. The first 200 runners to register will receive a Nike tech-T included with their registration.

Nike Trail Running is adding $4000 in prize money to the $6000 already earmarked for the event. Combined with $6000 prize money for college students running in the Collegiate Running Association championship, the race will have a total prize purse of $16,000 up for grabs.

“As a long-time trail runner, I’m excited to see Nike coming back into our sport with focused products, elite athlete support and now championship support,” says co-event director Richard Bolt. “This is the first time we’ve had this championship in Nike’s backyard so it only makes sense to have them on board.”

Visit Bend has hosted more than a half dozen USA Track & Field national championships for trail, ultra and cross country. “We love hosting National Championships in Bend, Oregon as it exposes our wonderful community to people from across the country. Many times these are people who appreciate the recreational assets Bend is blessed with and ultimately turns them into frequent visitors,” says Kevney Dugan, Director of Sales of Sports Development for Visit Bend.

Women will have a separate start and run two loops for 8k and 2000’ of climb and descent while the men’s race will feature three loops and 3000’ of climb and descent. These loop courses mirror the format and profile of the world championship race and make it easy for spectators to follow the action.

“Congratulations to the event organizers for creating this course to reflect that of our World Championships,” said Nancy Hobbs, chairperson of USATF’s Mountain Ultra Trail Council. “It enables our athletes to race on much of the same type of terrain and includes climbing and descending like what they will find in Wales in September as members of Team USA. Providing a separate start for women further demonstrates the organizers’ attention to detail and allows the women to better gauge their pace and placement in the race.”

The championship field registered to date includes:

  • Max King, 2014 IAU 100k World Champion and 2011 WMRA World Mountain Running Champion.
  • Mandy Ortiz, 2013 Junior World Mountain Running Champion.
  • Joe Gray, defending USA Mountain Running champion.
  • Patrick Smyth, 10th place at the 2014 World Mountain Running Championships.
  • Anita Ortiz, Western States 100 winner, 11th place, 2002 World Mountain Running Championships.
  • Andy Wacker, 3rd place finisher at the 2014 World Long Distance Mountain Running Championships.
  • Megan Lizotte, 2009 World Mountain Running Championship women’s team bronze medal.
  • Nicole Hunt, 9th place, 2006 World Mountain Running Championships, team gold medal.
  • Other former Team USA members on the pre-registration list include Jordan Chavez, Zach Freudenburg, and Nick Schuetze

More than a championship and selection race, this event is also an opportunity for anyone to test their trail running skills on the challenging Mt. Bachelor course. First-time trail runners can join the fun by participating in the 4k community race which climbs and descends almost 1000 feet and features epic views of the Central Oregon Cascade Mountains.

Post-event food, beverages and social hour will be available by Crux Fermentation Project. Nike will have its Kiger and Wildhorse trail running shoes available for on-site demos. Local favorite Picky Bar will be on-site with a dose of Booyah for athletes and spectators.

Click HERE to register for the event.

For more information on the US Mountain Running Team, visit www.usmrt.com. For details on the Collegiate Running Association, visit www.collegiaterunning.org.

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Jimmy Archer

Founder and Editor at DirtTRI.com. Jimmy has been a professional athlete for over 18 years as a runner, cyclist, mountain biker, cross country skier, and primarily, triathlete. Jimmy has a degree in exercise science from the University of Colorado and is a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling certified coach. Jimmy became a freelance writer in 2000 while competing and covering the ITU Winter Triathlon World Championship. Since that time Jimmy has been head editor at two magazines, been published in numerous publications within the endurance sport, recreation, and travel segments. Currently Jimmy is competing professionally in off-road multisport. In his spare time Jimmy passionately follows Formula 1, Moto GP, and is an avid cook.

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