Submitted by Craig Distl
The USA 10km Trail Championships will be held on Beech Mountain's Emerald Outback trail system this June 29.
These national championships, officially sanctioned by USA Track & Field, move to Beech Mountain this summer after a four-year stint in Laurel Springs, N.C. The races are designed to challenge the country's best 10-kilometer trail runners in a variety of age groups.
Race director Jason Bryant of Mountain Goat Racing in Elkin, N.C., chose the Emerald Outback for its topography, elevation (5,400 feet) and unique terrain. He believes the trail system will be an excellent proving ground for determining the top runners in the nation.
"Running - like life - should be about a challenge," Bryant said. "And that's what this race is. It's a chance to challenge yourself in a beautiful mountain setting."
The championships are open to all male and female distance runners. Champions in the men's open division and women's open division each receive $800 in prize money. Winners will also be crowned in several men's and women's age divisions, as well as in team competitions.
"One of the things I love about this event is it attracts every type of athlete," said Bryant. "It has elite-level athletes and also athletes who only run races on occasion. It also attracts those runners who compete in specific age groups."
Because the championships are open to all, they occasionally produce surprise winners. Last year the men's champ was Durham's David Roche, an unknown on the national trail running scene. Two years ago, the women's title went to Ester Erb of Blowing Rock, an underdog who registered the morning of the event.
"It's a chance for a national championship. A lot of people want that title," Bryant said. "We have people travel from all over the country. It definitely carries prestige."
The championships begin at 9:00 a.m. on June 29. Entry fee is $35 per person until May 31, and $40 through June 15. Runners and their families are encouraged to take advantage of lodging specials on Beech Mountain, as well as activities available to guests in the resort town.
"There's great lodging on Beech for runners and spectators, as well as restaurants and plenty of hiking and things to do," Bryant said. "It's an ideal location for an event like this."
For race details and online registration, go to: MountainGoatRacing.com.