Local runners Lund, Gates qualify for world championships
Aspen, CO Colorado
Local runners Rickey Gates and Megan Lund survived Mount Washington, and now will represent their country on the world stage.
Both runners finished fourth among Americans at Saturday’s 50th running of the Mount Washington Road Race, which served as the USA Mountain Running Championships, to secure their places on a U.S. team comprised of six men and four women. They will compete at the world championships in September in Slovenia.
Defending champion Gates completed the 7.6 mile course, which covers 4,650 vertical feet with average grades of 11.5 percent, in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 34 seconds. The Aspen High alum finished 2:12 behind fellow Coloradan Chris Siemers, who cruised to an 18-second victory. Connecticut’s Eric Blake (1:00:40) and Washington’s Joe Gray (1:01:31) rounded out the top three.
Fifth- and sixth-place finishers Max King of Oregon (1:02:34) and Colorado’s Tommy Manning (1:03:27) nabbed the U.S.’s last two world championship slots.
On the women’s side, Ethiopian Shewarge Amare set a new course record with a time of 1:08:21 – with another competitor’s shoes no less; her racing shoes were locked in a car before the race and the driver could not be found, so Amare had to borrow a pair of racing flats.
North Carolina’s Kristin Price (1:11:13) finished second overall and first among the U.S., two-time defending champion Brandy Erholtz of Bailey (1:12:53) was third and Montana’s Nicole Hunt (1:12:59) wound up fourth.
Lund, of Basalt, posted a time of 1:13:30 to comfortably secure the final qualifying spot.
There was far less drama Saturday than last July in Colorado Springs, where Lund had to make a pass on the final lap of the Cheyenne Canon Mountain Race to nab the second and final U.S. team-qualifying slot. She went on to finish 17th in her first world championships in Italy.
The Mount Washington race served as this year’s lone U.S. team qualifier, a departure from previous years.
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The third weekend of play begins Thursday and runs through Sunday with the Bantam B, Squirt A and Squirt B divisions. Because of safety protocols, spectators aren’t allowed.