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Selection criteria announced for World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge

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The 11th annual World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge will be hosted by the Pikes Peak Ascent on Saturday, August 16, 2014, in Manitou Springs, CO. Athletes interested in competing in the event for Team USA will have the opportunity to make this year’s 10-member squad. Selection criteria was approved by USATF’s Mountain Ultra Trail executive committee on March 5, 2014, and includes races in Colorado and New England.

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The World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge is regulated by the World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) under the patronage of the IAAF. The first World Long Distance Mountain Challenge was held at Sierre-Zinal in Switzerland in 2004. Since then, the event has been hosted primarily in Europe, but also in the U.S. with the Pikes Peak Marathon hosting in 2006, and the Pikes Peak Ascent in 2010.

The first team competition took place in 2009. The U.S. Women have won the team title twice and the individual title twice. The U.S. Men have one gold and one silver team titles, along with two individual titles. The U.S. team consists of 5 women and 5 men.

The 2014 U.S. team selection is as follows. The top U.S. male and the top U.S. female at Pikes Peak Ascent in 2013 received automatic berths. Eric Blake, 35, New Britain, CT, has accepted his spot, although Kim Dobson, 29, Grand Junction, CO, has declined her spot as she and her husband Cory are expecting their first child this spring.

The top U.S. male and top U.S. female at each of the following races will receive automatic berths. First up, the Vail Pass Half Marathon, on June 7, in Vail, CO, followed by the Mt. Evans Ascent on June 14, in Evergreen, CO, and finally the Northeast Delta Dental Mount Washington Road Race on June 21, in Gorham, NH.

Should the top U.S. male and female at the aforementioned races decline his or her spot, the berth is not extended to the second-place finisher. However, the athletes who post a top finish at any of the selection races will be considered when resumes are reviewed by USATF’s Mountain Ultra Trail executive committee to select the final U.S. male and final two U.S. women for the team. Mountain racing experience – especially uphill performances, national championship participation, and international experience will be considered for selection as well as a top 15 placing at the 2013 World Long Distance Mountain Running Challenge, which was held in Szklarska Poreba, Poland. Any athletes named to the team must be a U.S. citizen and have a current USATF membership.

Athletes interested in submitting a running resume for consideration should do so by June 24, 2014. Running resumes should be sent to this email with a copy to this email.

This is an unfunded team, and thusly, no travel funds are provided for athletes. However, there is some support for lodging from the local organizing committee. Team uniforms have been requested from USATF. The U.S. Team will be announced by July 15, 2014. Contact this email with any questions.

To learn more about mountain running opportunities in the USA, visit www.usmrt.com and www.trailrunner.com. Internationally, be sure to follow the WMRA on Facebook at this link.

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