Once Arizona’s most competitive ultra, the Crown King Scramble is making a big splash in its first year back with a stacked field of runners on both the men’s and women’s side. Here we take a few minutes to highlight some of the amazing athletes that will be toeing the line this weekend. These athletes will be competing not only for the win at one of Arizona’s most historic ultras, but $250 in prize money going to the top man and woman to reach the finish in Crown King.
In addition to the $250 to the winner, runners are eligible for a $500 course record bonus. Men will need to break Dermot McGonigle’s 1996 record of 4:00:27 and women will be gunning for Ann Trason’s 2002 record of 4:34:13.
Those at home will be able to follow along live on race day at the finish line on Aravaipa Running’s ultracast (live webcam and instant finish line results). Periodic updates during the race will be posted to Aravaipa Running’s Facebook & Twitter as we hear updates from the course through our amateur radio support. Good luck to all runners!
Kristina Pham – Kristina has to be the favorite going into the race. She burst onto the trail running scene in 2010 with podium finishes at two Aravaipa races and a couple more during this season’s XTERRA trail races after several years of placing well in road races, marathons and triathlons. She smashed the Pemberton Trail 50K course record in 2012 in 3:47:02, becoming the first woman to break 4 hours in that race.
Erin Lostracco – Erin is new to the ultra scene, but has won the Javelina Night Run 50K and American Canyon 50K as well as a finish at her first 50 miler at this year’s Old Pueblo, finishing 4th woman in 9:34:39. She is our youngest entrant this year at 22.
Susan Kramer – Susan will be running her first Crown King, but she has several years of ultra experience. She recently ran her first 100 mile at the ATY 24 hour, placing 2nd female and 5th at this year’s Old Pueblo in 9:55.
Marie Repac – Marie is new to ultras, but has shown steady improvement over the past year. She is on a roll this year with wins at the Pemberton Trail 50K (4:09) and Elephant Mountain 50K (5:16).
Lindsay Scheiwiller – Lindsay is co-owner of the Sedona Running Company and well experienced in the ultra world. She placed 2nd at this past year’s Javelina Jundred and is sure to run smart and strong at Crown King.
Trent Briney – Trent is a member of the brand new adiUltra team and the 2004 Olympic Marathon alternate. He has a marathon best of 2:12:34 and placed 2nd at the 2012 JFK 50 Miler in 5:37:56 which is the 2nd fastest time ever on that course.
Joshua Trevino – Josh burst onto the AZ trail running scene in December with a win and course record at the McDowell Mountain Frenzy 25K and subsequent wins/cr’s at the Elephant Mountain 35K & Mesquite Canyon 30K. He has a marathon best of 2:24 at the 2010 Twin Cities Marathon and will be stepping up to the ultra distance for the first time in competition.
Kalib Wilkinson – Kalib lives in Flagstaff, but ran for Liberty University before jumping up to ultras in 2011. He has a marathon best of 2:19 and along with winning the Terrapin Mountain 50K and Holiday Lake 50K in Virginia, has placed 4th at JFK 50 mile and 2nd in December’s McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50K in a personal best time of 3:28:50.
Michael Carson - Aravaipa Running team member Michael Carson will be running his first Crown King Scramble, but is no stranger to running and winning ultras. He has run 20 ultras over the past two and a half years, recording 6 wins and placing on the podium (top 3) all but 5 times. So far this year he has placed 3rd at the Pemberton Trail 50K in a personal best time of 3:33 and 2nd at last month’s Old Pueblo 50 mile.
Brian Folts – Has won and placed on the podium at many Aravaipa DRT Trail Series races over the past couple years, finished many Ironmans, other triathlons and 10th at Pikes Peak Ascent in 2012. This will be his first 50K. Fresh and loose.
Eric Bohn – Eric runs for Team Salomon, lives in Flagstaff and won last year’s Mesquite Canyon 50K in a stout time of 4:10. So far this year Eric is returning to form with an 18th place finish at the Moab 55K & 15th place finish at the super competitive Chuckanut 50K.
Jamil Coury – Jamil will be toeing the line at his first Crown King Scramble this year. He has lots of ultra experience and wins at several Arizona ultras including the Paatuwaquatsi Water is Life 50K, Zane Grey 50 Mile, Man Against Horse 50 Mile, Old Pueblo 50 Mile & Mogollon Monster 106 Mile.
Paul Bonnett – Paul is a former champion of this race, winning both the 50 km version and 50 mile versions. He will be in contention for the masters win.
Van Patterson – Van has been a part of the Aravaipa trail running scene since January 2011 and has recorded many top finishes at various distances from 9K up to 100 miles.
James Willis – James lives and trains in Flagstaff and placed 6th at the 2004 Crown King Scramble. He recorded a win at the 2011 McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50K and podium finishes at several other ultras including the 2011 Bootlegger 50K and Mesquite Canyon 50K.
Sion Lupowitz – Sion lives in Tucson and is new to the ultra scene, but has finished the Old Pueblo 50 mile the past 2 years in 4th & 5th places and finished 4th at this year’s Coldwater Rumble 50K.
Other Notable Runners
We want to make mention of some other runners who have some historic significance to the Crown King Scramble that will be adding to the flavor of the event this year.
Chase Duarte – Former winner of the 50 km event and 8 time finisher.
Paul Norberg – Seven time finisher of the Crown King Scramble.
Melissa Masteller – Six time finisher
Debbie Leftwich – Six time finisher
Joe Galope – Six time finisher and race director of the Zane Grey 50 Mile
Karsten Solheim – Four time finisher and Arizona Ultrarunning legend
The 3rd edition of the McDowell Mountain Frenzy comes to McDowell Mountain Regional Park this weekend, taking place mainly on the “competitive track” mountain bike courses first built in 1998. The competitive tracks feature rolling hills, narrow single track, banked turns, and several named “features” including “T-Bone Ridge” (the final climb in the 25 Km & 50 Km courses), “The Chunnel” (a horse tunnel/bridge featured in all races), “Double Dip” (two steep descents at the start of the race), and “Cactus Corner” (aid station on the far southwest corner of the 10 mile course).
The 5 Km race is the shortest in the DRT series and follows the Sport Loop, featuring a single loop around “T-Bone Ridge” before descending through the “Clay Pit” just before climbing back up to the finish. The 10 Mile is a combination of the Sport Loop, Technical and Long Loops, taking the outermost line around the entire competitive track. The 25 Km race begins with the 10 mile course and then continues on to an additional 5.5 mile loop made of the Sport and Technical Loops. The race finishes with a bone crunching climb over “T-Bone Ridge” and a final screaming descent into the finish.
50 Km runners will run the 25 Km course with the addition of a figure eight “spur” out into the main park trail system and the Dixie Mine on the far West side of the course. 50 Km runners will depart the 25 Km course at the Gate Aid Station at mile 4, run a service road out to the Pemberton Trail junction and head in the clockwise direction out towards the Coachwhip trail. After turning down Coachwhip and visiting the Dixie Mine itself (Aid Station with drop bags located here), return to the Pemberton Trail via the Dixie Mine trail and continue again in the clockwise direction to the Tonto Tank Trail. A quick trip down the Tonto Tank will return you to the Pemberton Trail where you will again go clockwise back to the service road and the Gate Aid Station.
50 Kilometer Race
This will be the largest 50 Km so far in the DRT Series (currently 56 registered runners) and a large increase from last year’s inaugural MMF 50K which had 33 finishers. Current course records are held by Don Helfer (4:30) and Paulette Zillmer (4:47). In the women’s race, all 3 women leading the DRT Ultra series are registered to run (Deb Hamberlin, Margaret Dehesse and Carin Schmidt). Tony Delogne of Sedona is the pre-race favorite for the men with a win at last year’s Pass Mountain 50K, but will be followed close by Flagstaff’s Scott Bajer who has been up near the front of this year’s CCT and PM runs. Expect Tamas Varga, Jordan McKnight and Jeremy Schmuki to be in the mix as well.
25 Kilometer Race
The 25 Km course will stay the same for the 3rd straight year, but the field continues to grow. There were 56 finishers last year and currently 80 entrants for this weekend’s race. Try not to curse the course designer too much as you climb the final hill over T-Bone Ridge! Watch for Lauren Besenfelder to run away with the women’s race as she steps up to the 25 Km distance from last year’s 2nd place in the MMF 10 Mile. The men’s race should be closer, with a solid Paul Kramer running against last year’s MMF 10 mile winner Brian Dunn. These guys better keep an eye out for out of stater Kevin Tuck from Salt Lake City, Utah who has won several events in Utah over the past few years including Moab’s Red Hot 33K and the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K.
10 Mile Race
The 10 mile race is a fast, rolling course with a winning time just under 1:10 last year! Lisa Raykowski and Melanie Zeese should be up at the front of the women’s race this year as both have run well at PM and CCT this year. Brian Wieck, founder and race director of the Pemberton 50K and last year’s MMF 10 mile runner up is the pre-race favorite in the 10 mile.
5 Kilometer Race
The 5 Km race is a bit small this year, likely due to the Sally Meyerhoff 5K sharing the same day, but will feature Tim Merritt who has run 1st and 2nd at the CCT 10 Km and PM 11 Km respectively.
Registration for all events will be available online through midnight on Tuesday, December 6, at packet pickup on Thursday, December 8 at iRun from 4-7PM or on race morning at McDowell Mountain Regional Park 6-8:15AM.
We’ll be hosting a live web cam of the finish line and instant results on race day through our Ultracast for family and friends back home.
The second annual Pass Mountain Trail Runs will feature 50 Kilometer, 26 Kilometer and 11 Kilometer race distances on trails within Usery Mountain Regional Park and the Tonto National Forest. This is the only race in the DRT Series that ventures outside of the regional park system and onto Forest Service land. The views from atop the saddle on the Pass Mountain Trail are quite spectacular, with the Goldfield Mountains spreading out to the east towards the Superstitions, and views of the Salt River to the north.
While the 11K features little elevation gain (with the exception of going over Cat Peaks), the 26K and 50K courses will conquer an 800 foot climb up and over the Pass Mountain Trail. 50 K runners will make a second trip up and over Pass Mountain before heading into the finish.
50 Kilometer Race
The three DRT Ultra Series points leaders in the women’s field will all be running this weekend (Deb Hamberlin, Margaret Dehesse, and Carin Schmidt) along with last year’s Pass Mountain 50K winner Paulette Zillmer. Paulette is coming off a win at the Bootlegger 50K near Las Vegas two weeks ago and will be looking for her first win in this year’s DRT Series.
In the men’s field, several of our top runners will be sitting on the sidelines since they just ran the Javelina Jundred this past weekend. Keep an eye out for Michael Smith and Scott Bajer who both raced well at last month’s Cave Creek Thriller along with Rhet Stinson who placed 3rd at last year’s McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50K. Michael Carson, the DRT Ultra Series points leader will be out volunteering at the Meridian Aid Station, taking the week off after his first 100 mile finish at the Javelina Jundred!
26 Kilometer Race
The women’s race should be a close race down to the wire, as Lauren Besenfelder (winner of this year’s San Tan Scramble 25K and Coldwater Rumble 18K) goes up against Ivana Jourdan (winner of last season’s Mesquite Canyon 1/2 and McDowell Mountain Frenzy 10 Mile). These ladies went head to head at last year’s McDowell Mountain Frenzy 10 mile, with Ivana edging out Lauren by just 11 seconds! Michelle Patuto, the current leader of the DRT Trail Series will also be racing.
Paul Kramer who was edged out in the closing feet of the Cave Creek Thriller may be able to breathe a bit easier since Bret Sarnquist (who won the Thriller) ran the Javelina Jundred this past weekend (finishing 8th in 18:21). David Santiago who finished 6th at the Thriller will also be back for Pass Mountain.
11 Kilometer Race
Lisa Raykowski who placed 1st at last month’s Thriller and 2nd at last yea’rs Pass Mountain 10 Mile, will be running along with Amy Boodry who placed 2nd at last year’s Pass Mountain 9 K.
The men’s race should be close again, with Tim Merritt leading the pack after his win at the Thriller 10K, but he’ll have to contend with Bryan Dunn of Fountain Hills who won last year’s Frenzy 10 Mile. John Borrego should be close behind for 3rd place.
We will be broadcasting via our “Ultracast” on race day featuring instant results and a webcam of the finish line.
The 2nd annual Cave Creek Thriller will once again jump start the Desert Runner Trail Series. The race is nearly a sell out, with over 190 runners currently registered. Although the distances are the same as last year, the 30 Km and 50 Km courses have been changed up to include some of the other trails within the park. An out and back spur along the Jasper, Slate and Flume trails will take runners to the southern reaches of the park and reduce the total number of loops. There will also be a new remote aid station (Flume) at the turn-around on the out and back. The main 10 Km loop of the course (utilized by all races) will remain the same combination of the Go John and Overton trails.
If this is your first time out to Cave Creek Regional Park, be prepared for a tough set of race courses! The Go John trail is especially hilly and rocky, while also providing the most secluded and stunning views that the park has to offer. Life gets a bit easier on the Overton Trail where the trail smooths out and is mostly downhill back to the finish line. Cresting the final hill of the course a 1/2 mile out, you’ll get a glimpse of the orange tents at the finish line and will have one last screaming downhill to the end.
As this race again falls on Halloween weekend, we are holding another costume contest. We’ll be giving out “Zombie” awards to the best showings!
Another exciting Aravaipa Running innovation that will make it’s official debut at the Cave Creek Thriller is the new “Ultracast“. Nick Coury, the developer of the project explains, “The Ultracast is the new standard in running webcasts. Updates and results are streamed instantly, without a second’s delay. Now, family and friends all over the world will be able to watch your progress in real-time!” Be sure to share this link with family and friends who will be able to watch a webcam of the finish line and see your results pop up instantly. This new feature will become standard at all Aravaipa Running events in the future.
We’ll end this year’s race preview with a summary of the top runners going into next weekend’s race.
50 Kilometer Race
This year’s ultra crowd should like the fact that there will be more than a dozen runners (last year’s field size), meaning more company out on the course. Last year’s winner Jay Danek is returning and we bet he’ll be looking to get a jump on the DRT point series. Jay is also coming off a win at the Javelina 12 Hour on October 15. 2010-11 DRT Ultra Series winner Michael Carson is a last minute entrant and with his recent wins at the Paatuwaqatsi Water Is Life 50K and Man Against Horse 50 Mile, is a clear favorite. Expect Alex Kaine and Tamas Varga to be within reach along with 1998 Hardrock winner Ricky Denesik from Telluride, CO. On the women’s side, Lori Hickernell (who also recently won the Javelina 12 Hour with 75 Km) will be back to defend her title from last year, but will have to contend with this year’s Lean Horse 100 winner Deb Hamberlin.
30 Kilometer Race
Out to test the new 2 loop course will be last year’s DRT Trail Series winner Bret Sarnquist coming down from Flagstaff. He’ll be going up against Tony Delogne from Sedona who won the inaugural Pass Mountain 50 Km, Jordan McKnight of Safford who placed 2nd at the McDowell Mountain Frenzy 50 Km and 4th at Pass Mountain 50 Km, and David Santiago who won the Master’s DRT Trail Series last year. Michelle Patuto, last year’s 2nd place finisher at the CCT 30 Km will be returning and is looking to be the favorite so far.
10 Kilometer Race
There are currently 77 entrants registered, so expect a bit of a crowded start as the course narrows directly onto a single track. The 2010 winner of the Mesquite Canyon 5 mile, Time Merritt will be racing, so we’ll see how he does on a much tougher course. For the women, Lisa Raykowski (2nd at several DRT Series races) and Jona Davis (3rd Mesquite Canyon ’10) should have a good battle up front.
Make sure to join us for packet pickup on Thursday at iRun from 4-7pm. Enjoy 10% off anything in the store when you pick up your packet. If you have any other questions about this weekend’s race, you can contact us by phone, email, or join us for the weekly Papago Park group trail run on Wednesday at 5:30pm.
As high temperatures dip into the nineties here in the Phoenix area, we are gearing up for the first race in Aravaipa’s fall race season. Our first event this year takes place in the rolling, mellow valley of Sonoran desert in between the McDowell Mountains and the Verde River. This area was first inhabited by nomadic hunters and later thousands of Hohokam Indians who made their home near the confluence of the Verde and Salt Rivers. Presently, it is home to McDowell Mountain Regional Park and the over 50 miles of scenic trails that meander through hills and across numerous desert washes that drain the McDowell Mountains.
The most well known trail in the park is the 15.4 mile Pemberton Trail that makes a large loop across two-thirds of the park’s 21,099 acres, butting up against the north and west boundary lines with the town of Rio Verde and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve respectively. The trail head is centrally located along the east end of the loop close to the overall low point of 1800 feet. The trail climbs a steady 600 feet in either direction up to the high point of 2400 feet near Granite Tank and the north west corner of the park. It is comprised of mostly non-technical wide gravel trails and old jeep track making for nice running.
The Pemberton Trail has been a favorite of valley trail runners for many years as an “easy” and scenic long run especially with the stunning scenery of the McDowells, Superstitions, Four Peaks and Mazatzals surrounding the park. The fact that the trail’s high point is half way around the loop means there is always a nice easy downhill back to the trail head. It’s no surprise that in 2001 a two loop trail race was organized and dubbed the Pemberton Trail 50 Km. Two years later, a six and a half loop 100 miler was created by Geri Kilgariff and named the Javelina. For several years Geri held an unsupported training run under the full moon the month before the 100 giving runners a rare chance to see the trails at night, as they are normally closed at sunset.
This year’s Javelina 12 Hour night run will be held under the full moon on October 15-16, starting from the Pemberton trail head. With the full moon overhead, expect stunning views of the surrounding mountain ranges. When the moon is directly overhead, there is typically enough light to see the trail without using a flashlight or headlamp (but please bring one anyways)! There will be a fully stocked aid station at Granite Tank (mile 8.5 in the clockwise direction) and lots of goodies back at the start/finish. There is no set distance, so you choose how far you want to go at the race (1 to 4 loops). If you’re lucky, you might even spot a Javelina out on the trail.
At last year’s night run, we had three runners complete 100 Km (Tamas Varga, Brandon Wyatt, and Kris Milobar), twenty-eight runners complete 75 Km, forty-seven complete 50 Km, and one hundred four run 25 Km. The moon won’t rise until 8pm, so if you want to experience the full moon effect, be sure to head out on a second lap. Everyone who finishes at least 25 Km will receive a Javelina 12 Hour pint glass.
Here is a breakdown of the sunset and moon rise. Remember, we start at 6pm!
Saturday 15 October 2011 Mountain Standard Time SUN Sunset 5:54 p.m. End civil twilight 6:19 p.m. MOON Moonrise 8:06 p.m. Moonset 10:41 a.m. on following day
Phase of the Moon on 15 October: waning gibbous with 88% of the Moon’s visible disk illuminated.