March 28, 2013 (Phoenix, Arizona) – Aravaipa Running today announces prize money for the return of the Crown King Scramble 50K. The first place male and female runner in the April 6, 2013 ultramarathon foot race will each receive $250. The Crown King Scramble has a long history as one of Arizona’s oldest and most competitive ultra marathons. Jamil Coury, who is reviving the race after a 5 year hiatus talks about the reason for adding in prize money: “Back in the day, this race would attract many of the top names in the sport of ultramarathon running from across the country. Some of the battles at the front of the pack are legendary. We want to re-foster this level of competitiveness for the first year return of the race and make a big statement that the race is back.”
In addition to the prize money for this year’s winners, a $500 course record bonus will be available to the first man or woman to break the event records. The men’s record was set in 1996 by Dermot McGonigle in a time of 4:00:27, while the women’s record was set by legendary runner Ann Trason in 2002 in a time of 4:34:13. Although set on slightly altered courses (the starting line was located in a different place), the distances are virtually identical. “Dermot and Ann’s times will be the ones to beat in order to earn the event/course record bonus” Coury adds.
Is there a shot at the records going down this year? Coury thinks the men’s field has a good shot with three top runners toeing the line this year. “We have 2:11 marathoner, adiUltra team member and Olympic marathon alternate Trent Briney coming in from Colorado, Phoenix local 2:24 marathoner Joshua Trevino who has set three course records at the McDowell Mountain Frenzy 25K, Elephant Mountain 35K and Mesquite Canyon 30K so far this year, and 2:19 marathoner Kalib Wilkinson of Flagstaff who has placed 4th at the JFK 50 Mile and at the top of several ultras. These guys could push each other right up that hill to a new course record as long as the heat doesn’t get to them.”
In the women’s race, Kristina Pham will be the one to watch. Her 2012 course record at the Pemberton Trail 50K of 3:47:02 shows she has the speed and talent to run a fast 50K.
Weather forecasts are a bit all over the place right now, with 10 day forecasts fluctuating between highs of 77 and 93. Coury adds, “That could really be the deciding factor between a course record run or not.”
The Crown King Scramble, fueled by GU Energy Labs is organized by Aravaipa Runing. Runners will start at Lake Pleasant Regional Park outside Peoria, Arizona in the Sonoran Desert and climb 6,000 feet up to the mining town of Crown King in the heart of the pine covered Prescott National Forest in the Bradshaw Mountains. Registration is still available here.
The 2nd edition of the Pass Mountain Trail Runs featured slightly modified courses of the 50 Km and 26 Km routes and the consolidation of last year’s 10 Mile and 9 Km into a single 11 Km race. With an overall entry limit of 200 runners, we knew we could only offer three race distances this year. During race week, the race sold out (the 2nd DRT Series race in a row to sell out) and we were primed to have 200 runners join us for a beautiful day out at Usery Mountain Regional Park.
The changes to the two longer courses were slight: we moved runners from the sandy and convoluted Channel Trail up on top of the Levee Trail which is flat and fast, offering spectacular views of the Flatiron and Superstition Mountains directly to the East. There was also the addition of the Cat Peaks Pass Trail, bringing one additional hill into the mix.
50 Km runners traverse two big loops (a mix of mostly flat trails within Usery Mountain Regional Park and a loop on the Pass Mountain Trail within the Tonto National Forest), but only return to the start/finish line at the end of the race. Over 30 runners joined us this year for the 50 Km distance including last year’s 50 Km women’s winner Paulette Zillmer, Deb Hamberlin who won the Cave Creek Thriller 50 Km this year, Michael Smith who placed 2nd at the Cave Creek Thriller, and Scott Bajer who placed 4th at the Cave Creek Thriller 50 Km. Smith led early on the first loop around Pass Mountain, holding a 9 minute lead over 2nd place Scott Bajer from Flagstaff coming into the Blevins Aid Station. Rhet Stinson followed 2 minutes behind Bajer and was closely followed by Tory Kendrick from Missoula, M0ntana and Jordan McKnight.
Smith paid a bit for his quick first lap, slowing down on his second trip around Pass Mountain, but held on to the win in 4:39:51. Tamas Varga who was in 6th place after loop 1, surged ahead and finished 2nd just 6 minutes back of Smith in 4:45:43. Bajer, Kendrick and Stinson rounded out the top 5 all finishing within 5 minutes of each other (4:46, 4:48, & 4:51).
Paulette Zillmer led the women’s race from the start, building up a 6 minute lead after the first loop over Aimee Kendrick visiting from Missoula, Montanta. Zillmer continued to build up her lead on the second trip over the mountain and with a strong kick, squeaked under 5 hours to finish in 4:59:53, 7th overall and lowered her time from last year by almost an hour. Magi Redlich (Winner of this year’s Man Against Horse 50 Mile) of Tempe finished 2nd in 5:19, followed closely by Kendrick in 5:21.
Ultra Points Standings – After two events, Michael Smith is leading the Ultra division with 1923 points, followed by Scott Bajer with 1833 points and Tamas Varga in third with 1775 points. Deb Hamberlin is currently leading the women’s field with 1872, Margaret Dehesse is in second with 1664 and Carin Schmidt with 1577. Points are awarded based upon a percentage of the winner’s time at each race up to 1000 points. Up to three races may be scored.
The 26 Km runners also enjoy a trip into the Tonto National Forest around the Pass Mountain Trail. The 2nd race in the DRT Series really kicked up the competition this year with some runners laying down some fast times! Brian Folts shot out of the gates and led the race wire to wire sporting pink compression socks and a speedo printed with “Smashing it for Sally”, showing support for the Sally Meyerhoff 5K on December 10. Brian finished in 1:57:30 and held off Nick Goodman of Fountain Hills and Cave Creek Thriller 30 Km runner up Paul Kramer who finished in 1:59:21 and 2:00:03 respectively.
The ladies race wasn’t quite as close as some in the past, as Lauren Besenfelder of Scottsdale took the win in 2:15:59 over Ivana Jourdon in 2:20:43. They were both way under last year’s female best time of 2:38. There were a total of 94 finishers in the 26 Km race.
Trail Points Standings – Paul Kramer is currently leading the DRT Trail Series with 1979 points, Eric Weber is second with 1724 and Eric Weber is third in 1688. Michelle Patuto is leading the women’s series with 1855 points, Mary Knott is in second with 1784 and Erin Glenn rounds out the top three with 1732 points.
The 11 Km was a totally new distance and course this year, following roughly the same trails as the 26 Km, with the noted exception of the 800+ foot climb over the difficult Pass Mountain Trail. Runners were still treated with fantastic views of the Supersition Mountains and the beautiful trails within Usery Mountain Park. John Borrego who placed 4th at the Cave Creek Thriller 10 Km in October pulled off the win (50:26) over CCT champ Tim Merritt (51:19). Following closely in third was 16 year old Benjamin Krakoff of Paradise Valley (51:45). After her win at October’s CCT, Lisa Raykowski (59:40) was edged out by first time DRT runner Shelby Lile of Tempe (58:00) in the women’s race. A total of 78 runners finished the 11 Km.
We want to thank Jennifer Johnston, park supervisor of Usery Mountain Regional Park, Don & Molly Quinn, park hosts at Usery Mountain Regional park, the Tonto National Forest, and Solomon for coming out and setting up their booth at the race.
Stay tuned for next year’s Pass Mountain Trail Runs to be held November 17, 2012 with a 250 runner limit!
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