New York, NY; Vail, CO
2-Time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier Matt Byrne has set his sights on making the U.S. Mountain Running Team. The team of 6 will compete at the prestigious World Mountain Running Trophy Championships this September in Switzerland. The team is selected from two races, the MT Washington Road Race and the Berry Picker Trail Race. At Mt. Washington Matt finished an impressive 6th place in his first ever mountain race, narrowly missing an automatic bid for the US Mountain Team. Making the team would require him to race at his peak potential in the Vail, CO Berry Picker race.
The 4.3 mile Berry Picker would prove to be a different animal from Mt Washington, as Matt would call the course “…the most technically challenging course I’ve ever seen.” The racers went out hard over the first section, a rolling 1.3 miles stretch that would be the easy part of the course. Matt stayed conservative, going into the first steep stretch in 6th place.
The next 3 miles would climb over 2000 feet, giving the race an overall grade of 12%! To make it tougher the course consisted of rugged single track with occasional stretches of double wide gravel trails. It would be over this grueling course that Matt began to advance.
All five competitors ahead of Matt knew they would need a good showing to make the U.S. Team. Only the winners spot was assured, the remaining spot would go to committee based on performances at both Mt. Washington and the Berry Picker. Matt pushed hard as soon as the real climbing began, quickly moving into 3rd place. Coming through 2 miles found Matt moving into 2nd place and looking ahead to Simon Gutierrez. Gutierrez, who has qualified for 7 straight Mountain teams, and is 2 time defending World Masters Mountain Running champion, showed his experience with the mountains and slowly pulled away.
Resisting challenges from fellow east coaster Shiloh Mielke, Matt continued on to place 2nd overall. Anyone who has run with Matt knows he has always been tough on hills, but now he has proved it nationally. Matt’s 2nd place finish makes him a strong candidate for a spot on the US Mountain Running team whose roster should be announced soon. We’ll keep you posted!
Abby Dean Continues to dominate the headlines with her 13th place finish in the Elite Division of the New York City Triathlon. Thousands fought the heat and humidity in what has become one of the premier triathlon events in the country. Last weeks strong showing by Abby would continue with this weeks NYC Tri. Olympic distance means a longer swim, longer bike, and a 10k run. The 1500 meter swim in the Hudson is one of the fastest, and Abby cruised through in 20:32. The 40k bike continued up the Henry Hudson Highway out of Manhattan and through the Bronx, giving riders a hilly tour of the city.
The run would continue on the northern loop of Central Park, and here is where the heat took it’s toll on most of the athletes. Abby would add another strong finish to her resume, with one of the fastest runs of the day (37:42).