Asheville, NC - 5/30/08 - The 2nd annual Rock2Rock Trail 10k saw larger fields, hot competition, 2 new course records and the important component of giving back to the land we love.
As the first stop on the 2008 LaSportiva Mountain Cup series, the top athletes would get a jump on the points they will need to claim their share of the $25,000 prize purse awarded to the winners in the 13 race national series.
Starting and finishing next to Lake Eden at Swannanoa's beautiful Camp Rockmont, runners were challenged with 10 kilometers of the knarliest and steepest single track around. Traversing two granite outcroppingsâ€¦Choctaw Rock and Eden Rockâ€¦competitors were faced with roots, rocks, ridiculously steep terrain, cliffs, blow downs thick enough to warrant crawling and an elevation gain and loss of more than 2000 feet.
The heat at the front of the race was intenseâ€¦The men included US mountain running team member Shiloh Mielke, national trail marathon champion Aaron Saft, 2008 Mt. Mitchell Challenge winner Jason Bryant, national 50 mile champions Anne and Mark Lundblad, multiple Shut-In Ridge Run winner Meadow Tarves, defending women's champion Amber Moran, and a deep field of additional local talent as well.
Mielke and Saft have traded wins several times in the last year, so the stage was set for another duelâ€¦Both took the pace out hard and strung the field out immediately. The first to feel the effect was Amber Moran. Still suffering the effects of a stellar top 10 finish one week earlier at the US 25k championships, Moran packed it in with â€œdead legsâ€ at the first serious climb and headed back down the mountain.
Mielke, in the meantime, was able to open a small gap at by the second of the two rocks and didn't waste time enjoying the view of the Swannanoa Valley as he accelerated on the very technical descent and managed to carve a minute lead by the finish, breaking the tape in a course record 46:01. Saft (46:58) and Bryant (47:36) also broke the old record in second and third.
The women's race was less dramatic as Meadow Tarves simply destroyed the fieldâ€¦breaking the course record by close to a minute, her 56:19 was almost 10 minutes in front of second place Leah Nicholson (1:05:46) and 3rd place Anne Lundblad (1:06:04).
Master's crowns went to LaSportiva's Buzz Burrell (55:12) and Lundblad (1:06:04).
The Rock2Rock is held in conjunction with Asheville's Mountain Sports Festival, a 3 day festival of competition, food and music with over 15,000 visitors and competitors in Asheville, NC, the center of the East Coast outdoor life.
Festival sponsor and 25 year old local outfitter Black Dome Mountain Sports is proud to donate a portion of all race proceeds to the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy â€“ an organization dedicated to the preservation of the wild places we all enjoy. The 2008 Rock2Rock was able to fund a $500 donation. Chaco footwear has also partnered with Black Dome to fund two $250 donations to the SAHC as awards in the names of Black Dome's selected 2008 top southeastern athlete (Anne Lundblad) and top southeastern environmental group (SAHC). Says Black Dome Mountain Sports general manager, Jay Curwen â€“ â€œWe are a small local shopâ€¦so, it is important when we can partner with our core brands like Chaco and LaSportiva to provide this level of local, grass-roots supportâ€¦recognizing both athletic achievement and environmental stewardship.â€