Thursday, July 05, 2012

Yes/No: USATF-Minn. Trail Championship

The Afton 25K, which will be held Saturday at Afton State Park, is doubling as the USATF-Minnesota Trail Championship.

The men’s 25K field could be one of the fastest ever – and not only because the race will return to its original venue after last year’s state government shutdown forced it out of the state park and onto neighboring – and hilly – Afton Alps ski area.

Former Gopher Ben Kampf, the three-time defending champ and proprietor of the course record in 1:37:39, will be back to defend his state title, but he will have to contend with Team USA Minnesota’s Josh Moen and 2011 USATF 10k Trial Champion Joe Moore.

This brings us to Down the Backstretch’s first ever trail running Yes/No question...

Yes/No: Will Josh Moen win AND break the course record at the Afton 25k?

Moen, who is sponsored by Mizuno, is inarguably quick on the roads, boasting a 1:02:52 half marathon PR. Moore most recently ran a 1:04:43 in June’s US Half Marathon Championships in Duluth in June. However, this will be Moen’s trail racing debut, and while the primary weapon in a trail runner’s quiver is still running fast, the amount of elevation gain and loss, as well as the technical nature of many of Afton’s trails, could prove advantageous to trail veterans like Kampf and Moore. But in fairness, Kampf set his record in 2009, having never run a serious trail race, either.

Kampf has his sights set on his own record as well, and he acknowledges that this year’s field will be strong. “My goal for this race is to run hard and break my course record,” he said. “I have absolutely no idea what [Moen and Moore] are like on the trails but I think it has the very real possibility of being a competitive race, if it's not too hot and humid.”

In the women’s race, Marissa Yovetich will be defending her title from 2011. She’ll face stiff competition from Thea Fleming, who came near the 25K course record at this race in 2007, as well as Nichole Porath, who competed in the Olympic Marathon Trials in January.

The Afton Trial Run also features a 50K race, though it does not serve as the USATF-MN Trail Ultra Championship (it has in past years). The women’s 50K will feature Becky George, whose undefeated 2012 includes an overall win at the Zumbro 50 Mile in March, against five-time Afton 50K champion and course record holder Eve Rukavina-Rembleski. The men’s race will see the ultramarathoning debut of former Roseville High School standout Tim Branigan.

To play our game, simply type "yes" or "no" into the subject line of an e-mail and send it to us at DtBFantasy [AT] gmail [DOT] com before 7:30 A.M. CDT, Saturday, July 7th.  Please put your answers in the subject line of the e-mail and make sure your full name appears somewhere in the e-mail.

Alex's answer:  No. He could break Kampf’s record – as could Kampf – but regardless, he will be behind Moore.

Doug's Answer:  Yes

Our final Olympic Trials Yes/No question last week was: Will Gabriele Anderson or Will Leer finish in the top four in their respective races on Sunday? The answer was  yes - Leer finished twelfth and Anderson was fourth.  Twenty-six players answered correctly this week.  Gloria Jansen is still in first place and has seventeen points, followed closely by Mike Mason with sixteen points.  There is a pack of five with fifteen points.

There were two people who answered correctly on all four of the Olympic Trials questions.  The overall leader, Gloria Jansen, and John Leaf both were perfect during the trials.  Jansen was also the monthly Yes/No winner - she was a perfect 7 for 7 in June and currently is in the midst of a nine-question streak of all correct answers.

For all the results, please visit DtB Fantasy Corner, HERE.

1 comment:

Doug said...

Josh Moen was third behind Joe Moore and Ben Kampf. The correct answer was no.