After a nine-mile battle with first-place finisher Sopagna Eap, US Olympian and US Ski Team (USST) member Morgan Arritola finished the inaugural USA Half Marathon Trail Championship in second place, less than a minute behind Eap. The runner-up performance was particularly impressive given that Arritola is in the midst of summer training for a different sport and was competing against the best of the USA Track and Field team.
“I was a little surprised,” Arritola admitted. “I don’t train for running so I don’t have huge expectations. In this race I set my sights on the woman who I thought would win and tried to run with her as long as I could.” Arritola didn’t put in any specific training or tapering for the half marathon, preferring to use the race “as a chance to put on a bib and go hard.”
The top places were crowded with locals as Bend native Lisa Nye rounded out the women’s top three with a time of 1:27.54, 4:40 behind Arritola and 5:32 behind Eap. Hometown favorite Max King took the men’s crown with a time of 1:11.03, followed by twins Carlos and Esteban Trujillo of Eugene, Oregon in second and third.
Arritola’s next big move will be heading for New Zealand for a USST training camp in a couple of weeks. Until then, and for the rest of the summer, she will be focusing on skiing as usual, “just working hard day in and day out.”
Maddy is on the Nordic ski team at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where her majors are psychology, political science, skiing, and being an awesome JA.