There are many varieties of running races: sprints, middle distance, track, road and cross-country are the most common. In recent years, mountain running has developed. Mountain running differs from other forms of running races in the nature of its terrain. It is basically like an extreme version of cross-country running in which hills are steep, long and frequent with similar descents. Races generally occur on technical trails so that there is the added dimension of dealing with surface challenges like mud, rocks, roots and loose dirt.
There are two main kinds of mountain running races; those which begin at the bottom of a hill or mountain and end at the top and those which both ascend and descend hills or mountains. Both kinds produce hard races.
Mountain running is a sport that it popular among high-level cross-country skiers and often well-performed by them. It requires a well-developed aerobic system like running with the added stress of climbing. Leg speed and technique are still important, but not like on a track, with the added emphasis being on leg strength and its endurance. This difference tends to make the races more resemble ski racing in their physical demands.
This Sunday is the first major mountain running race in the Ottawa region, and takes place at Mont Tremblant. It is a race that begins in the village of Tremblant and climbs up some trails to the top of the mountain, where it finishes with no descending on the course. The hill is relatively steep, though it is gradual enough that the top men are able to run the whole way without walking (this is often not the case in mountain running).
XCOTTAWA has a proud history in this event and will be represented by Karl Saidla, Ed McCarthy and Arno Turk. Two years ago, then XCOTTAWA affiliated junior skier and current team member Ed McCarthy forced a pace that no one could handle and beat XCOTTAWA's Tom McCarthy for the victory.
Last year, Ed was no longer affiliated with us, and came a strong second to Karl Saidla with a large margin on all others. Hopefully, similar skills will prevail this weekend as Arno, Karl and Ed race the hill.