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World Cup Preview Part One: Broken Arrow

Over the coming weeks we’re going to be taking a look at our 2021 World Cup races. But we won’t just be looking at the events and the stunning routes, we’ll be going behind the scenes to find out what really makes these races and the places they happen so special. First up, it’s Broken Arrow. PLEASE NOTE: NEW RACE DATES are 1 and 3 October 2021.

 Few places are as synonymous with mountain sports as the area around Olympic Valley in California. The Winter Olympics of 1960, the deep history of Western States, it’s the ultimate playground for skiing and running. And we are incredibly proud to have Olympic Valley race, Broken Arrow, in our 2021 World Cup!

Broken Arrow made its debut in the World Cup in 2019 (hear what the top athletes said about it) and it really added a different dimension to the competition. It was great to have so many top mountain runners from the US and Canada mixing it up with top athletes from Europe. In 2019 it was just the 26k race in the World Cup, but this year we have the short uphill (5.1k/+900m) race too!

There are so many things which make this race so special. Firstly there’s the altitude – the races start at 1900m and top out at 2700m – so runners are working hard. Secondly there’s the mix of terrain throughout the race, from good trail, to loose scree, to a ladder in the rock, to steps carved in the snow. It’s a unique route which is never boring and runners are also likely to experience a big variance in temperature between the valley and the mountain. It’s got a distinctly Alpine feel to it, despite taking place in California.

2019 Broken Arrow Skyrace Andrew Douglas for The John OGroats Journal. Photo credit Broken Arrow Skyrace Myke Hermsmeyer. 1 of 4 1

Speaking of Alpine touches, how many races do you finish by ringing a big cowbell on the finish line? It’s details like this, the aid stations where volunteers will go crazy for you and a gentle downhill gradient to the finish that’ll make you feel as speedy as Kilian that make it a unique and unforgettable race.

If mountain athletes vote with their feet then this is the place to be. According to race organiser, Brendan Madigan, “There is a lifetime of trails at Lake Tahoe including Desolation Wilderness, Granite Chief Wilderness, Mount Rose Wilderness, the Western States 100 Endurance Run, Tahoe Rim Trail 100, Castle Peak 100 ... let alone the hundreds of miles of US Forest Service land.”. Locals include Laura Vaughan, winner of many hundred milers including Hardrock (and whose family founded GU), Betsy Nye, Rory Bosio, Adam Kimble and many other notable runners.

It's also a pretty perfect place for a holiday, with great food and places to stay and fantastic opportunities for backpacking, climbing and adventuring.

We’re really looking forward to bringing you all the action from this year’s races on October 1st-3rd for this years World Cup. Let’s all hope that the current public health situation is much improved by then and travel is more open. Entries are open at https://www.brokenarrowskyrace.com/

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