The Loon Mountain Race, which doubled as the U.S. championships, is one of the steepest trail races in North America.
At the July 6 U.S. Mountain Running Championships at New Hampshire’s Loon Mountain Resort, runners had to grind through an insanely steep course to reach the finish line. That includes an infamous section known as Upper Walking Boss, a grass- and rock-covered slope with a 40 percent grade. The races, organized by Chris Dunn and Paul Kirsch, served as the sole qualifying event for the U.S. Mountain Running Team that will compete in the 2014 World Mountain Running Championships (WMRC) on Sept. 14 in Casette di Massa, Italy. Joseph Gray, 30, of Colorado Springs, handily won the men’s 7-mile race with 3,200 feet of elevation gain in 45:52, while Allie McLaughlin, 23, also from Colorado Sprigs, dominated the women’s 4.9-mile race with 2,800 feet of elevation gain in 47:13. Click through photos from Joe Viger to see how ridiculously steep the course really was!