Rafael Sanchez, 16, of Los Alamos, second from left, is in the Susa Valley of Northwest Italy as part of Team USA for tomorrow’s Under 18 Mountain Running Youth Cup. Courtesy photo
A United States contingent of six athletes, including Rafael Sanchez of Los Alamos, along with two staff members and a small squad of supporters have arrived in the Susa Valley of Northwest Italy for tomorrow’s 14th edition of the World Mountain Running Association’s (WMRA) International WMRA U18 Mountain Running Youth Cup.
This classic mountain running event will feature 90 of the best under 18 (ages 16 and 17), athletes from 14 nations who will compete for individual and team medals.
Race day is Saturday, August 24. The U18 girls’ race will start at 5:30 p.m. local time. The U18 boys’ race will start at 6:15 p.m. local time. Both boys and girls will race the same 4.1 km course with 200 meters of climbing and descending.
“I like the downhills and those will be my best chance to catch people during the race,” Sanchez said. “Also, there are great views from the high point of the course, but I don’t think I’ll be paying attention to those during the race.”
Team USA runners, including Rafael Sanchez of Los Alamos, far left, stand on the cobbled steps above the town of Susa. Courtesy photo