This year’s USA Marathon Championships will take place June 4 at Wildwood Park in Appling, Georgia, about 2 and a half hours east of Atlanta. The marathon race will be just a part of the Wildwood Park weekend, which will also include Trail Running, Disc Golf, Skateboarding and BMX racing.
Todd Wells (SRAM-TLD-Scott) will be heading up an elite field of endurance specialists and trying to defend his 2015 National Championship Jersey. Wells, now 40 years old, has backed away from World Cup racing during the past couple seasons and found a strong niche in long-distance events. Earlier this season he won the 34-mile Sea Otter Classic, finished third at the Whiskey 50, and won the 40-mile Grand Junction Off-Road Race two weeks ago.
Wells commented on the upcoming weekend: “If I had to choose only one national championship to compete in all year it would be marathon nationals. You get to ride a giant 100-km loop, you don’t need to spend a month at 10,000 feet to acclimate and you can weigh more than 130 lbs and still do well.”
Wells added: “It rewards a well-rounded mountain biker, and I’m sure this weekend will provide a great race.”
It is an understatement to say that Wells is a well-rounded mountain biker. The three-time Olympian has won national championships at all distances, including short track, cross-country and the marathon. Another “over-40” rider competing this weekend with a well-rounded resume is Jeremiah Bishop (Topeak Ergon-Canyon). He too has won at all distances and was less than two minutes behind Wells at the 2015 Marathon National Championships.
Both he and Wells have enough confidence to go to the front and ride close to their cross-country pace for hours at a time in order to blow the race apart. However, Bishop cautioned, “This year I won’t be the aggressor like I was last year. Having been sick for several weeks has me looking for spot on the podium, while my main priority is preparing for World Championships in France.”
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