A National Championship for Mammoth Track Club

Apr 07, 2022

The Mammoth Track Club has its first national champion of the year. On March 5, Nico Montanez raced the U.S. 15Km National Championships in Jacksonville, FL where he took on a stellar field of professional runners and won. Competing athletes included four U.S. Olympians from the recent Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo.

The game plan to win the race was simple, “make them hurt going up the last hill!” For those of us living and training in Mammoth Lakes, we know that we are exceptionally strong on the uphill portions of a run at sea-level, so he used that confidence to win this race. With two miles to go, the athletes hit the Hart Bridge (‘The Green Monster’ as it’s affectionately called by Jacksonville locals). Nico’s plan was to gap the field once at the base of the hill. Nico motored to a 4:41 up the hill and put 9 seconds on the men’s field in that short of time. He then ran scared during the remaining 9 minutes of the race, finally running his last mile in 4:22 coming off the bridge toward the finish line.  In the end, he triumphed by 4 seconds over the runner-up and averaged an impressive 4:38 for the 9.3-mile course.

He now turns his attention to the 126th running of the Boston Marathon on April 18, where he will take on the world’s best marathoners on the most historic course on the planet. His momentum is great and his confidence is high! Tune in to watch Nico race the Boston Marathon on the U.S.A. Network or NBC Sports app.

On the women’s side of the Mammoth Track Club, Carina Viljoen had a spectacular season in her home country of South Africa. Running on the roads and the track she never lost a race. Once back in the U.S. she ran a few indoor track meets in search of the indoor world championships standard of 4:09 at 1500m. She came agonizingly close, running a 4:12 at Boston University.  

In March, Carina turned her attention to the road racing scene and ran a road mile in Newport Beach, CA. She came in second in a new road mile personal best time of 4:29. Up next for Carina is more racing back home at the South Africa Outdoor Track Championships in mid-April where she will look to get her first national title as a senior athlete to add to her many, already-acquired titles as a young junior.

In other news…

The Mammoth Track Club adult membership begins their weekly practices at the Whitmore Track starting on Tuesday, April 5 at 7 am. Dress warmly for practice!

Andrew Kastor

Andrew currently resides in Mammoth Lakes with his wife Deena (Olympic Marathon bronze medalist and American Record holder in the marathon and half-marathon) and their daughter, Piper Bloom. He’s the head coach for the Mammoth Track Club.

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