Cornell graduate Max King led a historic day for American mountain running, according to the folks at Running Times. Competing against runners from at least three dozen countries, King — who now lives in Bend, Ore. — claimed a gold medal at the World Mountain Running Championships in Tirana, Albania. Finishing 12.7 kilometers in 52:06, he became the first U.S. runner to win gold since Jay Johnson won in 1987.
From Running Times:
The three-lap senior men’s course included approximately 385 meters of gain and loss per lap. King avoided the carnage created by an incredibly steep downhill, moved to the lead on the final interval, and shook off a recent disappointing stretch of racing to win the 27th annual race, which aired live on Albanian TV. Although he easily won the U.S. championships and has an incredible racing resume, his first-place finish is a surprise as East African nations have dominated the mountain running championships in recent years.