After making her debut for Team USA, Klaire Rhodes can now add ‘world bronze medalist’ to her resume.
The 24-year-old from Anchorage placed 21st in the short trail event, crossing the line as the fourth American at the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships in Innsbruck-Stubai, Austria.
When the gun went off, Rhodes got to work, ready to conquer the demanding course that featured more than 10,000 feet of elevation gain in 28 miles.
“The course was beautiful and relentless all at the same time,” said Rhodes.
The lone Alaskan on the squad used her mountain and trail expertise to navigate the uncharted territory, moving up in position as the race progressed.
In the first quarter of the race, Rhodes found herself in the top 40, steadily passing competitors with each checkpoint. By halfway, she broke into the top 30, before moving into the low 20s during the final six miles.
Rhodes eventually placed 21st out of 114 women, finishing with a time of 5 hours, 29 minutes and 49 seconds.
France’s Clementine Geoffray topped the field in 4:53:12, leading her country to the team title while Switzerland placed runner-up.
The U.S. women also made the podium, celebrating bronze after the cumulative time of the top three athletes bettered fourth-place Sweden by more than 12 minutes.
Rhodes describes her race day experience as a dream, honored to be a part of a strong U.S. contingent at this year’s world championships.
“Just being here, toeing the start line was a dream day already,” said Rhodes.
And while her performance on the world stage is impressive, Rhodes leaves Austria feeling motivated, hungry for her next endeavor.
“I think as an athlete I’m never totally satisfied with any result,” said Rhodes. “But maybe that’s a good thing because I feel more inspired to keep showing up than ever before.”