Meet the 2013 Mountain Peak Fitness /Campmor Trail Running Team!
The MPF/Campmor Trail Running Team is comprised of passionate trail runners who yearn for adventure, testing their limits of mental & physical endurance every step of the way. Mountain Peak Fitness is partnered with Campmor, one of the worlds foremost retailers of outdoor gear and camping equipment. Together, our mission is to promote the sport of trail running, bring strength & conditioning to the forefront for outdoor enthusiasts, ensure that everyone is safely equipped for their intended adventure and help preserve the trails for future adventures.
LATEST TEAM ADVENTURES!
- 3/31/13 - Trail Run in Harriman with Teammates & Friends. (13 photos)
- 2/12/13 - A great weekend of hiking in Harriman State Park, topped off with a 5+ hour hike breaking trail every step of the way. (26 photos)
- 1/27/13 - Winter Hike in the Catskills! Catskills, Woodland Valley Campground to Slide Mountain & back. 5 degrees, backpacks, layers, snowshoes, poles, micro-spikes, water, fuel, emergency gear and we were off to climb Wittenberg, Cornell, and Slide mountain. An amazing time had by the MPF/Campmor Trail Running Team and friends! (52 photos)
- 1/13/13 - Road Run to Perkins! A great run this morning from Reeves Meadow on Seven Lakes Drive to the top of Bear Mountain. Roads were clear, traffic light and the fog was awesome! (16 photos)
- 12/23/12 - Team Run, Schunemunck Mtn State Park. (24 photos)
- 12/2/12 - Team Run, HSP Seven Hills Trail & Others...
- 11/20/12 - Race Report - Oil Creek 100 by Julian Vicente
- 10/15/12 - Race Report - MOMA 50k by Len Huffman
- Many more Team Adventures on Facebook & Blog
Click on each Athletes picture to read their race reports & gear reviews.
Elizabeth Carrion Azze - My love affair with the wooded paths started at the age of 13 when I joined the JV cross country team. I ran on the cross country, track and indoor track team throughout High school and continued to play soccer which was an early passion of mine in college. I spent a year in Massachusetts where my love for the outdoors really flourished. I majored in health & fitness with an exercise science option and became president of the earth club. From here my passion for nature and its preservation became paramount.
My adventurous spirit and lust for the outdoors led me to the great state of Alaska. I arrived in Alaska in 1995 and ended up living there for 8 years. While in Alaska I structured my life around adventure, adventurous people and my studies. I went there with an, “I will try anything outdoorsy attitude” and I did. For eight years I lived a life of true adventure, I gained my experience through mountaineering, ice climbing, skiing, mountain biking and of course running the trails. Running has always been my number one constant in my life. Combine running with nature and its grandeur and all I have to say is awesome. My running shoes have taken me to the tops of the alps to the fjords of Norway, to the New York city streets and who knows where they will take me next. For now I will continue with my running pursuits & professional coaching & training business here in New Jersey and lead this team along with my husband to a higher level of training and wellness. Train smart and let your joy for the sport lead the way. read more.
Julian Vicente - Witnessing my wife train for and complete the Boston Marathon in 2006 is what inspired me to run. I soon started pounding the pavement and training for shorter distance events while gradually building my fitness level to complete my first marathon in 2008. After years of suffering from asthma & eating anything in sight, I adapted to a vegetarian then Vegan diet in 2009 and discovered a new level of endurance, recovery, fitness and health. Discovering the trails in my backyard at Ramapo Reservation, Norvin Green & Harriman have become part of my daily routine and I can’t get enough of what nature’s playground has to offer. 2011 has been a great year... my passion for running has enabled me to place 1st @ the Long Haul 50mi & Mountain Madness 50k as well as complete the North Face NY & DC 50 miler, the Muddy, Boston & Mardi Gras Marathons, NJ Ultra festival 50mile, Vermont 100mile, Escarpment 30k, Lost Brook 10m and several fat ass style events. I’m looking forward to a new season of fast races, peaceful long runs, plenty of sweat and many new friendships. Running for MPFit / Campmor Trail Running Team is going to be a great adventure!
Zsuzsanna Carlson - I was born in Hungary and came to the US when I was 19 years old. I put on 70 lbs, became a chain smoker and drank way too much. I made the decision to lose the weight, to quit drinking, stop smoking and I started running that same week, which is now10 years ago.
I did my first ultra marathon race, the Cape Cod Frozen Fat Ass 50k 4 years ago and I truly fell in love. I do a lot of road running still but I LOVE the trails and the ultra running community. Since I made the change for the better, I have completed eleven 50k's, five 50 milers, five 100k’s and three 100 milers. My favorite race is the Escarpment Trail Run in NY. I am looking forward to the 2011 season!
Chris Focacci - Chris started seriously training a little over two years ago when a co-worker convinced him to sign up for the NYC Triathlon. Since completing that triathlon in the summer of 2009, he has transitioned to longer endurance events, completing numerous trail 50K’s, other longer distance triathlons, and even running a six-day stage race in the Colorado Rockies. In an effort to connect the growing local trail running community, Chris with the support of other local runners, created the NJ Trail and Ultra Runners website, with the goal of promoting trail and ultra running in the NJ area through weekly group runs and an online forum. Chris’ race goals for 2011 include completing his first 100 mile race, becoming more competitive in shorter ultra distances, and trying his hand at off-road triathlons.
Jody LaPar - I credit running to keeping me on the straight and narrow path of life. Without it, I’m not quite sure what path I would have ended up on. Speaking of path’s, I have such a love of trail running and feel truly blessed to be able to do it as often as I am. I was athletic (playing ball sports) all throughout my childhood. I started marathon running after college graduation but after bi-lateral knee surgeries, decided to forge into adventure racing. I’ve been fortunate enough to have competed in multi day races in some amazing locations around the world. Having been burnt out from training continuously in three disciplines, I opted for an “easier” (i.e. more time conserving) sport of triathlon. I have raced all triathlon distances but not having a strong affinity for the swim portion nor the road running, I feel as though I have finally found my niche in trail running. When I run amongst the trees, roots, rocks and streams, I feel as though I can really clear my head and truly enjoy what I am experiencing and forget about all other life stressors. To date, my longest race distance has been 50 miles (in the Tetons), I do hope to get a 100 miler under my belt in the near future. I am looking ahead this year to participating in the Trans Rockies Race and hope to get some other longer distance races on my calendar. I am thrilled to be a part of this team and am really looking forward to having other like minded people to train and race with.
Leonard Huffman - I have been running for many years on the trails and road. I enjoy competing in races of all distances, from a 5k’s to a 100 miler. However, I do prefer to compete in races in the half marathon range. When I want to challenge myself physically & mentally I head out to tackle the ultra distances. Nothing is better then being out in the woods and running the trails. Running allows me to challenge myself every day. There is always another hill to climb, trails to explore or miles to tick off . 2 years ago I turned my passion of fitness into a career and became a certified personal trainer & now work at a corporate fitness center. In my spare time I enjoy cycling, hiking & judo.
Harry Hamilton - I always had a love for riding, running and track & field. This started back in High School. I started riding on trails in the early 70’s at the closed Camp Kilmer Army base in N.J. There weren’t any mountain bikes and no one used the term “off road” back then. I threw the javelin in H.S. and at Seton Hall University. As a result of not being a competitive enough javelin thrower for my liking, I switched to running during my senior year at SHU and ran cross country. After graduating from College I ran a few races a year for a couple of years. Then I promptly became a couch potato suburbanite.
During the year 2000 and after being sedentary for about 15 years, I started to train, run and road ride again. I was going out to Colorado to ride the Triple Bypass for the third year when the group that I was supposed to ride with came down with injuries or forgot to register. I really didn’t feel like riding 120+ miles at altitude solo, so I did something that changed my lifestyle forever. Since I was going to be in Colorado anyway, I signed up for the Leadville Heavy half marathon. I had never run at altitude before and little did I know at the time that a heavy half was really close to 16 miles. I bought a pair of Vasque trail shoes and my training consisted of a couple of runs around the old bridle path in Central Park. Talk about throwing yourself in the fire! I finished the race and I was hooked.
To date I have completed 40 races that were marathon distance or longer. The average distance per race is 42 miles. My longest distance run to date is 109.93 miles at the 20 in 24 hour race in Philadelphia. I like races that are technical with a lot of climbing. Don’t ask me about the beautiful views because the only thing that I see on race day are roots, leaves, branches, mud, dirt and rocks. Just how I like it! I really enjoy the sport and being around the people who participate in these types of events. I am looking forward to the challenge of determining how far of a distance that I can run on a given race day. My remaining races for 2012 are the Vermont 100 & the Leadville 100.
Phil Germakian - I began running after graduating from college is a way of keeping in shape, but my love for the sport quickly grew. In 2007, I ran my first 5K road race and was immediately hooked. Soon after, my love for nature attracted me to the trails, and over time I transformed myself into a trail-runner. In 2008, I finished my first Ultra, The North Face Endurance Challenge 50 mile, before ever running a marathon. In 2010, I finished my first 100K and attempted my first 100 mile trail race. My goals are to keep pushing my limits as an endurance athlete and to continue having adventures for many years to come. Phil is puts on a race every April called the Lost Brook Trail Race, click here for more information & to register.
Iliana Dimitrova - 37, NYC, Corporate accountant - I re-discovered running in August 2008. Kicked asphalt in 2009 (15+ NYRR races). Ran my first 50K (a technical trail race) before running a marathon. BQed on my one and only attempt at the Phily marathon and looked for another challenge - ultrarunning. My first 50M was 10 months after the first half, and a month later I ran my first 100 miler! Too much, too soon! - I learned this the hard way by getting injured during the 100M (medial tibial stress syndrome) and had to take off of running for three months. I biked during the time off, and unbeknownst to me I managed to break my shoulder and crack two ribs while mountain biking the Kokopelli Trail. The MD @ the race thought I'd a pulled muscle and so did I for two months, till I finally made it to my doc. who is use to my adventures and was only a bit surprised that I didn't show up at his office sooner after the fall. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is my fav book and it's funny that my favorite quote is the same as Christian's - "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming--"Wow! What a Ride!"
Jules Moore - My running roots started on my high school track in Virginia. I was hooked to the challenge and determination of the sport. While attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa running took a back seat to boogie boarding, paddle boarding, surfing and skating boarding. These sports gave me the opportunity to fall in love with the tranquility of the outdoors.
After graduating college in 2005, the islands of Hawaii took me to New York to start my career. However, I began to lose touch with my active lifestyle because I was consumed to my desk job. One day after work my fiancé Laura asked me to go for a run in our local park. I accepted that day, then next, and the day after. Those runs spawned me back into running and the outdoors.
I love running the trails the most because it calms my soul. When I’m running the trails; I feel free among the trees, roots, dirt, and streams. Till this day I have raced many trail distances from 5k to 100 miles. My running plans for the future include being a competitor in 50k races and tackling longer distances such as 50’s and beyond. I look forward to many racing seasons on the Mountain Peak Fitness Trail Racing Team.
Tahir Thomas - Growing up no one around me showed any interest in the outdoors, except for my Mom. We loved walking through neighborhood parks together. But in my heart I always felt a need to be submerged in the outdoors. Then I fulfilled that need by hiking with my older sister in Ramapo in 1995. From that I picked up mountain biking in 1998. Started mountain bike racing in 2008 where I met lots of cool people...amongst them Joe Azze who has always been and is a great model athlete whom I am always inspired by. He and I started trail running together, sometimes right after a three hour mountain bike ride.
I had always been a runner from my days of high school football and wrestling days. Trail running for me has become one of my definitions of FREEDOM. I believe the trails and the elements are alive and love to be challenged whether on bike or foot. I find being within nature during physical exertion brings a renewed energy to my body and spirit. I am excited to be a part of a team who wants to bring the trail running community together and shed light on the the importance of conserving our trails for our future outdoor enthusiast. The trails are always alive...whether its midnight on a hot summer night or on a snowing, high wind morning at 20 degrees, the outdoors always loves your company.
Joe Azze - Having always ran to keep my fitness level high for football & wrestling, I always found myself creating an adventure during my runs by running through yards, wooded areas, climbing any major hill I could find and even searching for streams to run to see where they would take me. It wasn’t until 2001, when I was 21 after moving back from California that I found myself standing at the trail head in Ramapo Reservation. From that day on, 90% of my running is on trails. The only time I find myself running on a road is when I am connecting parks & trails to each other or just running to get around. The natural progression for me was adventure racing. I competed in several day long adventure races as well as sprint races. Its hard for me to focus on 1 discipline at a time because I enjoy so many sports and the adventures that each brings to the table.
Along with being a member of the Mountain Peak Fitness/Campmor Trail Running Team, I am also on the Blue Ribbon-Translations Road Cycling Team, the Campmor Mountain Bike Team, husband to Elizabeth Carrion and a co-owner of Mountain Peak Fitness.