Three members of the U.S. Junior Skyrunning team -- and veteran Harwood cross-country runners -- competed in the Whiteface Vertical Kilometer on Saturday. The three runners, Erin Magill, Brendan Magill and John Henry Bond Bardes, will be running in the Youth World Skyrunning Championships next month in Fonte Cerreto, Italy. 

“This is one of only 17 ski areas in the U.S. that have enough vertical to hold a vertical kilometer event,” team coach Ryan Kerrigan said before the race. “And the only one in the East.” Then he turned to motivate his runners: “It’s a pretty easy race; there’s only the one hill.”

Brendan Magill finished seventh overall in the men’s race with a time of 46 minutes, 19 seconds and was the first finisher under the age of 21. “I felt like my breathing was better in this race than the last time I did a vertical K,” he said after the race. “I’m not sure I’m stronger, but my lungs seem to be in better condition. I should be able to do better in Italy this year.”  Magill finished sixth in the Youth World Skyrunning Vertical K last year in Andorra, despite being the youngest runner in the field.

Bond Bardes finished 34th among men, with a time of 70 minutes, 35 seconds. “I’m glad I got to run this race before going to Italy,” Bardes said. “It gives me an idea of what to expect when we get over there.”

“This is a great training run,” coach Kerrigan added. “Last year, we went to Europe and none of our racers had ever experienced anything like a vertical K. I think John Henry gained some valuable experience today.”

Erin Magill finished Saturday’s event as the second female with a time of 55 minutes, 57 seconds. “It’s about the same time as I got last year in Andorra,” she said, “but this course was about a kilometer longer and less steep. I’m not sure which is easier: a shorter, steeper course or a longer, less steep course.”

Coach Kerrigan laughed when he heard Magill's comment. “It may be less steep than the course in Andorra, but don’t be fooled, this is pretty steep.”

The three athletes will be among 18 runners representing the United States in two races in Italy. A vertical will be on August 3 and a sky-race (hill climb and ridge run) will be on August 5.