(Avon, CO) – Roberto Mandje and Blair Bucklin captured the XTERRA Beaver Creek 20K trail run titles on a beautiful day at Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, CO with winning times of 1:20:54 and 1:39:48, respectively.
Mandje, who represented Equatorial Guinea in the 1,500-meter race at the 2004 Olympics, grabbed the lead about a mile-and-a-half into the race on the first big climb and never relinquished it.
“I knew nobody wanted to push at the top of the first climb so I pushed and got a bit of a gap and was able to hold it,” said Mandje, who placed 2nd at the XTERRA Beaver Creek 10K last year. “It was a gamble but wanted to test myself and push the climbs. At the end of the first lap I knew I had a good lead but I was feeling really weak and worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish. Fortunately, when we started climbing again I got into a rhythm and was able to hold it.”
The 20K course featured more than 2,000-feet of vertical climbing.
It was very challenging, just brutal,” said Mandje. “I’d say it’s as tough, if not tougher, than the XTERRA World Championships in Hawaii. “And it’s also really beautiful with the aspen trees and meadows. I’d recommend it to anyone.”
In the women’s race Bucklin ran right behind last year’s XTERRA Beaver Creek 10K winner Cheri Vieregg for about the first nine miles before taking off on the last big climb.
“I do better chasing someone that being chased, and Cheri set a great pace” said Bucklin, who was racing in her first-ever XTERRA. “On the last uphill with three miles to go I felt strong and busted forward. I kept looking back on the downhill because she was running really fast on the downhills but I was able to hold it and I could not be happier, I’m psyched.”
Bucklin, who really got into trail running last summer, thinks she’s found her niche with both off-road running and the half-marathon distance.
“I’m loving trail running, it’s so beautiful up here it takes your mind off the pain and I love the half distance too, it’s so much easier to recover from than the marathon. This was my first XTERRA and I loved it. The aid stations were great, there were people on the course cheering, and the staff was terrific. I’m going to sign-up for the XTERRA Trail Run Nationals in Utah in September.”
Today’s XTERRA Beaver Creek 20K was the third of four races in the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series. The top runners in every age group for the 20K course of the Beaver Creek Trail Run received points toward the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series standings and each division champion was awarded a complimentary entry into the 2014 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship to be held December 7 at Kualoa Ranch on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu. Current standings, schedule, and information can be viewed at http://www.xterraplanet.com/trailrun/colorado-series.
More than 300 runners from 22 states took part in today’s 20K, 10K and 5K races. Garrett Wilson and Alayna Szuch won the 10K while Abreham Anderson and Samantha Stein took the 5K titles.
A special thanks to Tim Baker, executive director at Beaver Creek Resort and the entire BCR staff, along with the volunteers, and our local partners at East-West Resorts and the Town of Avon, and to our presenting sponsors Paul Mitchell and the Live More Card, Outrigger Hotels & Resorts, Muscle Milk, Gatorade Endurance, PowerBar, Optic Nerve Sunglasses, LifeProof, Greenlayer, XTERRA Coffee, XTERRA Wetsuits, XTERRA Fitness, Utah Sports Commission, Champion System, Rockwell Watches, and XTERRA Boards.
ABOUT TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA
TEAM Unlimited is a Hawaii-based television events and marketing company, founded in 1988. It owns and produces XTERRA and in 2014 will offer more than 300 XTERRA off-road triathlon and trail running races in 25+ countries worldwide. In addition, TEAM TV has produced more than 300 adventure television shows resulting in three Emmy’s and 42 Telly Awards for production excellence since 1990. View samples at www.xterra.tv, and learn more at www.xterraplanet.com and www.xterratrailrun.com.