New Year Brings New Winners at XTERRA Arizona Series
Walters and Asplund take top honors at White Tanks
The XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series welcomed the new year by welcoming a couple of new winners.
Keith Walters and Marisa Asplund took top honors at the XTERRA White Tanks Trail Run at Waddell, Arizona, on Sunday, January 8.
Walters was the overall winner, completing the 20-kilometer course in a record time of 1 hour, 22 minutes, 44 seconds. He placed second overall at the previous Arizona Series race last October.
"The course was very challenging with some intense climbing," said Walters, who is from Scottsdale, Arizona. "The downhills were very rocky and steep, and the weather was perfect."
(Keith Walters pictured, courtesy www.aztrailrace.com)
Walters stayed with the lead pack for most of the race, and then broke ahead by himself in the final mile. John Fitzgerald of Missoula, Montana, placed second with a time of 1:23:37. Sean Hulburt, who won the previous Arizona Series race, placed third in 1:26:27. Kevin Tuck, a 55-year-old from Salt Lake City, Utah, was an impressive fourth overall in 1:29:28.
Asplund , who is from Durango, Colorado, took top honors in the women's division. She completed the course in 1:38:54 in her first try at an XTERRA Trail Run.
"Being my first XTERRA event , the 20K course, climbing over 1,500 feet in the first six miles, proved to be aggressive, challenging, and a barometer of strength," she said. "The plan was simple -- go out hard, and see what happens."
Asplund, who is a professional triathlete, got in front of the other women early in the race and stayed in front the entire way.
Dawn Stone of Flagstaff, Arizona, placed second in 1:41:33, and Melanie Sherman was third in 1:43:26.
Hannah Riedl of Missoula, Montana, was sixth with a time of 1:46:32. Riedl and men's runner-up Fitzgerald are a couple, and they were in Arizona visiting Riedl's ill grandfather when they decided to enter the race.
"He really showed a love for running. We found out he was sick a few weeks before we headed down to Arizona, so we decided to dedicate this race to him," Fitzgerald said.
(Marisa Asplund pictured, courtesy www.aztrailrace.com)
Riedl said when she needed a push in the final two miles of the race, she started to count her steps to the pace of "one, two, three, for grandpa."
Close to 300 runners of various ages participated in the race. Most of the entries were from Arizona, but there were also runners from California, Colorado, Kansas, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Montana, New Mexico and Utah.
To view the complete results, CLICK HERE.
The XTERRA White Tanks Trail Run was the second of four races in the 2011-12 season for the XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series. The top finishers in each age group received points toward the season standings. At the conclusion of the series in March, each respective age group champion will receive a free entry to represent Arizona at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship.
The next race in the series will be the XTERRA McDowell Mountain Trail Run on February 5. To enter a race in the Arizona Series or to learn more about it, please visit www.aztrailrace.com.
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