Coury, Asplund Prevail at McDowell Mountain
Fast course, fun conditions greet runners in Arizona Series
Nick Coury's first XTERRA Trail Run experience was a victorious one, as he was the overall winner of the XTERRA McDowell Mountain Trail Run on Sunday, February 5, at Fountain Hills, Arizona.
Coury, 24, completed the 15-mile long course in 1 hour, 32 minutes, 48 seconds. "Couldn't have asked for better weather," said Coury, who resides in Phoenix. "The course is fast, fun and just challenging enough."
More than 300 runners participated in the event, which was part of the XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series.
Coury and veteran XTERRA Trail Run participant Boone Ebel ran together at the front of the pack for most of the course. Coury said he broke away for the victory in the final three miles.
"Rolling through the undulations in the landscape, we'd briefly separate then return to lockstep," Coury said. "As we neared the junction to rejoin Pemberton, it became apparent Boone was a bit more fatigued than me. Up to Tonto and screaming back down, I could always see Boone but knew by the last mile that I had the win."
Ebel, who recently took some time off to recover from a hip injury, finished second with a time of 1:33:46. "We chatted for a while, and stayed close until mile 11, which is where Nick pulled away," Ebel said. "He's a better downhill runner than I, so the final four miles worked to his advantage and we finished a little less than a minute apart."
Coury helps organize other trail runs in Arizona, so he said he was familiar with the terrain. "It was a great experience to be on the other side of the table and actually compete in a trail race," he added. "The course was well-designed and marked, the aid stations were numerous, and it's always great to see old friends and meet new ones!"
Charlie Ware placed third in 1:37:07, and Jason Ford was fourth in 1:40:03.
Marisa Asplund placed 11th overall and was the first female with a time of 1:45:40. She is now two-for-two in XTERRA Arizona Trail Run races. She was also the first female at the previous race last month.
"Found myself at mile two with the second small pack of male runners, with no other women close by," she said. "The pace was very fast, and the distance of the race kept reminding me to be very mindful of my effort level -- the last thing I wanted was to blow up at mile 10, so I decided to back off just a little and around mile three settled into what I felt was a swift but steady pace. The course terrain surprised me, as it was much more rolling than I had originally anticipated, so again I played my conservative card. The most challenging aspect of the race was the six mile down hill to the finish, although a bit of a reprieve on the lungs, every ounce of that reprieve and then some gets shoved back into pounding on the legs."
Kristina Pham was second among the females in 1:48:03, and Jeanne Cordova was third in 1:50:39.
There was also a separate 7-kilometer course run on the same day. Martin Koko was the first overall finisher with a time of 27:32, and Angie Axmann was the first female in 28:36.
(Race photo courtesy www.aztrailrace.com)
For complete results of both the 15-mile course and 7-kilometer course, CLICK HERE.
The XTERRA McDowell Mountain Trail Run was the third of four events in the 2011-12 XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series. The final event is the XTERRA Black Canyon Trail Run, scheduled for March 25 at Rock Springs, Ariz. That event will offer two separate courses - a 21K long course and a 9K short course - and it is open to runners of all ages and skill levels.
The XTERRA Black Canyon Trail Run will be the last opportunity for runners to earn points toward the overall standings of the XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series. At the conclusion of the series, the top runner in each respective age group will receive a free entry to represent Arizona at the 2012 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Utah in September.
To register for a race in the Arizona Series, or to learn more about it, please visit www.aztrailrace.com
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