Smyth, Anderson win XTERRA Trail Run Nationals
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Ogden/Snowbasin Resort, UT – Patrick Smyth made quite the first impression on Snowbasin Resort and the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship.
Although he lives in Salt Lake City - about 40 miles away from Snowbasin – Smyth had never been to the picturesque trails at Snowbasin until Sunday. All he did in his first XTERRA Trail Run was win the overall National Championship.
“I’ve never actually been to Snowbasin, but always wanted to, so this was a good excuse to get up here and get on the trail system here,” said Smyth, 27.
Lindsey Anderson, who made her first visit to Snowbasin last year and ran away with the title, successfully defended her women’s XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. She is the second female runner to win back-to-back XTERRA National titles, following Lauren Fleshman (2009 and 2010).
SMYTH PREVAILS; KING’S STREAK ENDS AT 5
Smyth didn’t just win the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship, he dominated.
The former track and cross country star at the University of Notre Dame raced to the lead immediately and never relented. He completed the 21-kilometer course in 1 hour, 16 minutes, 38 seconds, which is the fastest time since the event moved to Snowbasin Resort in 2011.
“I’ve been running 10K and 5Ks most of this summer, so I didn’t know how long I could hold on,” he said. “I kind of wanted to go out hard and see if I could break some people early.”
By the halfway point of the course, Smyth had established a 30-second lead, and the only runner within striking distance was Joseph Gray.
“He set the pace early and let people know it was going to be on from the start of the race,” Gray said of Smyth. “I respect him for that. He ran a great race.”
Smyth continued to build his lead during the second half of the course, and even had time to get up and recover from a fall in the final two miles.
“I didn’t know who was behind me, but I kept looking behind me, expecting guys to come up,” Smyth said. “Around mile 11 or 12, I started getting some cramps and fell and started looking back even more.”
Gray, who came over from Lakewood, Washington, for the race, finished second in 1:18:01. He was the co-winner of the 2012 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Hawaii, but this was his first experience running at Snowbasin for the XTERRA Nationals.
“I’ve kind of been having some down time since the World Mountain Running Championships, so I wasn’t ready to go out super-aggressive,” Gray said. “I kind of went out a little more comfortable and let the race get away from me. It was kind of too late for me to catch up.”
Interestingly enough, the top five overall finishers were all first-time entrants to the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Snowbasin Resort.
Karl Remsen from Leadville, Colorado, was third in 1:20:23, Mauricio Mendez from Mexico was fourth in 1:21:19, and Nathan Peters from Salt Lake City was fifth in 1:21:29.
Mendez is 17 and just completed high school. He is an aspiring triathlete. He is the first runner under the age of 20 to finish in the top 10 of the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship.
B.J. Christenson from Salt Lake City placed sixth, following third-place finishes in both 2011 and 2012. Rounding out the top 10 were Chris Gomez from Arizona, Ryan Matz from Salt Lake City, and Eric Koenig from Lutz, Florida.
Perhaps just as newsworthy as Smyth’s victory was the 11th place finish of Max King from Bend, Oregon. King had won the previous five XTERRA Trail Run National Championships.
“I’ve raced against Max kind of my entire running career, so I know that he’s A-standard competition,” Smyth said. “This means a lot to me because there were so many good runners from around the country here. For me to come out on top, it’s a tremendous honor.”
King withdrew from his previous race in Poland last month due to an ankle injury, and it cost him some training time for the XTERRA Nationals.
“It was just a rough day,” King said. “With the injury and stuff, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but man, I’m just out of shape. I had no climbing legs. It happens sometimes, you can’t win everything.”
ANDERSON REPEATS AS WOMEN’S CHAMP
The women’s race turned into a duel from the start, with Anderson and Liz Stephen from Vermont running close to each other – and away from the other women – for nearly the first 20 kilometers.
“I was a little bit hoping we wouldn’t have to go out as hard,” said Anderson, 28. “But (Stephens) really pushed it and took it out hard and she’s a really good downhill runner. She would gap me by about 10 meters on the downhills, then I’d catch up on the uphills.”
Anderson finished with a time of 1:27:46, which is the fastest women’s time since the event moved to Snowbasin in 2011, and nearly six minutes faster than her winning time of last year.
Stephen came in right after Anderson at 1:28:12.
“On the last mile-and-a-half, coming back uphill again, I said ‘okay, here we go, I’m going to go for it,’ and luckily it worked,” Anderson said. “But she was tough. I give Liz all the props for running such a hard race.”
Both Anderson and Stephen have represented the United States in the Olympics. Anderson participated in the steeplechase at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing; Stephen participated in cross country skiing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Anderson is also a former star runner and current assistant coach at Weber State University in nearby Ogden.
Stephen also finished runner-up at the XTERRA Nationals in 2011. She did not participate last year due to a schedule conflict.
“It was really fun to be back here,” said Stephen, 26. “It was really nice to have another woman to run with, but it was a tough race, for sure.”
Maria Dalzot from Washington placed third in 1:39:59, and Corinne Malcolm from Bozeman, Montana, was fourth in 1:45:57. They were both making their first XTERRA Trail Run experience.
XTERRA SoCal Series champion Margaret Shearer from Trabuco Canyon, California, was fifth in 1:46:34.
Deanna McCurdy from Peachtree City, Georgia, was sixth in 1:46:41. She was running for Team Miles for Smiles, which is a charity running team that raises funding for research through the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (F.A.S.T.).
Rounding out the top 10 females were Genevieve Keogh from Layton, Utah, in seventh, Kristina Owen from Ogden, Utah, in eighth, Aimee Balzer from Reno, Nevada, in ninth, and Jaclyn Shokey from Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, in 10th.
UTAH’S TUCK WINS FIFTH TITLE
Although the elite runners chase the overall crown at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship, the event remains an age-group race.
Twenty-eight runners representing 10 different states and three countries took home age-group titles at the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run Nationals.
The home-state Utah runners led the way with 10 champions, including Kevin Tuck from Salt Lake City in the men’s 55-59 division. Tuck, 57, was an impressive 18th overall, and this was his fifth XTERRA Trail Run National Championship age-group win.
Amy Galbraith from Venice, California, won her fourth National Championship, this time in the women’s 70-74 division.
Bob Evers (men 60-64) from Park City, Utah, and Hans Unger (men 70-74) from Sylmar, California, each won their third XTERRA National titles.
On the young end of the spectrum, 9-year-old Jake Mackleer won the 9-younger division and became the youngest runner to complete the 21K course at Snowbasin.
Other repeat winners from last year include Kaytlynn Welsch (female 10-14) from Alvin, Texas, Lindsey Anderson (female 25-29) from South Ogden, Utah, and Tamara Tabeek (female 50-54) from San Diego, Calif.
Tabeek competed in the XTERRA USA Championship off-road triathlon the day before.
Also of note, XTERRA triathlon professional Nicolas Lebrun entered the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship for the first time and won the men’s 40-44 division. A day earlier, he placed eighth overall at the XTERRA USA Championship triathlon.
All of the age-group champions received a free entry to participate in the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, which is scheduled for November 24 at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii.
XTERRA National Champs (Male)
XTERRA National Champs (Female)
* TOP AMATEURS
10K / 5K: UTAH RUNNERS SWEEP TOP HONORS
Four Utah runners took the top honors in the 10K and 5K races, which were also staged at Snowbasin Resort on Sunday.
Henry Gorman, who is actually a Nordic skier, placed first in the 10K with a time of 43:38. "I never actually ran a 10K before this, so it was a new experience for me," he said. "I don't even do running races, so it was pretty surprising that I won. It was a lot of fun."
Gorman is 18 and resides in Salt Lake City. James Stull from Anchorage, Alaska, placed second in 45:09.
Meghan Sheridan from Salt Lake City was an impressive third overall and the first female for the 10K. She finished in 46:01, just one day after placing second in the 30-34 age division at the XTERRA USA Championship triathlon.
"I got second place in the triathlon and wanted a chance at a gold medal," she said. "I live right in Salt Lake and never did this race before so I said why not."
Sheridan said she was surprised to finish first overall, although she was familiar with the course because it followed much of the same trails during the triathlon.
"I was surprised I had it in me," she said. "I could barely do the run (for the triathlon). It was really, really painful. But I usually have a little bit of energy the next day, so I kept going."
Chris Parker from Ogden took top honors in the 5K, finishing in 26:50 - which was more than a minute ahead of the rest of the field. "I did XTERRA couple years ago and kind of got out of it," said Parker, 30. "I decided a few weeks ago to give this a crack and turned out pretty well."
Hannah Ross from Sandy was the top female in the 5K, and fourth overall in 29:29. "I do triathlons, but I've been injured all summer, so I've been trying to get back into it and decided to do the 5K," she said. "It was a lot of fun."
The 2013 XTERRA Nationals weekend was presented by the Utah Sports Commission, Paul Mitchell, AVIA, and the XTERRA Live More Card. Sponsors include Snowbasin Resort, GOAL Foundation, Gatorade, Rudy Project, PowerBar, KSL TV, ENVE, Zorrel, MediaOne of Utah, the U.S. Forest Service, XTERRA Wetsuits, LifeProof, Muscle Milk, Choice Hotels, Rockwell watches, FootBalance, XTERRA Fitness, and Wasatch Distributing.
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