Press and Media Center
2007 class of XTERRA Amateur National Champions
THIS WEEK: We learn more about the 2007 class of XTERRA Amateur National Champions, reveal this year’s Mr. XTERRA award winner, look at the list of athletes that qualified for the World Championship in Tahoe, preview the XTERRA K9 Challenge for ’08 and the Pt. Mugu Trail Run on Saturday, and look at this weekend’s XTERRA TV schedule.
10/6 – XTERRA Pt. Mugu Trail Run (Malibu, CA)
10/27 – XTERRA Makena Beach Trail Run (Makena, Maui)
10/27 – XTERRA Boney Mountain Trail Run (Los Angeles, CA)
10/28 – XTERRA Parks and People Trail Run (Baltimore, MD)
10/28 – XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP (Makena, Maui)
THE CHAMPS: Conrad Stoltz and Jamie Whitmore grabbed the headlines for winning the pro divisions of the XTERRA USA Championship on Sunday, but there were also 22 amateur athletes that won national titles. Eight of them were from California, there were two each from Colorado, Virginia, Oregon, and Nevada, and one each from New Hampshire, New Mexico, Iowa, Illinois, Idaho, and Pennsylvania. Here we get to know a little bit more about them:
15 - 19 Becca Finley (Johnston, Iowa) 3:44:04 – The 19-year-old had a perfect seasons with age group wins at the XTERRA East Championship and a pair of points series races in Indiana. “I’m so excited to be here and I loved every minute of this race,” said Finley, who noted she wouldn’t have been able to make the race (which was more than half way across the country from her hometown) without the help from her family and sponsors. “There are so many people to thank and so many people who make this happen, it’s a lot more than just me racing.”
20 - 24 Sara Hanson (Blacksburg, VA) 3:31:25 - “You’ve got to take the adversity associated with this course and use it to your advantage,” boasted 20-year-old Sara Hanson as she gathered her gear and headed out of the transition area Sunday afternoon. Hanson claimed her second XTERRA National Title by shedding nearly 25 minutes off her winning time when she was in the 15-19 division last year. “I had a great swim this year,” said the Virginia Tech biochemistry major, who has only been racing XTERRA triathlons for two years.
25 - 29 Emma Garrard (Truckee, CA) 3:15:57 - Two years ago Emma Garrard was standing on the sidelines of the XTERRA USA Championships snapping photos for the local newspaper. On Sunday, the 26-year-old Alaskan native who now lives in Truckee clocked the fastest time in the amateur women’s division. “A lot of things just went right for me today,” said Garrard, who was among friends and family all day on and off the course. “This is such a great race and I’m so excited to be here – at this level.”
30 - 34 Kelly Hovland (Portland, OR) 3:22:28 - 33-year-old Kelly Hovland, who has been racing XTERRA for four years, said winning in Lake Tahoe has been a goal for sometime. “This is my favorite XTERRA and I’ve always wanted to stand on the podium here,” she said. “Everything about this course is fun and I can’t wait to come back.”
35 - 39 Lisa Lieb (Durango, CO) 3:33:26 – Last year at this race Lieb, 37, sacrificed her lead to stop on the course and help a fellow rider that crashed until medical care arrived. That incident earned her the XTERRA Spirit Award, but cost her a potential win. This year Lieb returned to Lake Tahoe with one thing in mind – to win. “I knew I had to come back and do it again. After everything that happened last year I had to come back and give it my all.”
40 - 44 Caroline Colonna (Taos, NM) 3:28:43 – Sometimes the littlest things can make all the difference in a race. For 43-year-old Caroline Colonna that little thing was new wetsuit. “This year I wore a long-sleeve wetsuit and everything was different. I’ve worked so hard so long to win here and changing one thing made all the difference in the swim.”
45 - 49 Katrin Tobin (Santa Cruz, CA) 3:19:10 - Katrin Tobin is no stranger to victory and endurance. The former U.S. cycling team member took home her second straight XTERRA National Title on Sunday and for the second straight year she was the second overall amateur. “Today we had absolutely perfect conditions,” said the 45-year-old who finished nearly 20 minutes before anyone in her division. Only two days earlier Tobin rode the entire 73 miles around Lake Tahoe simply as a warm up. “That was nothing compared to today’s race,” she said.
50 - 54 Beverly Enslow (Metamora, IL) 3:40:41 – For the second year in a row Illinois athlete Beverly Enslow, 50, took home the XTERRA National Title in her age division. In 2006 she won the 45-49 division and on Sunday she won the 50-54 division defeating age-group great Barbara Peterson (who had won six-straight national titles). “I love this course,” said Enslow. “The mountain bike section was great, I felt strong all morning and am happy to be standing on the podium for a second time.”
55 - 59 Cindi Toepel (Littleton, CO) 4:04:57 - Cindi Toepel won her third XTERRA National Title on Sunday. “It was an awesome day,” said the 56-year-old. “I had a little trouble toward the end of the swim, but I got it done and everything just came together.”
60+ Katherine Frank (Bend, OR) 5:10:32 - With a bandaged and bloodied knee Katherine Frank won her second XTERRA National Title. Frank, who had a hard crash on the bike on the downhill portion of the Lake Tahoe course, said she almost didn’t make it to the finish line. “I pass out at the site of my own blood,” said the 60-year-old XTERRA veteran. “I just kept saying “Don’t look down; don’t look at it,” and next thing you know I was across the line and it was over.”
15 - 19 Joshua Olmstead (Elk Grove, CA) 3:07:17 – High school football may have its perks, but for Elk Grove local Joshua Olmstead the start to his senior year wouldn’t be complete without XTERRA. “I had quit triathlons and was focusing solely on football until three weeks ago,” said the 18-year-old who swam nearly the entire 1.5-kilometer course alongside long time friend, training partner and XTERRA pro Jamie Whitmore. “Josh is awesome,” Whitmore said. “He can’t give this up, he loves it to much.”
20 - 24 Chris Pickerell (Harrisonburg, VA) 2:55:05 – Nothing motivates an XTERRA athlete more than a fellow rider’s tune and for Christopher Pickerell it was European XTERRA Tour Pro Sam Gardner who pushed him to win his first national title on Sunday. “Sam and I rode nearly the entire bike course together,” said Pickerell. “We were going strong all morning, everything felt great and then the run went so well. It was just a great day.”
25 - 29 Jeff Smith (Sandpoint, ID) 2:49:15 – For 26-year-old personal trainer Jeff Smith traveling to Incline Village, Nevada for in the XTERRA USA Championship race was as much about the experience as it was about winning. “I had no idea what to expect,” said Smith, who was the second overall amateur finishing just 13 seconds behind Matt Boobar. “This is the most beautiful course I’ve ever raced on and I’m just happy to have been here and experienced this.”
30 - 34 Damian Gonzalez (Stockton, CA) 2:57:01 – Damian Gonzalez, a local video producer, never thought he’d be racing in off-road triathlons, let alone winning a national title. “It’s really tough to win,” said Gonzalez. “And I mean really tough, the level of competition is amazing and I can’t wait to go to Maui (where Gonzalez will race XTERRA World Championships on October 28, 2007).”
35 - 39 Matt Boobar (Plymouth, NH) 2:49:02 – With five kilometers to go in the trail run Boobar was running strong, but figured he couldn’t possibly win and was ready to call it good. Then something snapped. “I came in from the first lap and heard them say I was in second place,” said the 35-year-old ski coach from Stratton Mountain. “So I just started charging.” Next thing you know Boobar makes a pass and wins his fourth National Title and clocks the fastest time in the amateur men’s division for the second straight year. Boobar’s first national championship came in the 25-29 division back in the inaugural year of this race in 2001.
40 - 44 Scott Zavack (Los Gatos, CA) 3:04:39 - Everything was perfect. The waters were calm for the swim, the mountain bike course wasn’t dusty or crowded and the trail run was smooth and steady. Scott Zavack, 40, who won his first XTERRA National Title on Sunday couldn’t have asked for better conditions. “It was a great race, simply great,” said Zavack.
45 - 49 Tom Lyons (Reno, NV) 3:04:10 – Reno local Tom Lyons won his sixth consecutive XTERRA National Title on Sunday. “The competition gets tougher every year,” said Lyons, who was nearly bested this year by second place finisher Casey Fannin who was less than 40 seconds behind him. “But the XTERRA family is why I race and that’s why I keep coming back every year.” Lyons is also the only 7-time XTERRA regional champion.
50 - 54 Tom Monica (Walnut Creek, CA) 3:11:57 - 50-year-old Tom Monica almost didn’t get out of bed Sunday morning. Call it not feeling right; call it the pre-race jitters, but he wasn’t ready to win. “I was sure I was going to embarrass myself,” said Monica, who finished the challenging course more than two minutes ahead of anyone in his division to take home his second XTERRA National Title. “And I absolutely never thought I’d make it to the podium.”
55 - 59 Don Morrison (West Brandywine, PA) 3:29:07 - Off-road triathlons don’t seem like something Don Morrison, proprietor of the Horse Connection in Pottstown, PA, would be competing in at age 57. But to Morrison the challenge is worth every ache and strain.
“This stuff rocks!” Said Morrison, who won his first XTERRA National Title on Sunday.
60 - 64 Kent Robison (Reno, NV) 3:24:40 – Kent Robison is a racer. He loves the thrill, he craves the adrenaline rush and he plans to compete in XTERRA off-road triathlons as long as he can. Robison won his sixth XTERRA National Title on Sunday. “Today was one of those races you’d just like to bottle up and save for another day,” said Robison. “Everything was perfect and I can honestly say these were the best conditions I’ve ever raced in.” Kent was part of the inaugural class of national champs back in 2001.
65 + Hans Dieben (Chula Vista, CA) 4:40:47 - If you ask Hans Dieben why he races off-road triathlons at age 68 he’ll tell you straight up. “I’m addicted to this stuff,” said Dieben, who won his sixth XTERRA National Title on Sunday. “And now that the younger guys are starting to call me sir I’ve got more to live up to. I have this dubious distinction as a distinguished gentlemen in these races and I can’t stop now.” Dieben won his first national title back in 2001.
Physically Challenged Division (40+ Above Elbow Amputee) – “One-Arm” Willie Stewart (Redlands, CA) 3:32:03 – Just the chance to race with world-class XTERRA Pro athletes in a National Title race would have been enough for “One-Armed” Willie. But when he won the Physically Challenged division on Sunday the excitement level went sky high. “It’s such an honor to be here with these athletes and this family,” said Stewart. “For XTERRA to integrate athletes like myself is truly amazing.” No Willie, you’re truly amazing. While Stewart was the fastest overall in the physically challenged division, Mike Hicks (Fountain Hills, AZ) 4:09:46 – won the 40+ Below Knee Amputee National Title and Robbie O’Brien (San Francisco, CA) 5:02:12 – won the 15-39 Impaires/Les Autres National Championship.
MR. XTERRA: Will Kelsay received a standing ovation from a packed crowd of athletes when he was named “Mr. XTERRA 2007” at the Night of Champions dinner before the XTERRA USA Championship race on Saturday.
Every year XTERRA selects an athlete they feel best personifies the spirit of the sport - the camaraderie, commitment, challenge, discovery, and style that is the essence of the XTERRA lifestyle. This year, there was no doubt, than man was Will Kelsay.
The 26-year-old pro from Boulder, Colorado is likely the most energetic, positive, wild, and wacky guy you’ll ever meet. This year, he took his “just go for it!” attitude to an epic new level by embarking on a 12,630-mile, 12-week, 12-race, cross-the-country road trip in a beat-up RV to share his love for XTERRA. Along the way he put on 10 clinics at Fleet Feet stores, traveled through 31 states, won four races, finished in the top 10 at three others, rebuilt the RV, and then ran out of money.
“The biggest thing that I have learned from that trip was to just go for it! I realized that if you want to live life to the fullest, you shouldn’t hesitate, or play things safe. Throw caution to the wind, don’t have regrets, and don’t sweat the small stuff. If you have the right attitude, things always seem to work out in the end. I’m definitely going to keep racing triathlon, living the dream, and having a blast doing it. I don’t want to miss out on all of the wonderful things life has to offer, so that’s why I figure I’ll work some other time. I also learned that you need to spend more than $2,500 on an RV that you want to drive around the country! It’ll come back to bite you in the butt if you don’t, but it’ll make one hell of a story! That’s another thing that I’ve learned – just remember when totally bad things are happening, it will probably make a really good story later!”
QUALIFIERS: By virtue of their performance at the USA Championship in Nevada on Sunday, the following athletes qualified to compete in the XTERRA World Championship on Oct. 28 in Maui. It’s interesting to note that of those listed below only Chris Pickerell (20-24) and Jeff Smith (25-29) also won their age group national championship. The rest were recipients of roll-down slots as one-two-three-or-more athletes in front of them had previously qualified at one of the four regional championships this year. It’s a true testament to the strength of the field in Nevada and that of the Maui race coming up.
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XTERRA’S GONE TO THE DOGS: Central Garden & Pet Company’s ultra premium dog food and treat brand, Breeder’s Choice, will be the lead sponsor of a brand new competitive race series featuring teams comprised of dogs and their owners.
The Breeder’s Choice XTERRA K9 Challenge, which will be part of the 2008 XTERRA America Tour, kicked-off with a special demonstration event at the USA Championship in Lake Tahoe on Saturday. More than 20 dogs and their owners competed against the clock in a spectator-friendly combined trail run and obstacle course format that featured a 40-meter speed leg, tunnels dogs had to crawl through, box jumps, serpentine maneuvers, speed step-overs, and a teeter-totter cross.
John Sullivan and Abby (his 3-year-old golden retriever) clocked in the two fastest times of the day in 21.4 and 21.3 seconds. Tom Lyons and Bella (his 2-year-old Australian Cattle Dog) turned in the most hilarious moment when on the very first run of the day Bella stopped to relieve herself midway through the course.
“Dogs have always had a special relationship with their care takers and more and more people are including their dogs in their everyday family activities,” said Jim Heim, President of the Pet Division of Central Garden & Pet. “This is a totally unique event that encourages people and their dogs to be active, interact with one another and have fun. The beauty of the K9 Challenge is that anyone can participate. It’s not breed specific or limited to highly trained or specialized dogs.”
The Breeder’s Choice XTERRA K9 Challenge will be held in 2008 at the four regional XTERRA Series championships and the US Championship in Lake Tahoe.
May 2008 – XTERRA West Championship Temecula, CA
June 2008 – XTERRA Southeast Championship - Pelham, AL
June 2008 – XTERRA East Championship - Richmond VA
August 2008 – XTERRA Mountain Championship Ogden, UT
September 2008 – XTERRA USA Championship - Lake Tahoe, NV
In addition to the competition, The Breeder’s Choice XTERRA K9 Challenge events will feature free product sampling, professional tips and advice on dog care, coupons and special offers at retail. In addition, Central will orchestrate regional and/or national in-store promotions at retail. Central and TEAM Unlimited, the XTERRA Series owner, will also work together to create exclusive XTERRA K9 Challenge products made especially for active dogs.
“The K9 Challenge is a perfect extension for the XTERRA series,” said Tom Kiely, CEO of TEAM Unlimited. “It’s something we’ve been talking about for a while, but needed the right partner to make it happen. Central Garden & Pet produces some of the finest and best selling products for dogs anywhere and they are huge promoters of good animal health and fitness. They were a natural fit and together we’re creating something very unique and exciting. A large percentage of our competitors, pros and amateurs alike are pet owners and more specifically dog owners. When we polled our base of athletes on the subject we received very positive feedback on the event.”
The Breeder’s Choice XTERRA K9 Challenge is the latest in a series of innovative marketing programs for Central Garden & Pet’s Pet division whose brands have sponsored Major League Baseball and National Football League teams, non-profit programs like Dogs 4 Diabetics and Tony La Russa’s Animal Rescue Foundation, festivals and events where families spend time. By entering into these types of partnerships, Central is creating numerous marketing opportunities for their brands by involving consumers in fun, interactive and memorable activities, working with retail partners, promoting the message of responsible pet ownership and raising the profile of Central’s family of quality pet and products in key markets.
Central Garden & Pet Company is a leading innovator, marketer and producer of quality branded products for the lawn & garden and pet supplies markets. Central Garden & Pet is based in Walnut Creek, California, and has approximately 5,000 employees, primarily in North America and Europe. For additional information on Central Garden & Pet, including access to the Company's SEC filings, please visit the Company's website at http://www.central.com/.
XTERRA PT. MUGU TRAIL RUN: With the 2007 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship races in the books, a new chapter for ‘08 is already in the works with Saturday’s XTERRA Pt. Mugu Trail Runs in Malibu, CA.
Following the advice of Stan Swartz, author of “50 Trail Runs in Southern California” -- if you only do two trail runs in Southern California, do La Jolla Canyon Trail clockwise and then do it counter-clockwise. Trail Runners of all calibers will do just that at the XTERRA Pt. Mugu Trail Run – an 11k or 18k race that follows this spectacular trek.
The name XTERRA is home to off-road adventure and this event is no exception. Held at Point Mugu State Park, this course features the toughest (and most rewarding) first mile of any trail race around. The race heads straight into the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains before a dramatic finish down the historic Ray Miller Trail. And the views will knock your socks off! Competitors can expect to see some of the most brilliant coastal views possible; at 1,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean and PCH, the scene is simply breathtaking. A pass through Overlook Trail also gives runners grand views into La Jolla Canyon, Sycamore Canyon and Boney Mountain.
A portion of the Los Angeles area event-proceeds benefit Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, which was founded in 1901. Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has been treating the most seriously ill and injured children in Los Angeles for more than a century.
For more information go to trailrace.com.
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