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King, Beck Win XTERRA Trail Run National Championship
View the picture gallery from today's race at www.xterraphotos.com
Outside Magazine called this the best trail running town in America, and some of the fastest runners from around the state of Oregon and across the nation came to put its reputation to the test.
Ultimately the king of XTERRA trail running turned out to be none-other than Bend’s very own Max King (pictured here at mile 8). The local favorite set the standard high turning out close to five-minute miles for a winning 21km course time of 1:08:01. After just winning a six-day 125 mile race through the Rockies earlier this month and coming in second at the 2008 Northwest Mountain Running Championships last weekend, King was able to use his hometown advantage to edge out steeplechase star Ben Bruce, 26, of Eugene, Oregon by just over a minute. Ryan Bak, 27, also from Eugene and King’s teammate on the 2008 USA World Cross Country Team, took third in 1:09:41.
“When I spoke to Ryan, he said he was just coming to do the race for fun. Both he and Ben entered the race at the last minute, but I knew they would be tough competition” King said.
Being from Bend, King was familiar with the course and was able to run part of the upper track last night giving him a good feel for the twists and turns. “I love to run a course with tight curves. It might be because of my low center of gravity” he joked. It was a close race for the first section, but at mile 3 Max took the lead and never looked back. When talking to Bruce and Bak, they said that as primarily track racers, “The course was more technical than they were used to. Max was able to take the sharp turns and really open up his lead.”
“It’s a great course and nice to show all these runners from out of town what we have here in Bend and how you can go from this really cool downtown-type setting to forested single track in just miles,” said King. “Today was beautiful in Bend, the trails weren’t dusty, just perfect. Bend is really a great place for XTERRA to be, and I think that showed today.”
Overall Top 5 Men
In the women’s race it was marathon specialist Susannah Beck, 40, who took home the women’s top prize with her time of 1:23:07. This Eugene native “duked it out” for first place with Bend local Kami Semick, 42, who finished just 19 seconds later. These two ultra trail runners battled each other just six weeks ago at the USATF 50 Mile Trail Championship in Crystal Mountain, Washington where Beck and Semick also took the first and second place respectively.
This morning, it was an all out tug of war as Beck took the lead from the start giving way to Semick at mile six, and then regaining the lead at mile ten to take the women’s title. 2008 Northwest Mountain Running Championships Lisa Nye, 40, of Bend, who was under the weather and only made it to the race by her children’s urging, came in an impressive third at 1:25:11.
Runners for the championship 21km distance ranged in age from 16 to 84. John Keston, the race’s most senior participant from Sunriver, Oregon, is originally from England and honored the event by singing a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem at the awards ceremony. “I have only been racing competitively since I was 55” said Keston after completing the event in just 2:19:16.
After a 50+ event XTERRA Trail Run Series, 22 regional champions went head to head at this morning’s race to see how they stacked up against the competition. Usually behind the scenes instead of the starting line, Philly Series race director Don Morrison said, “This was a great, fast race. The rolling hills were beautiful but not too technical. Everyone had a great time.”
Overall Top 5 Women
Five Bend runners won national titles today, along with several other Oregon-based athletes and out-of-state champions from California, Pennsylvania, Washington, Utah, Colorado, and Nevada.
2008 XTERRA Trail Running National Champions – Women
2008 XTERRA Trail Running National Champions – Men
In addition to the main event there were 5km and 10km trail runs, nearly 100 kids enjoying the XTERRA Kids Zone obstacle courses, running races and agility drills, the Paul Mitchell Cut-a-thon was six stylists deep creating cool hairdo’s as a benefit for the Challenged Athletes Foundation all day, and an enormous crowd of spectators, friends and family enjoying an epic day in Bend.
All the day’s action was filmed by the award-winning TEAM TV crew and will be edited into a segment for a future nationally syndicated XTERRA Adventures TV show that will be seen by millions of viewers across the country.
ON TO OKTOBERFEST: The official post-race party is the Bend Oktoberfest, where the National Champs will be recognized onstage and a highlight video and slideshow from the race will be shown.
BEND LOCALS DOMINATE 5KM/10KM RACES: Bend natives Andy Martin and Becky Bjork won the men’s and women’s 10km races while Mike Olson and Nicole Smith took top honors in the 5km race. Martin crushed the 10km in 35:29, more than six minutes ahead of Dennis Durling (41:36) who is also from Bend. Bjork’s winning time was 43:53, more than a minute ahead of fellow local Leah Shirley. Olson finished the 5km in 16:54, exactly two minutes ahead of La Pine, OR runner Scott Abrams and Smith was nearly two minutes quicker than Linda English (Bend) with a winning time of 21:18. The most inspiring story of the day came during the 5km event as Tudor Gilmour, 36, crossed the finish line. While previewing the course for the Honolulu Marathon six years ago, she was hit by a car while riding her moped. Gilmour has been training to work her way back up to competing in another marathon ever sense, just one step at a time. “I usually run on paved roads, so I’m getting used to running on trails. This was a fun, beautiful course” she said.
HAVANA WINS BREEDER’S CHOICE XTERRA K9 CHALLENGE: Havana, a six-year old Healer mix and his owner Troy Kapinos from Cottonwood, Utah won the Breeder’s Choice XTERRA K9 Challenge with a perfect run of 22.9 seconds in the time trial obstacle course, just a second faster than a 3-year-old Australian Shepherd named Boo and his owner Kirk Morrow from Bend. In winning the made-for-fun race that featured a few short sprints, tunnel crawls, plank navigating, log jumps, fire hydrant swerves, and teeter-totter crossings Kapinos and Havana won a year supply of Avoderm Dog Food. The next five fastest teams each won a fancy leash from REI.
The XTERRA Trail Running National Championship was presented by Paul Mitchell and XTERRAGear.com. National sponsors include GU Energy Gel, Gatorade, Zorrel, Breeder's Choice, Hawaiian Airlines, and Runner's World Magazine. Local sponsors are Visit Bend, The Source, The Shops at Old Mill, and Oregon Sports Authority.
A special thanks goes out to Doug La Placa at Visit Bend, Bend Parks and Rec, Deschutes National Forest, and the entire Bend community for embracing the event and making it a world-class atmosphere for athletes from around the country.
UP NEXT: The XTERRA Trail Run World Championship is December 7 at Kualoa Ranch on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, and many of today’s runners have already signed-up to take on the world. Read more at xterratrailrun.com.
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