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Up Next: XTERRA Southeast Championship

Off-road triathlon’s biggest event of the year in Alabama – the XTERRA Southeast Championship – returns to Oak Mountain State Park in Shelby County for the ninth straight year next weekend; May 17-18.

The main event combines a one-mile swim in Double Oak Lake with a grueling 20-mile mountain bike on the highly acclaimed Oak Mountain “red trail”, and a twisty, turny, up-and-down 10k off-road run.  This year there are professional and amateur competitors from 30 states and seven countries competing in the event.

“This course is amazing, we love it here,” said four-time XTERRA World Champion Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz of South Africa. “It’s a true XTERRA course with a nice swim in a beautiful lake, a fun mountain bike course and a tough run. I’ve been racing triathlon around the world for 20 years and can tell you this course is among my favorite of all-time.”

Stoltz’ isn’t the only one with high praise for the course at Oak Mountain State Park.  Runner’s World Magazine called the trails one of America’s “Crown Jewels – 25 best trails in the nation,” and the International Mountain Bicycling Association granted them the prestigious EPIC designation – given only to those rare trails “guaranteed to blow your mind.”

The course lures professional athletes from around the world and amateurs from across the nation to Pelham, and the accompanying two-day XTERRA Sports Festival provides local athletes and outdoor enthusiasts an opportunity to join in the fun.

The XTERRA Southeast Championship triathlon is the second of four regionals leading up to the XTERRA USA Championship in Utah, September 20.  Pros battle for their share of a $15,000 prize purse and for points towards the overall series title while amateur athletes compete for age group titles and one of the 46 qualifying spots into the XTERRA World Championship in Maui.

In addition to the XTERRA Championship and half-distance XTERRA Sprint off-road triathlons on Saturday, XTERRA will host a full set of trail runs on Sunday.  Events include 5km and 10km fun runs as well as a half-marathon trail run.  At the expo participants will also find free clinics taught by pro athletes, corporate tents, demos, giveaways, music, and food.

Competitors, spectators, friends and family are encouraged to stay in one of the myriad of hotel offerings in Pelham for the weekend and take advantage of Oak Mountain State Park which serves as the ideal setting to run, mountain bike, go fishing, ride horses, or go golfing.

“This venue is our model for big XTERRA races,” said XTERRA Managing Director Dave Nicholas.  “It’s the perfect spot for a family weekend and with all our competitors camping and hiking and enjoying the atmosphere together – it’s a one-of-a-kind experience.”

 

The elite race next Saturday is certain to be an exciting one – featuring the best in the U.S. including defending champ Josiah Middaugh against the World-beater Dan Hugo of South Africa who has already claimed five championship races this year.

Men’s tentative pro start list…

Rank – Name – Age, Hometown
1 – Josiah Middaugh – 35, Vail-Eagle, CO
2 – Bradley Weiss – 25, Cape Town, South Africa
3 – Mauricio Mendez – 18, Mexico City, Mexico
4 – Branden Rakita – 33, Colorado Springs, CO
5 – Craig Evans – 36, Hendersonville, TN
7 – Dan Hugo – 28, Stellenbosch, South Africa
8 – Chris Ganter – 35, Boise, ID
12 – Jeff Smith – 31, Portland, OR
14 – Ryan DeCook – 33, Rochester, MI
15 – Will Ross – 24, Anchorage, AK
17 – Nick Fisher – 28, Ogden, UT
19 – Andy Lee – 41, Lakeway, TX (Great Britain)
NR – Karsten Madsen – Guelph, Ontario, Canada
NR – Sean Bechtel – 30, Caledon, Ontario, Canada
NR – Charlie Epperson – 37, Tamuning, Guam (TN)
NR – Alex Modestou – 27, Washington, D.C.
NR – Jean-Philippe Thibodeau – 23, Quebec, Canada

For the women it’s all about who can catch the remarkable Flora Duffy, a two-time Olympian from Bermuda.  Could this be the course where the better mountain bikers like Shonny Vanlandingham use those skills to reign in Duffy?  Time will tell.

Women’s tentative pro start list…

Rank – Name – Age, Hometown
1 – Flora Duffy – 26, Boulder, CO (Bermuda)
2 – Emma Garrard – 32, Park City, Utah
3 – Shonny Vanlandingham – 44, Durango, Colorado
4 – Suzie Snyder – 32, Fredericksburg, Virginia
5 – Chantell Widney – 34, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
6 – Danelle Kabush – 39, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
7 – Kara LaPoint – 26, Truckee, CA
9 – Jamie Brede – 36, Breckenridge, Colorado
12 – Amelia McCracken – 30, Philadelphia, PA
NR – Caroline Colonna – 50, Taos, NM
NR – Christine Jeffrey – 41, Tucson, AZ (Canada)
NR – Solana Kline – 31, Bend, OR

 

XTERRA Southeast Championship and Sprint Triathlons 

What: Off-Road Triathlon

When: May 17, 8 a.m. start

Where: Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham, Ala.

Course distances: Championship features 1.5K swim / 30K mountain bike / 10K trail run. Sprint race features 750-meter swim / 15K mountain bike / 5K trail run

Who: Open to triathletes of all skill levels

Online registration: http://www.xterrapelham.com/

XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Runs

 What: Open trail runs at Oak Mountain State Park

When: May 18, 8:00 a.m. start

Where: Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham, Ala.

Course distances: 21 kilometers, 10 kilometers or 5 kilometers

Who: Open to runners of all ages and skill levels

Online registration: http://www.xterraplanet.com/trailrun/oakmountain

Runners who compete in the 21K trail run can also earn points toward the 2014 XTERRA Alabama Series. The top age-group runners at the end of the 2014 season will be invited to represent Alabama at the 2014 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Ogden, Utah, on Sept. 21.