Rigdon and Hallagan Take Top Honors at Eureka Springs

Runners from five different states participate

Eureka Springs RunnersThe XTERRA Eureka Springs Trail Run was completed at Eureka Springs, Arkansas, on June 8, and a pair of out-of-state runners took top honors.

Tony Rigdon III from Columbia, Missouri, was the overall winner, and Amy Hallagan from Loveland, Colorado, was the first female.

Rigdon, 40, completed the 12-kilometer course in 1 hour, 45 seconds, and finished more than two minutes ahead of the rest of the field. Seventeen-year-old Jake McClung – a hometown runner from Eureka Springs – placed second in 1:03:15.

Hallagan, 40, placed eighth overall with a time of 1:07:25, and dominated the women’s field. Stephanie Pendegraft from Mountain Home, Arkansas, placed second in 1:23:55.

In addition to the 12K long course, there was also a 6K short course. Eric Wilbur was the overall winner of the 6K course, and 61-year-old Patsy Miller was the first female.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS

Runners from five different states – Arkansas, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma – participated in the event. The Eureka Springs Trail Run is not affiliated with any specific XTERRA region, as Arkansas does not have a full series.

Didawick and Jackson Earn Virginia Series Titles

Richmond was the season finale for 2013

In addition to being a fast runner, Josh Didawick is also a fast learner. Prior to this year, Didawick had never competed in a trail run. He is now the 30-34 age group champion for the XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series.

Richmond StartThe 2013 XTERRA Virginia Series came to a close last weekend with more than 350 runners participating in the XTERRA Richmond Trail Run.

“I did triathlons and road races before this year, but I was looking for something different to do and decided to try and do a trail run,” Didawick said.

His first trail run experience came in April of this year at the XTERRA Hungry Mother 10K Trail Run at Marion, Virginia.  He placed fourth overall and first in his age group, and it provided enough of an incentive for him to sign up for the XTERRA Richmond Trail Run 20K.

“I liked that first one at Hungry Mother so much, I signed up for Richmond,” said Didawick, who is 31 and resides in Staunton, Virginia. “I’m glad I did because Richmond was awesome. The whole event was just phenomenal.”

Didawick placed third in his age group at the Richmond 20K race, and it gave him enough points to win his age division for the season for the XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series.

“I try to do a little bit of everything to stay in shape,” he said. “But I definitely want to do more trail runs. I really enjoyed doing the two XTERRA races this year.”

Didawick was one of two runners to score enough points to earn an age-group championship in the 2013 XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series.

The other is Clark Jackson, who won the male 55-59 division. Jackson placed first in his age group at all three races in the Virginia Series. He previously won an age-group title in the XTERRA North Carolina Trail Run Series.

The XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series will return in 2014 with at least three races. To learn more about it, please visit www.xterratrailrun.com or www.goruntrails.com.

The 2013 XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series champions:

 

Age Group Name Age Hometown State
Male 30-34 Josh Didawick 31 Staunton VA
Male 55-59 Clark Jackson 56 Charlottesville VA

Inaugural XTERRA Greece at Lake Plastira Saturday

The second of eight races in the XTERRA European Tour takes place Saturday with the inaugural XTERRA Greece at Lake Plastira.  XTERRA’s managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas is on-site for the event and brings us this preview…

Lake from Top of Bike in GreeceLake Plastira is not Athens nor is it an island in the sea.  It is mountains, fresh water lakes, tall trees, flowers, small wonderful villages and crisp clean air.  To get here is an easy 3.5 to 4 hour drive from Athens mostly on fast limited access highways.  The location is most known and very popular for winter sports so there are dozens of small hotels and restaurants in several villages spread throughout the area.  To say it is scenic is an understatement.

This is a first time race and everything is shaping up well.  Kostas Koumargialis limited the entry to 300 and is sold out.  Other organizers told him he would be happy to have 150 entries and as of now, XTERRA Greece is the biggest first-time triathlon in Greek Federation history.

The lake is huge.  It is the highest lake in Greece at 850m.  In World War II the area that is now the lake was a landing strip for Warbirds.  Greek General and later Prime Minister Plastira ran the show and had the futuristic thought that he could create a great reservoir and recreation place by building a dam.  He did, the lake was named for him, and has become a grand vacation spot.

This is not an urban setting.  The village is only a few hundred meters away but the race venue starts with a short run to transition in a big, grass field.  The bike is two laps of 15K.  Not too technical but it has lots of climbing and quick downhills.  The one who can ride the fastest without going over the limit will be at the sharp end of the field.  The trails run through forest and farms and riders will pass ancient watering places fed from mountain springs as well as true Greek shepherds and their flocks.  I did not get out on the run today as the daily 5:30pm thunderstorm came through and soaked us all.  I hear it is fast, fun and scenic.

The pro entry is strong.  With Ruben Ruzafa winning two weeks ago in Spain but not here, the leaders are Ben Allen, Asa Shaw and Nico Lebrun.  As is not uncommon, there are strikes in France that are holding up flights.  Shaw waited all day before he could leave and Lebrun will not be in until late tonight.

Alexander Haas is over his illness and fellow German Felix Schumann are making their first race of the season along with Yeray Luxum from Belgium.  French first year pro and age group world champion Marvin Gruget will make his debut here to compete against regulars Jim Thijs, Francois Carloni, Tim vanDaele and Cedric Lassonde.

The women’s fight will be similar to Spain with Renata Bucher, unbeatable in her last four races facing off against 2012 women’s Euro Tour Champ Helena Erbenova, Jacqui Slack, Carina Wasle, Kathrin Muller, Brigitta Poor, and Greek Olympian Deniz Demaki.  South African Champion Carla Van Huyssteen is listed but I have not seen her as yet.  Hoping she is healthy and ready to race.

The 5:30pm storm has passed as predicted and now at 7:00pm the sun is shining and the roads are dry as if it never rained.  The forecast for Saturday is partly cloudy, mid 70’s with lots of passing and racing : )

Hugo, Paterson win XTERRA East Championship

Photo Gallery / Highlight Clip / East Championship Results / Sprint Results

(Richmond, VA) – Dan Hugo and Lesley Paterson won the XTERRA East Championship pro race on a beautiful day at James River Park in Richmond, Virginia this morning.

In contrast, tropical storm Andrea on Friday and another storm front that came in Saturday morning dumped two inches or more of rain on Richmond and combined to create fast currents and flood level river heights in the James forcing the cancellation of the swim. Fortunately, several hours of bright sunshine starting Saturday afternoon and into Sunday morning dried up the trails and the full, epic Richmond bike course was still a go.

The swim was replaced with a 1.6 mile run, followed by the 20-mile bike and final 6-mile run (which was also re-routed to replace the “dry way” section that was under water).

Dan HugoThe change in format from a triathlon to a run-bike-run duathlon changed the dynamic of the race, stealing the advantage from the strong swimmers and handing it over to the fleet of foot.  It’s the second time in the 15-year history of the event the swim was cancelled, last time was 2003.

Regardless of the format, the day seemed destined to belong to Hugo, who captured his first XTERRA Championship since winning the South Africa title in 2011.  The 27-year-old from Stellenbosch was the first out of T1 and posted the fastest bike split by more than six minutes to fellow South African Brad Weiss.

“It’s much easier to win when the sports icon is commentating, or staying home in Vail, so a big respect to Conrad (Stoltz) and Josiah (Middaugh),” Hugo told the crowd moments after breaking the tape. “I really love this course and it’s gotten better.  There was a nutty bunch on two of the rock sections going crazy.  I thought the cannon was loud, but then when I got through to those boys the cannon seemed OK.”

Hugo is referring to a raucous bunch of bike and trail fanatics known as “Foghorn Leghorn Productions” who annually throw a trail party at the trickiest section in Buttermilk Heights known as “Rock Face.”  They blast music, BBQ, dress in costumes, scream, shout encouragement, and blast on vuvuzela’s to the delight of riders all day long.

Hugo’s victory was cause for celebration for his friends, family, and XTERRA fans worldwide as it broke a noteworthy string of 13 runner-up finishes in his previous 14 XTERRA races.  It’s fitting the win came here in Richmond as well.  He had a broken wrist and couldn’t race his first year here (following a crash in Alabama).  He posted three runner-ups in Richmond (twice to Stoltz, once to Middaugh) and last year at this time he was in a sling, “a total mess,” he said, after crashing on the road earlier in the season.

“So many friends and family have said to me over the last three years ‘today is your day’, and it just hadn’t wanted to be, but today was my day.  Not just for myself, but for everybody who has shared in the long, slow journey, thank you so much for your support over the years,” said Hugo at the awards ceremony in front of some of his best friends and even a grade-school buddy from South Africa he hadn’t seen in years.

“I’d also like to thank Luck Stone (Richmond-based presenting sponsor of the East Championship). It’s incredible to see on their truck the motto “Ignite Human Potential,” and I couldn’t think of a better phrase to take home from today.  They’ve pioneered a new frontier, and it’s great to be a part of that and I look forward to seeing what they have up their sleeve next year.”

Luck Stone covered the race with live streaming video, GPS trackers on the pros, and a social media map of the course while Conrad Stoltz’ provided the play-by-play and color for the day in what is assuredly the best live coverage the sport has ever seen.

The coverage must have created some anxious moments for the fans of Brad Weiss, Ryan Ignatz, and Nick Fisher as those three battled nearly all day long on the bike and run.  Ultimately, Ignatz broke free from the group at the famous “Mayan Ruins” section of the run and finished second – his best result in a major XTERRA.

“I was getting blown-up on that ride, and was lucky to be able to hang with those guys,” said Ignatz.  “Then on the run Brad pushed really hard in the beginning and it wasn’t until the stairs when I starting pulling away.  It’s pretty exciting, best result in a national series race and to be able to work all week and show up for the weekend like this…it feels great.”

Ignatz is a full-time bike fitter back home in Boulder and of note, his wife Maia (a full-time massage therapist) won the women’s age group title today.

Weiss pulled past Fisher for third, his best result in a U.S. race.  Fisher took 4th, his second top 5 in this his first year racing pro.  Will Kelsay passed four guys to get into 5th place, the second year-in-a-row for him on the podium in Richmond.

Craig Evans was in that trio of guys on the bike before taking a spill just before the tunnels coming out of Forest Hill Park on the second lap.  The crash was captured by a couple of photographers (see here). When he went down, Weiss, Fisher, and Ignatz rode by but Evans shook-it off and got back in the mix.  Andy Lee, who won the age group race in Richmond last year, passed Evans in the end to take 6th – his best finish as a pro.

Evans came across in 7th, followed by 21-year-old Karsten Madsen from Canada who raced with a hyperextended elbow, then Branden Rakita and Ryan DeCook.

PRO MEN

 

Pl Name Age Hometown Time Points
1 Dan Hugo 27 Stellenbosch, South Africa 2:12:47 100
2 Ryan Ignatz 34 Boulder, Colorado 2:18:30 90
3 Bradley Weiss 24 Somerset West, South Africa 2:19:07 82
4 Nick Fisher 27 Ogden, Utah 2:21:54 75
5 Will Kelsay 32 Boulder, Colorado 2:24:15 69
6 Andy Lee 41 Lakeway, Texas 2:25:09 63
7 Craig Evans 35 Hendersonville, Tennessee 2:25:25 58
8 Karsten Madsen 21 Kitchener, Ontario, Canada 2:25:53 53
9 Branden Rakita 32 Colorado Springs, Colorado 2:26:42 49
10 Ryan DeCook 32 Rochester, Michigan 2:27:31 45

Also: Cody Waite (41), Tim Snow (37), Brad Zoller (34)

PATERSON WINS ON A BIKER’S COURSE

Lesley Paterson“Who says I’m not a mountain biker,” Paterson exclaimed moments after crossing the finish line.

That may have been the wrap on Paterson two years ago, but not anymore.  She proved once again today her XTERRA success is about more than just fitness.  Today she hung with arguably the best mountain biker in the sport – Shonny Vanlandingham – on a slippery, technical course and posted the second-best split of the day while riding behind Vanlandingham for much of the race.

“My goal was to really go out there and enjoy it and try to keep my focus,” said Paterson, who has now won six straight XTERRA championships.  “Shonny passed me going into the second lap so I was really pleased to have fended off the other people. I rode with her for most of the lap and to be honest it was really fun, we chatted around the lap and she was giving me encouragement all the way, which is XTERRA Style.  Yeah, she’s my favorite athlete by far.”

Paterson continued to praise Vanlandingham at the awards ceremony where she thanked the 2010 World Champion for “giving me her lines.”

“It was a tough course, really was gnarly, and I only came off once,” said Paterson.

Vanlandingham crushed the bike, and headed out on the run with the lead, albeit short-lived as the “Scottish Rocket” flew by about a mile into it.

“I was trying to emulate her form as she passed,” smiled Vanlandingham, who said she feels really good with her run and is finally getting back from the knee surgeries that slowed her down since 2011.

Brandi Heisterman posted her second straight 3rd-place finish spurred by another great day on the mountain bike.  With the trails closed the past two days and this being her first time to Richmond, Heisterman hadn’t ever ridden on these trails before this morning.

“Lovey, love, loved that course,” exclaimed Heisterman, who rode in second behind Paterson for a while.  “Killed me not to know it on the first lap, wasn’t in the right gear and got caught off guard at Hodson ramp, but I got it right the second time around. The crowd was awesome, the cheering was amazing.”

Melanie McQuaid finished in fourth, her 13th straight year in the top 4, and Danelle Kabush rounded out the top five.

PRO WOMEN

 

Pl Name Age Hometown Time Points
1 Lesley Paterson 32 San Diego, California 2:30:40 100
2 Shonny Vanlandingham 43 Durango, Colorado 2:33:23 90
3 Brandi Heisterman 38 Brackendale, B.C., Canada 2:36:06 82
4 Melanie McQuaid 39 Victoria, B.C., Canada 2:38:33 75
5 Danelle Kabush 37 Calgary, Canada 2:38:53 69
6 Suzie Snyder 31 Fredericksburg, Virginia 2:41:41 63
7 Christine Jeffrey 41 Tucson, Arizona 2:56:21 58
8 Katie Button 28 Victoria, B.C., Canada 2:56:55 53
9 Caroline Colonna 49 Taos, New Mexico 2:59:52 49
10 Catherine Sterling 36 West Boylston, Massachussetts 3:00:54 45

XTERRA U.S. PRO SERIES UPDATE

Lesley Paterson stayed perfect in the pro series, and will enter Nationals with a perfect 300 score. Pros count their best three of four regionals (there’s one left – the Mountani Championship at Beaver Creek Resort in Avon, CO on July 20) plus their score at the USA Championship in Utah to determine the Series winner.

Craig Evans leads the men’s series with the best three combined scores of the year so far.  Here’s a look at the standings:

2013 XTERRA U.S. Pro Series Standings (after 3 – 6.9.13)  

PRO MEN

 

Pl Name West S’East East Totals
1 Craig Evans 63 82 58 203
2 Josiah Middaugh 100 100 DNS 200
3 Branden Rakita 82 63 49 194
4 Dan Hugo DNS 90 100 190
5 Nick Fisher 37 69 75 181
6 Will Kelsay 49 58 69 176
7 Ryan Ignatz 75 DNS 90 165
8 Bradley Weiss DNS 75 82 157
9 Matt Mangen 53 53 DNS 106
10 Andy Lee DNS 37 63 100
11 Jason Michalak 58 34 DNS 92
12 Conrad Stoltz 90 DNF DNS 90
13 Cody Waite DNS 45 41 86
14 Matt Lieto 69 DNS DNS 69
15 Tim Snow DNS 31 37 68
16 Karsten Madsen DNS DNS 53 53
17 Chris Ganter DNF 49 DNS 49
18 Brian Astell 45 DNS DNS 45
19 Ryan DeCook DNS DNP 45 45
20 Lewis Elliot 41 DNS DNS 41
21 Will Ross DNP 41 DNS 41
22 Matthew Sheeks 34 DNS DNS 34
23 Brad Zoller DNS DNS 34 34
24 Zach Winter 31 DNS DNS 31
25 Damian Gonzalez 28 DNP DNS 28
26 Tom Eickelbert DNS 28 DNS 28
27 Joshua Merrick DNP DNS DNS

PRO WOMEN

 

Pl Name West S’East East Totals
1 Lesley Paterson 100 100 100 300
2 Shonny Vanlandingham 82 75 90 247
3 Melanie McQuaid 75 90 75 240
4 Suzie Snyder 90 69 63 222
5 Brandi Heisterman 41 82 82 205
6 Danelle Kabush 69 58 69 196
7 Christine Jeffrey 31 53 58 142
8 Caroline Colonna 37 45 49 131
9 Emma Garrard 58 63 DNS 121
10 Katie Button DNS 49 53 102
11 Kelley Cullen 63 DNS DNS 63
12 Jaime Brede 53 DNS DNS 53
13 Jen Gersbach-Venzara 49 DNS DNS 49
14 Tamara Donelson 45 DNS DNS 45
15 Catherine Sterling DNS DNS 45 45
16 Heather Holmes DNS 41 DNS 41
17 Rachel Challis 34 DNS DNS 34
18 Lauren Harrison 28 DNS DNS 28

DNS  Did Not Start
DNF  Did Not Finish
DNP  Did Not Place

MODESTOU, IGNATZ WIN AGE GROUP RACE

2013 East Amateur ChampsAlex Modestou won his division for the third time in a row at the XTERRA East Championship, and took the overall men’s amateur title as well.

Maia Ignatz, the 2011 XTERRA 30-34 World Champion, won the overall women’s title in her first time on the Richmond course.

There were several repeat champions, highlighted by Kathy Coutinho who won her division for the ninth time since 2001.

Valerie Hardin won her seventh Richmond crown, followed by Annette Macniven and Nat Grew with four, Ali Arasta with his third straight, and Daryl Weaver with his second in a row.

Here’s a look at all the age group champions from today…

XTERRA EAST CHAMPIONS (FEMALE)

 

Division Name Time Hometown
15  – 19 Hannah Rae Finchamp 3:08:11 Altadena, CA
20 – 24 Allison Linnell 3:32:38 Miami, FL
30 – 34  *Maia Ignatz 2:52:35 Boulder, CO
35 – 39  Kristen Mihalic 3:21:03 Albuquerque, NM
40 – 44  Kathy Coutinho (9) 3:05:50 Annandale, VA
45 – 49  Celeste St. Pierre 3:33:47 Lincoln, NH
50 – 54 Valerie Hardin (7) 3:26:55 Doylestown, PA
55 – 59 Annette Macniven (4) 4:23:18 Wainscott, NY

XTERRA EAST CHAMPIONS (MALE)

 

Division Name Time Hometown
15 – 19 Roman Brown 2:50:54 Shoreham, NY
20 – 24 Thomas Canzano 4:07:50 Farmington, NM
25 – 29  *Alex Modestou (3) 2:27:06 Washington DC
30 – 34  Joshua Loren 2:45:08 Wilmington, DE
35 – 39  Noah Wright 2:37:25 Austin, TX
40 – 44  Daryl Weaver (2) 2:28:35 Lititz, PA
45 – 49  Todd Gottfried 2:39:43 Valencia, CA
50 – 54  Ali Arasta (3) 2:49:03 Asheboro, NC
55 – 59 Cliff Millemann 2:51:33 Davis, CA
60 – 64 Russell Clark 3:30:17 Scotia, NY
65 – 69 Terry Hutchins 4:05:26 Kalamazoo, MI
75 – 79 Nathaniel Grew (4) 4:55:31 Costa Rica

* TOP AMATEURS

O’Reilly, Ward win XTERRA Richmond Half Marathon Trail Run

Jason Dowdy and Laura Welier of Richmond take XTERRA Fugitive 10km Titles

XTERRA Richmond 21K Results / XTERRA Fugitive 10K Results

2013 XTERRA Richmond 20km Winners(Richmond, VA) – Blaine O’Reilly (24, Williamsburg) and Emily Ward (31, Richmond) captured the XTERRA Richmond 20K, while Jason Dowdy (37, Richmond) and Laura Weiler (31, Richmond) won the XTERRA Fugitive 10K trail runs in cool, rainy conditions around James River Park this morning.

The courses for both races were changed to protect the trail system – eliminating the Forest Hill Park and “Dry Way” sections that have been pummeled with rain over the past two days – and replacing them with alternate routes on service and gravel roads.

O’Reilly, who ran for the Army Black Knights’ track and cross country teams from 2007-2011 before graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2011, led from start-to-finish and crossed the line in 1:11:37 (5:43 mile pace), more than four-minutes ahead of runner-up and last year’s 20K winner Ryan Middleton of Hanover.

“It was fun, my first XTERRA,” said O’Reilly, the two-mile record holder at Gloucester High School.  “My brother wanted me to come over and run and glad I did.  I’ll have to come back next year so I can get on those trails everyone raves about.”

In the women’s race Ward, a track and cross country star at the University of Richmond ten years ago, was equally as dominant despite getting a side-stitch that had her walking for the first time ever in a race.  Her winning time of 1:26:44 was good for eighth overall, and nearly seven minutes ahead of runner-up Jaclyn Shokey.

“Aside from the side stich I had a good time splashing through all the puddles today,” said Ward, who works for Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation.

2013 XTERRA Richmond 10km WinnersIn the XTERRA Fugitive 10K, Dowdy defended his title and has now won this race three times (it was way back in 2002 when he won his first).  Russell Reed stayed close early but Dowdy ran away at the famous Manchester Stairs, aka “Mayan Ruins” section.

“I wanted to set the tone early and I could hear the guy behind me until we got to the stairs and started dropping him there,” said Dowdy, who ran at Virginia Tech until 1999.

Women’s 10K winner Laura Weiler finished more than six minutes ahead of runner-up Lucas Daley, and said she was happy to see the course re-routed to protect the trails.

“Had a lot of fun today.  The course was a little different than normal but they did a great job re-routing us and keeping everyone safe and the trails in good shape,” said Weiler, a regular runner at James River Park.  “I love these trails, Buttermilk, North Bank, they are so much fun and such an asset to Richmond. Maintaining the integrity of the trails is far more important than just one day and we were still able to have a great race and a lot of fun so it worked out.”

Tomorrow, the XTERRA East Championship will take place in Richmond for the 15th consecutive year starting with the pro race at 8am.

Photos courtesy XTERRA, featuring 10 and 21K winners with Rich Hart, the Vice President Strategic Services at Luck Stone Corporation.

XTERRA East Championship Preview

As the saying goes in XTERRA, Mother Nature is your toughest competitor – but you’ve got to watch out for Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz too.

Stoltz Richmond VictoryNot this Sunday, however, as the four-time XTERRA World Champ – winner of seven of the last eight XTERRA East Championships in Richmond, including four in a row, will not be able to race due to a lingering calf injury.

“I wasn’t able to finish in Alabama a few weeks ago and since then I’ve been here and getting good treatment but have done just two tiny little runs to see if it’s OK,” explained Stoltz.  “To me it’s not worth taking the risk of injuring it even further this weekend. It’ll be the first time since 2002 I won’t be able to race here and it’s very disappointing, I’d love to compete. I’ve been riding on the road quite a bit and can see my power is great on the bike and my fitness is really good so I’m tempted to go out there and just knock it, but it’s probably not the smart decision to make.”

On the bright side for XTERRA fans, Stoltz volunteered instead to be the race announcer for the live coverage Luck Stone is providing on Sunday, providing rare insight into the city, the sport and its competitors.

Also of note, XTERRA U.S. Pro Series leader Josiah Middaugh – the only man to steal a Richmond crown from Stoltz since 2005 – will stay at home in Vail, Colorado this weekend to defend his ultimate mountain challenge title, an event he’s won six years in a row.  Since pros can drop one of their scores from the four regional races – and with two wins and the XTERRA Mountain Championship in Vail up next, he’ll still have the opportunity to post a perfect 300 score prior to Nationals.

Dan HugoThat leaves Dan Hugo as the man to beat in Richmond and while he can appreciate the spotlight it’s not the manner in which he’d like to be the favorite.

“I’m bitterly sad Conrad is not racing this weekend,” said Hugo, who has been the runner-up in Richmond three times.  “I’ve had prime seats many a time to see him ride, especially on a course like this. Those are footsteps none of us can follow.”

In an interesting role reversal it is now 24-year-old Brad Weiss –five years the junior to Hugo – playing the “South African youngster” tasked with stealing one from his elder countryman.

“I think what Conrad was to Dan as he started his XTERRA career, Dan has been to me.  You need those role models to keep it going,” said Weiss, who has watched Stoltz career in awe as he amassed his unprecedented 46 XTERRA championship wins through the years.

“It’s difficult to realize how big of an impact Conrad has had on XTERRA back home.  Until he leaves the sport people won’t realize just how much he has achieved and how hard that will be to replicate when he’s done.  I would love to think I have the ability to do so, but until I’m 40 years old and still racing I can’t say the same.  Just to get one XTERRA victory would be massive for me.”

For the record, Stoltz has no intention of fading into the sunset just yet, as his passion for racing still burns bright.

“My fitness is still picking up and there are things you can do to get faster and faster every year which is very encouraging,” said Stoltz.  “I really enjoy being able to represent companies like Specialized and ride the best bikes around.  As long as I enjoy it and as long as the fitness keeps going I’m going to keep racing. I love racing.”

There are several other XTERRA men in the pro field anxious to seize the opportunity to capture their first major XTERRA U.S. Pro Series win in Richmond.  The bike course suits Craig Evans, who is only a year removed from a brilliant runner-up performance at the ITU Cross Tri Worlds, and the Colorado contingent of Branden Rakita, Ryan Ignatz, and Will Kelsay are all capable of putting it together Sunday.

Pro Men
Rank – Men – Age, Hometown
2t – Craig Evans – 35, Hendersonville, Tennessee
2t – Branden Rakita – 32, Colorado Springs, Colorado
4 – Will  Kelsay – 31, Boulder, Colorado
5t – Nick Fisher – 27, Ogden, Utah
8t – Conrad Stoltz – 39, Stellenbosch, South Africa
8t – Dan Hugo – 27, Stellenbosch, South Africa
10t – Bradley Weiss – 24, Cape Town, South Africa
10t – Ryan Ignatz – 34, Boulder, Colorado
15 – Cody Waite – 34, Lakewood, Colorado
17 – Will Ross – 23, Anchorage, Alaska
18 – Andy Lee – 41, Lakeway, Texas
21 – Tim Snow – 37, Brockton, Massachussetts
NR – Ryan DeCook – 32, Rochester Hills, Michigan
NR – Brad Zoller – 36, Cincinnati, Ohio

The women’s race, despite Lesley Paterson’s recent dominance, seems just as wide open as the men.

Melanie McQuaidMelanie McQuaid has been on the podium in Richmond 12 straight years and won four times, including last year.

“This bike course, historically, has determined a lot of the finishing places where really good handling skills allow you to hold more speed.  This course is relatively flat and requires a lot of power and I’m a bigger triathlete so it plays to my strength because it comes down to pure power rather than power-to-weight ratio,” explained McQuaid.  “That said I’m certainly not going to rest on previous seasons.  Shonny is stronger this year, Lesley is going really fast right now and the overall level in the women’s race is quite high, not just for XTERRA but all the girls in XTERRA are showing they are strong no matter what kind of triathlon it is.”

Vanlandingham has also won in Richmond (2011) and her run is starting to get back to where it was when she was winning all the time after a tough couple years recovering from a knee injury.

Brandi Heisterman is also an accomplished mountain biker and it’ll be interesting to see how fast she goes – especially with the rain coming down in Richmond creating some slippery conditions similar to what she rides on regularly.

“When it’s rainy here in Richmond the course gets technical, it’s actually quite slippery and the clay is gnarly,” said McQuaid, who said the “wetter the better” – a sentiment that would be shared by Heisterman and Vanlandingham.

There is also Suzie Snyder and Danelle Kabush, both of whom have proven they could come out on top should things fall into place.

Still, Paterson is the target.  Since finishing third here last year the two-time XTERRA World Champ has won every XTERRA she’s entered, her bike handling skills have improved, and her run speed is unmatched.

Pro Women
Rank – Women – Age, Hometown
1 – Lesley Paterson – 32, San Diego, California
2 – Melanie McQuaid – 39, Victoria, B.C., Canada
3 – Suzie Snyder – 31, Fredericksburg, Virginia
4 – Shonny Vanlandingham – 44, Durango, Colorado
5 – Danelle Kabush – 37, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
6 – Brandi Heisterman – 37, Squamish, B.C., Canada
8 – Christine Jeffrey – 40, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
9 – Caroline Colonna – 48, Taos, New Mexico
13 – Katie Button – 28, Victoria, B.C., Canada
NR – Catherine Sterling – 36, West Boylston, Mass.
NR – Chantell Widney – 32, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

All-in-all the 15th edition of #xterraRVA promises to be an epic race and add to the legend of XTERRA’s finest urban adventure.

“It’s my favorite course, and probably globally my favorite experience,” said Hugo, who has been in town for nearly two weeks and written about its virtues on his blog. “The skyscrapers, great river and forest make for a ridiculously perfect XTERRA set-up that offers as much as any other.  And you don’t need to explain XTERRA to anyone here. The history & legacy of XTERRA in Richmond is at a very high level.”

Richmond Times Dispatch Race Preview

Shively Joins Elite List of “Double” XTERRA Champions

13-year-old wins age group in Alabama and Georgia

It takes dedication and speed to win an age group title in any state on the XTERRA Trail Run circuit. It often requires traveling to different parts of the state to enter the races, and of course, the speed to beat all the other runners in the age group.

Korey ShivelyImagine what it takes to do it in two different states.

Korey Shively became the latest XTERRA trail runner to join that elite short list when he won the male 10-14 age division for the 2013 XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series last weekend. It came a month after he won the male 10-14 age division for the 2013 XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series.

Korey, 13, is in the eighth grade at Liberty Middle School in Madison, Alabama, and he is already a member of the varsity cross country and track teams at James Clemens High School, so his success in the Alabama Series is understandable.

He happened to be visiting his grandparents in Atlanta in February at the same time when an XTERRA Georgia Series race was taking place in nearby Winder.

“The timing was right, and he did well enough in that race that we looked at the next one and figured we might as well come back and try another one,” said his father, Sean.

Sean made the four-hour drive to take Korey to the XTERRA Deep South Trail Run at Jackson, Georgia, on June 1. Korey won his age group at that race, and it earned him enough points to win the age division for the season.

It capped a successful first year in the sport of trail running for Korey. His first sport of choice is actually lacrosse, and he started running as a way to stay in shape.

“He only started running last summer, but he loves this trail stuff now,” Sean said. “He has a blast at all the different trails.”

Korey and other members of the Clemens High School cross country team will make the trip to Utah this September to participate in the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship.

Korey is now one of only three XTERRA runners to win an age group championship in two different regions in the same year. The others are Joshua Horsager (Alabama/Georgia, male 30-34) and Richard Burgunder (Ohio/Pocono, male 30-34).

Inaugural XTERRA Utah Series is Underway

Two more races coming up this summer

The opening event for the inaugural XTERRA Utah Trail Run Series witnessed spectacular performances by 80 athletes representing six states – Utah, California, Washington, Colorado, Maryland and Wyoming.

XTERRA Hideout RunnersThe event was called the XTERRA Hideout Trail Run and it featured three different courses (5K, 10K and 21K) and provided runners with a very challenging course that consisted of singe track trails, grueling climbs and descents along the stunningly beautiful Jordanelle State Park Reservoir in Hideout, Utah.

Overall 21K winner Nate Blouin from Salt Lake City ran with the lead pack for the start, and he then slowly started to distance himself from his closest rivals, following the half-marathon turnaround. Blouin has been consistently training with daily mountain runs that include 2,000-foot vertical ascents. He was very well prepared for the grueling terrain and climbs that the Jordanelle course challenged him with.

“That hurt,”  he said. Despite his aggressive training routine, the picturesque Jordanelle State Park, which offers rolling terrain and scenic views – all at elevations above 6,000 feet, exceeded his expectations.

In the 10K, former XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon National Age Group Champion, Emma Garrard from Park City, Utah, ran away from the field with a remarkable performance to win the women’s race and finish fourth overall with a time of 45:25. She took off with a blazing start and paced with the leaders of all three events up until the 5k turnaround.  Emma was fourth (second American) in the final 2010 XTERRA USA Pro Series.

Tyrone Luke, a 10 year old running sensation from Hyrum, Utah, finished second place in the 5K with a time of 28.16.4 in a competitive adult field.  Tyrone endured a very challenging course and turned many heads with his incredible performance.

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Racers described the course as strikingly beautiful, surprisingly difficult, and yet very enjoyable.  “This was a deceptively hard course with amazing scenery,” according to Richard Burgunder, a four-time XTERRA Trail Run Series Regional Champion.

The winners received a month’s supply of Wicked Fast Sports nutrition supplement products, a gift bag from Paul Mitchell, a voucher for free Rudy Project sunglasses or helmet, and free registration for an XTERRA event. All finishers received medals and a tech-t. Following the race, numerous prizes were raffled off to the crowd, including products from PowerBar, Wicked Fast Sports Nutrition, Rudy Project, and XTERRA.

The XTERRA Hideout Trail Run Series was the first of three events in the 2013 XTERRA Utah Trail Run Series. The next race in the series will be the XTERRA Moab Trail Run on Saturday, June 8. The series finale will be the XTERRA Wolf Mountain Trail Run on July 13. To register for a race in the series or to learn more about it, please visit www.utahxterra.com.

Georgia Series Closes Season with Fast Finish

Shechtman and McCurdy take top honors at Deep South 15K

A pair of fast finishers highlighted the finishing race of the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series last weekend. Matt Shechtman and Deanna McCurdy raced to impressive victories at the XTERRA Deep South Trail Run, which was completed on June 1 at Dauset Trails in Jackson, Georgia.

Matt ShechtmanShechtman was the overall winner, completing the 15-kilometer course in 58 minutes, 26 seconds.

“The course was great,” said Shechtman, who works as an attorney in Atlanta.  “Well-marked and fantastic trails for running with lots of rollers for fun accelerations. It was a bit warmer than I am used to and the humidity made it more difficult than most of the winter and spring racing. It’s that time of year, so the conditions were great for getting acclimated to the Southern summer climate.”

Shechtman said he took the lead within the first mile of the course, and stayed in front the rest of the way. Aaron Roseberry from Atlanta placed second in 59:43, and Evan Dare from Marietta was third in 1:03:34.

“The course was pretty well covered with greenery so you couldn’t see more than 30 seconds or so back and I didn’t know how close Aaron was until the finish,” Shechtman said.

McCurdy was an impressive fifth overall and first among all the females with a time of 1:04:56.

“The trails themselves had a mixture of rocks, roots, hills and a fun, fast, sandy flat stretch along a creek,” said McCurdy, who resides in Peachtree City. “The trail along the creek around mile 5 easily gave a false sense of confidence as to the ‘ease’ of the course.  Little did I know that soon after, a gradual 3-mile climb would make the legs question what I was making them do and I would laugh at myself later when I realized I waved hello to a deer I spotted at the top of a hill.”

Whitni McConnell from Athens placed second in 1:06:17, and Tara Gormley from Marietta was third in 1:06:36.

More than 300 runners participated in the event, which also included a 5K short course.

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It was a satisfying victory in more ways than one for McCurdy, who has been battling a hip injury for more than a year. She is also the founder and head coach of Team Miles for Smiles, a charity running
team that raises funding for research through the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (F.A.S.T.).

One of her daughters was diagnosed in 2009 with Angelman Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. “This past year has been challenging as my daughter is getting older and we are facing new obstacles to overcome, plus my own injuries and frustration with not being able to commit and train for a specific goal,” she said. “The XTERRA Deep South 15K, however, ignited a fire in me again.  It reminded me of how much I crave the freedom of the trails, digging deep, testing my own limits, and crossing the finish line, surrounded by people who love doing the same things I do.”

The Deep South Trail Run was the seventh – and final – event of the 2012-13 season for the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series. Interestingly enough, Shechtman and McCurdy discovered the Georgia Series late in the season.

For Shechtman, it was only his second XTERRA Trail Run. He won both of them. “I will definitely be back to more XTERRA races next season.  Now that I know there is a season points total and qualification for a nationals race, I think I have a good bit of motivation to run more of the series next year.”

For McCurdy, it was her first try at an XTERRA Trail Run event, though probably not her last. “I wish I attempted the XTERRA Georgia Trail Race Series before the final race of the season,” she said. “I have a craving to revisit the off-road triathons at XTERRA Clemson and Panther Creek again this summer, then jump back in to the XTERRA Trail Race Series this coming fall.”