Lee, Etherton win Rustman Challenge

The XTERRA Epic Rustman and the XTERRA Gator Terra combined to form the Rustman Challenge last weekend in Ruston, Louisiana.  A $1,000 prize purse was awarded based on the combined times of the two events.

The Epic combined a 1 mile swim / 30 Mile Bike and 10 mile run with the Gator Terra coming in at 1/2 mile Swim / 10 Mile bike / 3.35 mile Run.   Overall winners for the Challenge were:

Male:
1st Place    Andy Lee (Lakeway, TX) Total Time 5:21:42
2nd Place   Grayson Keppler (South Africa) Total Time  5:27.12
3rd Place    Kyle Grieser (Marble Falls, TX) Total Time  5:59:04

Female:
1st Place    Melanie Etherton (Austin, TX) Total Time 6:26:58
2nd Place   Brook Pace (Tallahasse FL) Total Time  6:38:33
3rd Place    Kristi Kees (Cedar Park, TX) Total Time  7:30:50
Andy LeeThe morning of the Epic started downright cool, with the air temp at 45 degrees and water a much warmer 71.  Grayson Keppler, a South African living and working in Texas, took the lead out of the water with the fasted swim of the day at 24:21 followed closely by Rob Spooner with 24:59.  Keppler, who won the XTERRA Camp Eagle points series race earlier this season, maintained the lead on the bike through T2.  However, the fleet of foot Andy Lee (pictured above and winner at XTERRA Bluebonnet in April) tracked him down on the run prior to mile three to take and hold the lead all the way to the tape.  It’s Lee’s second straight Epic Rustman win.

In the women’s race Brook Pace took a solid 2:30 lead out of the water with a 27:40, and held until approximately half way through the bike when Melanie Etherton took the lead and maintained to break the tape in 4:50:02.

The XTERRA Gator Terra the next morning had some fresh, and some tired legs at the finish line. The weather cooperated to a tee with sunshine and 55 degree temps at the start with the high during the race of 65.  From start to finish on the male side 22-year-old local Ben Hall (he lives in Ruston and this is his home course) took the lead and placed his stamp on the race with a new course record of 1:19:41.  Andy Lee and Grayson Keppler were only moments behind him.

The Women’s race came down to a separation of only a few seconds with Brook Pace taking the lead out of the water, Melanie Etherton rolling into T2 first and Brook posting the faster run to really press Melanie in the final half mile. In the end, Etherton crossed first in 1:36:56 with Pace hot on her heels at 1:37:18 to take second.

Epic Results / Gator Terra Results

XTERRA’s Sweet Home Alabama

While the West Champs in Vegas always serves as a nice early season reunion for the XTERRA Tribe, the Southeast Championship at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama next Saturday, May 18, is where the sport truly feels at home.

There is something about the lake, trails, trees, and rocks that scream XTERRA.  It’s Conrad Stoltz’ “happy place,” so much so that earlier this week he posted a picture of his bike leaning against a tree alongside the trail with the caption “this XTERRA Alabama course is like Heaven on Earth.”

Craig Evans feels the same way, and has notched his best races on these twisty trails, including last year’s runner-up performance when the race doubled as the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships.

Shonny VanlandinghamThose two, along with the U.S. return of Dan Hugo and perennial powerhouse Josiah Middaugh will make this men’s pro race worthy of the hype.  While Stoltz has dominated here with six straight wins since 2007 (Brent McMahon won the inaugural race in 2006), Hugo has finished second twice and so has Middaugh.

Speed will be on display past just the men’s race too as Lesley Paterson returns to Oak Mountain, where she won last year’s race, on an incredible hot streak spanning XTERRA, mountain bike races, and road triathlons.  This is a mountain biker’s course, however, so expect to see the likes of Melanie McQuaid and Shonny Vanlandingham (pictured) – each with two wins on this course – bridge the gap.

The age group race is set to be a sizzler as well with Mexico’s young gun Mauricio Mendez, who at just 18-years-old won the amateur title in Vegas where he was seventh overall, against SoCal’s Brandon Mills (a Paterson-coached prodigy).

In the women’s amateur division Melanie Etherton comes in hot having just won back-to-back races in Ruston – the Epic and Gator Terra titles.

2012 Highlight Video / Press Guide / Pro start lists

Note: Rank indicates their position in 2013 XTERRA U.S. Pro Series standings, NR = not ranked.

Rank – Men – Age, Hometown
1 – Josiah Middaugh – 34, Eagle-Vail, Colorado
2 – Conrad Stoltz – 39, Stellenbosch, South Africa
3 – Branden Rakita – 32, Colorado Springs, Colorado
6 – Craig Evans – 35, Hendersonville, Tennessee
7 – Jason Michalak – 35, Crested Butte, Colorado
8 – Matt Mangen – 30, Ivins, Utah
9 – Will Kelsay – 31, Boulder, Colorado
10 – Brian Astell – 32, Gualala, California
12 – Nick Fisher – 27, Ogden, Utah
15 – Damian Gonzalez – 36, Stockton, California
NR – Tom Eickelberg – 24, Cortland, New York
NR – Chris Ganter – 34, Boise, Idaho
NR – Dan Hugo – 27, Stellenbosch, South Africa
NR – James McCurdy – 28, Auburn, Alabama
NR – Will Ross – 23, Anchorage, Alaska
NR – Tim Snow – 37, Brockton, Massachussetts
NR – Cody Waite – 34, Lakewood, Colorado
NR – Bradley Weiss – 24, Cape Town, South Africa

Rank – Women – Age, Hometown
1 – Lesley Paterson – 32, San Diego, California
2 – Suzie Snyder – 31, Fredericksburg, Virginia
3 – Shonny Vanlandingham – 43, Durango, Colorado
4 – Melanie McQuaid – 39, Victoria, B.C., Canada
5 – Danelle Kabush – 37, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
7 – Emma Garrard – 30, Park City, Utah
11 – Brandi Heisterman – 37, Squamish, B.C., Canada
12 – Caroline Colonna – 48, Taos, New Mexico
14 – Christine Jeffrey – 40, Guelph, Ontario, Canada
NR – Chantell Widney – 32, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
NR – Katie Button – 28, Victoria, B.C., Canada
NR – Hallie Blunck – 28, Birmingham, Alabama
NR – Heather Holmes – 32, Atlanta, Georgia

Pocono Series is Underway for 2013

The ever-growing XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series started its 2013 season last weekend with the XTERRA Big Pocono Trail Run at Tannersville, Pennsylvania.

Big Pocono It was the first of five races in the series, and the next four will come up quickly. All of the races in the Pocono Series are scheduled in the months of May and June. The next race in the series will be the XTERRA Seven Tubs Trail Run at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on May 18.

To register for a race in the series, or learn more about it, please visit www.wilkesbarreracing.com.

Here is a recap of the Big Pocono Trail Run from race director Rich Pais:

The Wendy’s Pocono XTERRA  race series started with a record field of 57 runners from five states tackling 3.7 miles of rocky trails and steep inclines along the top of Camelback Mountain.  With a long winter and cold spring in the east, many runners still had some tender feet and ankles when they tackled the glaciated rocks atop the mountain.  James Ryan, the 2012 Big Pocono  and Pocono Series winner, pulled out of the race after two miles.  “My ankles took a pounding sprinting up and down those rocks” said Ryan. “I am saving myself for the Seven Tubs and the other races in the series.”

Because the course is “only” 3.7 miles, the speed and energy the runners carry is much greater than longer distance trail runs.  When you combine steep climbs, boulder fields, and open trails, the strategic challenges are significant.  However, the conditions were no problem for 44-year old trail run expert George Fair, who blistered the course in 24:12 beating Ryan’s 2012 time by almost 2:00 minutes.  “That’s a great course for me, I love the steeps and climbing,” Fair said.  Jackie Shokey was the first female across the tape in 31:01.  Jackie won last year’s race in 31:04 and also won the Pocono Series.

There were five rookie trail runners in the race including 43-year-old Jennifer Mayo.  “I had no idea what to expect.  And to tell the truth I was a little intimidated.  But this is sooo much fun I am definitely signing up for all the races in the series,” said Mayo.

“In fact,” said Rich Pais, Race Director for the Pocono Series,  “we have had seven people who raced today sign up for all five races in the series.”  The Pocono Series offers runners a chance to sign up for all five races for the discount price of $100.

The next race in the series is the Seven Tubs.  “The shortest and most challenging in the series” says Pais.  “Six stream crossings, two of the steepest climbs anywhere in the east and a thundering downhill along a roaring stream. This is the favorite course in the series for most local runners”

Familiar Faces Win Florida Finale

The 2013 XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series came to a close with a familiar finish last month. Eric Koenig and Jessica Wagner capped their perfect seasons by taking top honors at the XTERRA Claw Trail Run on April 28 at Lithia, Florida.

Claw TapeThe XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series featured three races during the season, and Koenig and Wagner were the first overall runners at each race.

“I think the key to my success in the Florida trail series has been running relatively high mileage weeks, doing long and frequent runs on local and regional trails throughout the year, training on or near the trails where the races took place, having a lot of race experience, and confidence,” Koenig said.

Wagner said of her success: “I think taking each run seriously by preparing my mind and body a few days before, running as hard as I could each day and I am very competitive!”

The Claw Trail Run featured more than 370 runners at Alafia State Park in Lithia, Florida. Koenig was the first overall finisher, completing the 10-mile course in 1 hour, 12 minutes, 3 seconds.

“We had great weather for the race – it was mid-60s to low-70s, crisp and sunny,” Koenig said. “The course, on the other hand, was tough! About four to five miles of the course wound off-trail. It was definitely the most challenging 10 mile race I’ve done.”

Koenig said the course offered several steep climbs and descents, and he fell on his chest during one of the steep downhills. Adding to the challenge, he said there were several sections of the course that traversed into overgrown brush, swamp forest, and fields of tall grass.

He took the lead after the first two miles of the course, and stayed in front the rest of the way. Todd Lytle took second with a time of 1:17:14, and Zvonko Smlatic was third in 1:18:32.

Wagner was the first overall female with a time of 1:25:55. No other women were even close, as Wagner  finished more than 12 minutes ahead of the other top females.

“The course was amazing, fun and not very forgiving to say the least.. what a challenge!” she said. “There was not a dull moment in the course, and it was a beautiful morning for a run in the woods.”

Just like Koenig, Wagner said she fell during the race and suffered cuts and bruises on her legs. She also finished the race with blisters on her feet.

“The stream crossing at the beginning felt great at the time, cooling me down,” she said. “However, having wet shoes, I developed blisters on my arches and was in severe pain from about mile 3 until the end.  I contemplated quitting several times, but I just had to finish and endure the pain since I had finished so well in the last two XTERRA races.”

CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS

XTERRA World Tour Adventures

With the month of May upon us the first third of the XTERRA World Tour season is in the books, and oh what a colorful ride it has been.  Here are some of the highlights from the eight XTERRA majors that took place in South Africa and the Asia-Pacific region from February through April.

The season started traditionally in the southwestern tip of South Africa, home to the sports biggest stars like Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz, and biggest turnouts – with some 2,000 triathletes taking to the trails.

Richard MurrayThe epic celebration served as a poignant reminder to cherish each day, as the worldwide endurance sports community mourned the passing of legendary South African mountain biker Burry Stander who lost his life on the roads while riding his bike in January.  The Burry Stander Foundation was formed to leave a legacy for Stander by bringing about lasting change to save lives – a worthy pursuit.

The race itself revealed another ringer from SA, Olympian Richard Murray who proved he has more than just a big engine – he’s got mountain bike skills to boot. While Stoltz’ stamped his mark on the bike, Murray ran away with the title and will be a force to be reckoned with at XTERRA Worlds in Maui.

February faded into a March to remember for Aussie sensation Ben Allen, who won the Triple Crown of the Western Pacific with consecutive victories at XTERRA Philippines, Saipan, and Guam.

In Cebu, where thousands line the bike and run courses to cheer on competitors, Lesley Paterson gave them something to shout about, finishing third overall behind only Allen and Dan Hugo.

“Just finished THE most epic XTERRA ever. Seriously hard core, like nothing I’ve ever experienced,” said Paterson after the race.

Hard core is a good word to describe Paterson too, as the two-time XTERRA World Champ has started 2013 where she left 2012, absolutely on fire.  She won the XTERRA West Championship in April by a landslide (was 4th overall) and has sprinkled in a pair of eyebrow-raising mountain bike race wins as well, taking down Olympians and World Cup riders at the Bonelli Park Pro XTC and last weekend’s Whiskey Off-Road 50-miler in Arizona.

Jacqui Slack“I’ve been having so much fun this year,” she said. “I’m feeling really healthy, been working my butt off, waking up at 4:30 and putting the time in, so nice to see it pay off.  And, my bike has really improved … just being strong, consistent, and not playing scared.”

Jacqui Slack can identify with that, as her off-season training paid off with back-to-back wins at XTERRA Saipan and Guam.  For Slack, it was confirmation that her podium finish at last year’s XTERRA Worlds was no fluke and more than that – a return on her investment to embrace a life of adventure.

“These races are the most extreme triathlons I’ve ever done,” said Slack about the Triple Crown events. “Everyone comes back with a story, and these are the races you remember for that reason.  I encourage everyone to give them a try, it’ll be the best race/holiday/life experience you’ve ever had.”

One of the most visual displays of the XTERRA spirit took place about an hour before XTERRA Guam this year as the entire field got their groove on in a downright hilarious rendition of the Harlem Shake, yet another reason why XTERRA has gained a reputation for being “a super fun event.”

Speaking of fun, March also featured Motatapu on the South Island of New Zealand, which held a Maui qualifier for the second straight year at one of the most visually stunning locations for any race in the world.

“It’s insanely beautiful, I can’t even describe how killer it is in Motatapu,” said XTERRA Hall of Famer Jamie Whitmore, who was there competing with thousands of others in the mountain bike events that join the XTERRA in one huge festival of racing.

As April rolled around the XTERRA Tribe greeted its return to Oz at the beautiful and charming coastal town of Anglesea along the Great Ocean Road.  Home country hero and two-time Olympian Courtney Atkinson broke up Allen’s winning streak, and like Murray in New Zealand, has happily set his sights on a trip to Maui for XTERRA’s biggest day.

Australia sparked a new winning streak as well with Renata Bucher taking her first of three championships in the month.  The remarkable resurgence of Bucher – one of XTERRA’s true greats with 32 major victories in 16 countries around the world – is a sign that all is good in the sport.

“Traveling the world with XTERRA has been a blessing for me,” said Bucher. “I’ve met so many wonderful people, and had the opportunity to discover such great places and neat cultures. It’s a dream for me to do this, and to win is very special – I know I won’t always be the one.”

The one race that repeatedly receives rave reviews from participants is XTERRA New Zealand in Rotorua.  The entire community is involved in the event, and works on perfecting the trails year-round.

“It’s an off-road paradise.  The only problem is it’s really hard to get enough rest before the race because the trails are so stunning it’s hard to stop riding and riding and riding,” said Bucher.

In the U.S. Josiah Middaugh won the perpetual duel in the desert against Stoltz at the XTERRA West Championship, while a pair of 17-year-old age-group phenoms, Hannah Rae Finchamp from California and Mauricio Mendez from Mexico, finished sixth overall in the men’s/women’s races.

And just this past weekend saw the first XTERRA Malaysia race in Putrajaya which featured one of the most spectacular and diverse courses on the XTERRA Planet.  A full compliment of XTERRA pros made the trip, and all came away with the same thought.

“It’s a phenomenal location, and a really, really fun course. I can’t say enough about the organization, they didn’t hold back on anything. It was super entertaining, and the culture shines through here – very courteous, warm people,” said Hugo, who finished second for the fifth time this season.

Ben AllenAt every stop a cast of talented age group competitors earned their spot on the starting line for the 18th annual XTERRA World Championship in Maui, and a new breed of XTERRA Warriors were born.

For Allen, who raced in eight events (won six) in eight countries over the last nine weeks, it’s a time for rest and reflection with a trip to his girlfriend’s Jacqui Slack’s hometown in the U.K. (where she hadn’t been since September).

“I feel relieved, but in a good way,” said Allen. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the journey.  Having the opportunity to travel and explore, and to meet so many great people along the way, it’s left a permanent smile upon my face, and I can’t wait to do it again next year.”

First, however, Allen will help get the second season started at the XTERRA European Tour season opener in Cieza, Spain on June 2.

There are still more than a dozen World Tour events left this season, and your chance to embrace the sports’ motto and “Live More”.

2013 XTERRA World Tour Pro Winners (link to images)

Feb 24 XTERRA South Africa Championship (Grabouw)
– Richard Murray and Carla Van Huyssteen

March 2 XTERRA Philippines Championship (Cebu)
– Ben Allen and Lesley Paterson

March 9 XTERRA Motatapu (South Island, New Zealand)
– Braden Currie and Nicky Samuels

March 9 XTERRA Saipan Championship (Northern Marianas)
– Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack

March 23 XTERRA Guam Championship (Piti)
– Ben Allen and Jacqui Slack

April 7 XTERRA Great Ocean Road (Angelsea, Victoria)
– Courtney Atkinson and Renata Bucher

April 13 XTERRA New Zealand Championship (Rotorua)
– Ben Allen and Renata Bucher

April 28 XTERRA Malaysia (Putrajaya)
– Ben Allen and Renata Bucher

June 2 XTERRA Spain Championship+ (Cieza, Murcia)

June 15 XTERRA Greece+ (Lake Plastira)

June 22  XTERRA Brazil Championship (Ilhabela, Sao Paulo)

June 29  XTERRA Switzerland Championship+ (Vallee de Joux)

July 7 XTERRA France Championship+ (Xonrupt, Gerardmer)

July 14 XTERRA Victoria (Vancouver Island, BC, Canada)

July 20 XTERRA Abruzzo+ (Scanno, L’Aquila, Italy)

Aug 3 XTERRA Mexico Championship (Tapalpa, Jalisco)

Aug 4 XTERRA Canmore, (Alberta, Canada)

Aug 10 XTERRA Czech Championship+ (Prachatice)

Aug 17  XTERRA Germany Championship+ (Zittau)

Aug 24  XTERRA Japan Championship (Marunuma)

Aug 31 XTERRA Ecuador (Imbabura)

Sept 8  XTERRA England+ (Cranleigh, Surrey)

Sept 21 XTERRA USA Championship (Ogden/Snowbasin, UT)

Oct 27 XTERRA World Championship (Maui, Hawaii)

Next Major Takes XTERRA Back to Bama

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 eighth straight year on May 18-19.

Lesley PatersonThe 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, 10k off-road run.

“This course is amazing, we love it here,” says four-time XTERRA World Champion Conrad Stoltz. “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 21.  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 mud runs as well as half-and-full marathon distance trail runs.  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.”

Richmond Trail Run is Open to Runners of All Ages

June 8 race will feature adventurous 21K and 10K courses

The XTERRA Richmond Trail Run has long been considered one of the most popular races on the entire XTERRA Trail Run circuit, and with good reason.

Ryan MiddletonA fun and challenging course, a festive summer crowd, and the city of Richmond itself all add up to make for a unique experience for all runners in the event.

This year’s XTERRA Richmond Trail Run is scheduled for June 8, and as always, it is open to runners of all ages and skill levels, from all states. The event will feature two courses – a 21-kilometer long course and a 10K course. Both courses start at Brown’s Island and weave through various landmarks, both man-made and natural, in and around the historic city of Richmond, Virginia.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER ONLINE

“XTERRA is a great brand, and Richmond is fortunate to host such an event,” said Ryan Middleton, who won last year’s 21-kilometer long course. “Brown’s Island and Belle Isle are definitely popular places to be in Richmond during the summer. The location and timing of the event are perfect.”

Middleton said the 21K course is unique because it starts out on paved road, and then takes runners on a non-stop adventure that includes river crossings, boulder climbing, bridge crossings, and forest trails.

“The most memorable part of the course for me are the ‘Mayan Ruins’ stairway,” he said. “This is a brutal climb that is so steep that you are almost crawling to the top. The heart rate shoots through the roof at this point. It is definitely tough to recover from this portion.”

Middleton said the 21K course may be a bit tough for beginners, but the 10K course is doable for most runners. There is actually a section of the trail where the 21K and 10K courses overlap.

“The top 21K runners will be required to maneuver around some of the 10K runners,” he warned. “I would urge everyone to use common courtesy. Let a runner know that you are coming up behind them, and those that are asked to step aside should allow room to pass, and please do so quickly and politely.”

The top age-group runners from the 21K course will receive free entries to the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Hawaii in November.

The XTERRA Richmond Trail Run is held in conjunction with the XTERRA East Championship off-road triathlon, so many of the world’s best endurance athletes will be in the Richmond area for the weekend of June 8-9.

Beck, Kersey Take Top Honors at Fairy Stone

Breakthrough victories for both runners in Virginia Series

It was all about firsts at the inaugural XTERRA Fairy Stone Trail Run last weekend.

Bryn Beck and Jessica Kersey earned their first career victories at the event, which was completed on April 27 at Stuart, Virginia.

Beck, 34, completed the 8-mile course in 56 minutes, 39 seconds, to run away with the overall victory. Kersey, 20, finished in 1:07:55 to take top honors in the women’s division.

“This was my first overall win – such a great feeling!” Beck said.

Beck took the lead midway through the course, and stayed in front the rest of the way. “I was afraid that I had gone out too fast and that someone was closing the distance, but that fueled me to really push hard.”

Jessica KerseyBeck, who works at an outdoor gear and clothing company in Virginia, described the conditions as “a beautiful morning to be running in the forest.”

Clark Jackson, 56, placed second with a time of 1:00:16. He kept pace with Beck for the first half of the race, but lost ground after he struggled with one of the stream crossings. “One of my learning moments was to just run in the creek rather than try to avoid the water and falling,” Jackson said.

Kersey (pictured) placed fifth overall, and surprised herself by finishing first among the females. It was not only her first overall victory, but her first time entering a trail run.

“I finished second overall in a 10K last month, but this is the first trail run I have ever run,” she said. “I enjoyed it more than the road races.”

Kersey is a student at Virginia Tech, and she ran the entire course alongside her boyfriend, Brad Atkins. She was credited with finishing one second ahead of Atkins.

“We ran the course together, and since he lets me set the pace I must have ended up a step or two ahead of him,” she said.

The XTERRA Fairy Stone Trail Run also featured a 4.7-mile “short” course. Landon Nowlin and Anita Nemick were the overall winners for the short course.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS

The Fairy Stone Trail Run was the second of three races in the 2013 XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series. The series finale will be the XTERRA Richmond Trail Run on June 8 at Richmond, Virginia. To learn more about it, please visit www.xterratrailrun.com.

Allen, Bucher win XTERRA Malaysia

Image Gallery / Complete Results

Putrajaya, Malaysia –  Ben Allen and Renata Bucher capped off two months of pure adventure in the Asia-Pacific Region with exclamation point victories at XTERRA Malaysia in Putrajaya this morning.

For Allen, it’s his fifth XTERRA World Tour win of the season and for Bucher, her third straight XTERRA championship win in the month of April and 32nd in her career.

Ben AllenIn the men’s race it was Allen from wire-to-wire as he posted the fastest swim by a minute, the fastest bike by 37 seconds, and the quickest run by two seconds to break the tape in 2:28:31.  It wasn’t nearly as lop-sided as the stats might make it sound, however, as Dan Hugo bridged the gap on the bike and made a strong push early on the run to make things interesting.

What makes the victory all the more impressive for Allen is his recent schedule that included eight races in eight countries in nine weeks (Easter off) starting with XTERRA Philippines on March 2nd, then Saipan, Tagaman, Guam, Australia, New Zealand, and an iron-distance road tri in Thailand last weekend that combined a 4km swim, with a 122km bike and 30km run (where he finished 2nd to Courtney Atkinson).

“Mental strength was a massive factor today,” said Allen.  “I laid it all on the line, and had absolutely nothing left at the finish line. I’m so spent I can hardly lift my legs to get up the stairs, and am hurting more from this race than Samui.”

Part of that hurt was in response to the valiant effort put forth by Hugo, who remarkably has finished 2nd now at 12 of his last 13 XTERRA races since winning the South Africa title in 2011.

“Full respect to Ben, I got a visual on him during the run but he was able to dig out what he needed,” said Hugo, who wore a CamelBak for the first time and took in all two liters to get him through a hot, humid and taxing bike course.  “I felt amazing coming off the bike, but then the second lap went from striding to shuffling, and into full survival mode. My body was hurting, my skin was tingling, and as much as I was hoping he might come undone – he didn’t.”

From a pure visual perspective Hugo did indeed look the stronger of the two on the first lap of the run, but when push came to shove it was Allen who carried it through.

“I thought Dan was going to get me too, and was running scared that last lap,” said Allen.  “Just hung tough as long as I could, stayed positive and pushed on.  I was thinking ‘out of sight out of mind’ so just pushed to the next corner to get out of sight, over and over.  More than anything today was just a great mental challenge, getting through the hot, humid conditions when your body is saying no more. And I love racing against Dan, it’s awesome going head-to-head like that with him.  He’s such an inspiring athlete and a good guy.”

It was truly a two-man race today, as proof Shahrom Abdullah finished 20 minutes back in third.  It was a sight to behold nonetheless to watch Abdullah, who is from just up the road in Kuala Lumpur, come through the finish line to the adoration of the Malaysia crowd.

Sam Gardner, the former XTERRA Saipan, Japan, and Philippines Champion, did all he could to make it a three-way struggle up front but his chain repeatedly got jammed forcing him to stop and fix.  He still finished with the third best bike split, but then “limped round the run in pain” and finished fourth pro male.  It’s his fourth straight top four finish this season, and still worthy of a celebration – something he plans to do starting at midnight here in Malaysia when he turns 38-years-old.

Despite the struggles Gardner and all involved praised the course and the organization.

“It was a fantastic event. The swim was superb, course was unreal, and there were loads of volunteers. First-class all the way,” said Allen.

“So much fine detail, I can’t say enough of the organization and tourism board. Massive amount of vollies, impeccable signage, they didn’t hold back on anything and went the extra yard wherever they could.  It’s a phenomenal location, and a really, really fun course.  When the race started the moon was visible and we hit the sunrise perfectly to see the city scape.  The water was like a pool, glassy with lane rope, and the bike was almost Richmond-like, a fun mix of everything and never a straight line.  It was super entertaining, and the culture shows through here, very courteous, warm people.” said Hugo.

Pro Men

 

Pl Name Swim Bike Run Time
1 Ben Allen, AUS 17:55 1:24:37 45:59 2:28:31
2 Dan Hugo, RSA 18:54 1:25:14 46:01 2:30:09
3 Shahrom Abdullah, MAS 26:34 1:33:49 50:07 2:50:30
4 Sam Gardner, GBR 20:54 1:32:27 1:01:33 2:54:54
5 Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN 23:00 1:51:45 1:54:09 4:11:50

BUCHER GOT A NEW NICKNAME

She’s been called the “Swiss Miss” and the “Swiss Rocket” but today she’s just “Mrs. April”. Three races, three wins in April (Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia) and on track to have another stellar year of XTERRA racing.

Renata BucherJacqui Slack struck first with her trademark speedy swim, coming out of the water nearly two minutes ahead of Bucher, Peri Gray, and Mieko Carey.  The XTERRA Saipan and Guam champ held the lead until the end of the first lap when she got the first of two flats.

“I was going well, riding aggressive when I got the first one,” said Slack.  “Got it fixed and was still racing hard and in second position when I got the next one.  A fellow racer (Michal Bucek from Hong Kong) stopped and helped me with that one but everyone had passed by then.”

After Bucher took the lead there was no looking back as she blitzed the fastest bike and run splits to finish fourth overall in 2:52:17, more than 15 minutes ahead of Mieko Carey in second.

“I saw Jacqui with her flat on the first lap, and it’s a pity because I think it would have been a really close race,” said Bucher.  “I felt good today though, and was happy with my swim, my run felt good, and I’m really excited because my training has gone well and everything is coming together.  It’s very special for me to win a race like this.”

For Carey, it’s a birthday to remember.  The Guam resident (who we affectionately report is from Japan but represents Saipan) turned 35 on Saturday but couldn’t celebrate as she’d normally do because of the race, got the present of 2nd place.

“I love Malaysia, and always happy to be around my XTERRA family and celebrate with friends from all over the world,” said Carey.

Like the men, the women were quick to praise the course and organization.

“Lived it, loved it. Thank you to XTERRA Malaysia today, amazingly organized and executed by Dave (Race Director Dave Spence) and his team of wonderful smiley volunteers,” posted Daz Parker to facebook moments after she crossed the line.

“So warm and welcoming, great course and wonderful people,” said Renata Bucher.

Pro Women

 

Pl Name Swim Bike Run Time
1 Renata Bucher, SUI 21:48 1:36:44 53:45 2:52:17
2 Mieko Carey, JPN 21:56 1:46:12 59:08 3:07:16
3 Daz Parker, GBR 24:36 1:44:38 1:00:06 3:09:20
4 Jacqui Slack, GBR 19:55 1:53:28 58:53 3:12:16
5 Carina Wasle, AUT 22:36 1:42:36 1:06:48 3:14:01
6 Peri Gray, AUS 21:51 1:59:16 56:59:00 3:19:55

In the amateur race Saiful Kho Bin Abdul Halim and Louise Donaldson won the age group overall titles and all the age group winners earned a spot in the XTERRA World Championship by virtue of their performance today.

For all involved it was a spectacular event.  The natural landscape in Putrajaya is one of pure adventure, and the mix of epic singletrack switchbacks and the most diverse, remarkable run course imaginable combined for an instant classic. With an awe-inspiring host hotel at the Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside, superb organization, and so much to see and experience in the immediate and surrounding areas XTERRA Malaysia in Putrajaya is sure to become a World Tour stable.

Next on the XTERRA World Tour: XTERRA Malaysia was the eighth World Tour event to qualify amateur athletes into the XTERRA World Championship to be held in Kapalua, Maui on October 27, 2013.  Next up, XTERRA Spain kicks off the European Tour on June 2.

Date – Race, Location
Feb 24 –  XTERRA South Africa Championship, Western Cape
Mar 2 – XTERRA Philippines Championship, Cebu
Mar 9 – XTERRA Motatapu, South Island, New Zealand
Mar 9 – XTERRA Saipan Championship, Northern Marianas
Mar 23 – XTERRA Guam Championship, Piti
Apr 7 – XTERRA Great Ocean Road, Anglesea, Victoria, Australia
Apr 13 – XTERRA New Zealand Championship, Rotorua
Apr 28 – XTERRA Malaysia Championhip, Putrajaya
June 2 – XTERRA Spain Championship, Cieza, Murcia
June 15 – XTERRA Greece, Lake Plastira
June 22 – XTERRA Brazil Championship, Ilhabela, SP
June 29 – XTERRA Switzerland Championship, Vallee de Joux
July 7 – XTERRA France Championship, Xonrupt, Gerardmer
July 20 – XTERRA Abruzzo, Lago di Scanno, Italy
Aug 3 – XTERRA Mexico Championship, Tapalpa, Jalisco
Aug 10 – XTERRA Czech Championship, Prachatice
Aug 17 – XTERRA Germany Championship, Zittau
Aug 24 – XTERRA Japan Championship, Marunuma
Sept 8 – XTERRA England, Cranleigh, Surrey
Sept 21 – XTERRA USA Championship, Ogden/Snowbasin, UT
Oct 27 – XTERRA World Championship, Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii