Johnson and Houchin Prevail at Oak Mountain Trail Run

Runners from 14 states participate in Alabama Series race No. 4

Erik Johnson and Mary Houchin proved their worth as elite runners at the XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Run on November 10.

Alabama SeriesMore than 320 runners from 14 different states participated in the event, which was staged at the award-winning Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama.

The runner who traveled the farthest ended up running the fastest. Johnson, who resides in Seward, Alaska, placed first overall for the 21-kilometer half-marathon course. He finished in 1:29:36, which was nearly two minutes ahead of the rest of the field.

“The course started with close to a mile on the road but then transitioned to single track mountain bike trails, with lots of twisting zig-zagging turns,” Johnson said. “There was some gain in elevation in the run in the later stages of the race, but it was all run-able and easy grades. Overall the condition of the course was smooth with good footing.”

Johnson and Ieden Leckenby from Hoover, Alabama, broke away from the other runners early, and then Johnson got in front by himself after the first few miles. “I was running hard for the first five miles, then I backed off a bit since I wasn’t going to be challenged,” Johnson said.

Johnson is considered one of the top distance runners in Alaska, and he happened to be on a trip to the East Coast when he saw that the XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Run might fit into his trip.

Leckenby placed second in 1:31:14, and David Olsen from Birmingham was third in 1:37:35.

Houchin was an impressive sixth overall and first among the females. Her finishing time of 1:40:49 was nearly 15 minutes ahead of the other females.

Then again, Houchin has an impressive running resume that includes experience with Team USA at the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. She is also a former standout runner for the Arizona State track and cross country teams. She currently serves as a volunteer assistant coach for the University of Alabama at Birmingham track and cross country teams.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS

The event also featured a 10K course and a 5K course. Overall winners for the 10K were Jason Gerard and Katie Metcalf; overall winners for the 5K were Dillon O’Hare and Mary Posser.

The XTERRA Oak Mountain was the fourth of seven events in the 2013-14 season for the XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series. The next race will be the XTERRA Coldwater Mountain Trail Run on November 30 at Anniston, Alabama.

To register for a race in the series or to learn more about it, please visitwww.dirtyspokes.com.

Florida Series is Underway for 2013-14 Season

Patterson and Martine earn breakthrough wins at Wild Horse Trail Run

The XTERRA Wild Horse Trail Run on November 3 was all about firsts. It was the first event of the 2013-14 season for the XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series, and it produced a couple of first-time winners.

Close to 300 runners participated in the event, which was held at the Keith Waller and Sydney Dover Parks in Tampa, Florida.

Jimmy PattersonJimmy Patterson, a student at Florida Gulf Coast University, was the overall winner of the 21-kilometer half-marathon course. He finished with a time of 1 hour, 41 minutes, 25 seconds, which was more than a minute faster than the other top runners.

Patterson has been entering XTERRA Florida Trail Run races for the past three years, and he has had previous success in his age group, but this was his first overall victory. “I was excited!” he said. “This was the first time I had ever won a half-marathon and an XTERRA race.  I have placed first in my age group before but never overall.”

Patterson took the lead midway through the course and stayed in front the rest of the way. “It helped a lot having run this course before,” he said. “I knew what was coming so I knew when to push and when to save my energy during certain parts of the race.”

The one unexpected obstacle was a waist-deep stream crossing in the first mile of the course. In past years, the stream was ankle-deep. Patterson said he almost went face-first into the water because he didn’t realize how deep it was.

Patterson is 20, and the next four runners behind them were all in their 40s. Hector Guzman (45) placed second in 1:43:59, followed by Zvonko Smlatic (49) in 1:46:14, Chris Wedge (42) in 1:47:55, and Jay Chancellor (41) in 1:49:41.

Tara Martine from Wilmington, North Carolina, placed eighth overall and was the first female. It was not only her first overall victory, but her first XTERRA Trail Run experience.

“The course was awesome!” she said. “It was very challenging and full of surprises like river crossings and hills so steep you had to use a rope tied to a tree at the top to pull yourself up!  It had rained all day the previous day, which made for tough conditions on the more technical portions of the trail.  There were certain sections that were so slippery and precarious that I was pretty much on my hands and knees grappling up some of the steeper hills!  The course threw more at me than I was expecting, but I had a total blast!”

Martine is 31 and works as a registered dietician. She happened to be in Tampa on a business trip during the week of the race and decided to try it. “I really love running on trails and after this experience I’ll definitely be looking to sign up for more XTERRA events in the future!” she said.

Martine broke away from the other women early in the course, and kept pace with some of the top men throughout. Her finishing time of 1:50:55 was almost eight minutes ahead of the next female.

Keira D’Amato placed second in 1:58:30, and Lauren Deady was third in 2:01:23.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS

The event actually featured four different courses to accommodate the various levels of runners. The winners from the other courses were: Sean Black and Laura Fulk for the 10 mile; Todd Carpenter and Jessica Wright for the 10K; Freddie Valdes and April Olson for the 4 mile.

The XTERRA Wild Horse Trail Run was the first of three races in the 2013-14 season for the XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series. The next event in the Florida Series will be the XTERRA Trout Creek Trail Run on March 23, 2014.

To register for a race in the Florida Series or to learn more about it, please visitwww.tamparaces.com.

Contenders Aplenty at 2013 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship

November 24 race will feature current and former champions

The 2013 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship will feature defending world champions, former world champions, a new national champ, former national champs, and numerous other runners with international experience.

XTERRA Trail Run Worlds StartIn essence, it will be the deepest field of title contenders in the six-year history of the event.

This year’s race is scheduled for November 24, and it will once again be staged at the picturesque Kualoa Ranch in Hawaii. More than 2,000 runners from around the world will gather for the race on the ranch, and the list of elite runners in the field is an impressive one.

Among the men’s contenders:

  • Joseph Gray from Washington is the returning co-champion. He and Ben Bruce crossed the finish line simultaneously last year and were declared co-champs. Bruce is not in the race this year due to a scheduling conflict. Gray has sustained his success in 2013, including a runner-up showing at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Utah, and a seventh-place finish at the World Mountain Running Championship at Poland.
  • Max King from Oregon is the runner most associated with XTERRA Trail Run success. He won the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. He skipped it last year for the birth of his daughter. He was slowed by an ankle injury in recent months, but said it is now at “95 percent and feeling good.”
  • Patrick Smyth from Utah will be making his debut at Kualoa Ranch after bursting onto the XTERRA Trail Run scene two months ago. He won the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in his home state of Utah in September, finishing ahead of such stalwarts as Gray and King. He was invited to join the Nike Trail Team after that victory. This will be his first time racing in the heat and humidity of Hawaii, and only the second trail run race of his career. Most of his previous success has come in road and track races.
  • Willie Schefer from Maui, Hawaii, placed fifth overall at last year’s XTERRA Trail Run World Championship. It was his first try at the Kualoa Ranch course, and that year under his belt should help this year. He was introduced to trail running on the island of Maui a year ago, and said he has been training on trails throughout 2013. He is a two-time winner of the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs 10K on his home island of Maui.
  • Nathan Carlson from Honolulu, Hawaii, has emerged as one of the top trail runners on the island of Oahu. He recently won the XTERRA Gunstock Ranch Trail Run 21K – which was staged only a few miles away from Kualoa Ranch – by a whopping 12-minute margin.
  • Nathan Peters from Salt Lake City will be making his debut at Kualoa Ranch after a fifth-place overall showing at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in his home state of Utah. Earlier this year, he won the Skyline Marathon in Utah, and established a new course record.
  • Matthew Battley is only 19, but he has already established himself as the top trail runner in the XTERRA New Zealand Trail Run circuit. He placed first overall at the XTERRA Rotorua Festival 21K, and then second overall at the XTERRA Trail Challenge Waihi 21K.
  • Roberto Mandje from Boulder, Colorado, placed seventh overall at last year’s XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, and is focused on improving his standing this year. He entered several XTERRA Trail Run events across America in 2013, and won the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas 21K and the XTERRA Cheyenne Mountain Trail Run 12K. He also placed second overall at the XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Run 20K and the XTERRA Beaver Creek Trail Run 10K.

Several other dark horse contenders could emerge, as there are runners from 10 countries and 36 different states in the field.

“It takes a little bit of everything,” Max King said of what it takes to be successful at Kualoa Ranch. “Strong technical skills are a must, but parts of the course also require a high level of speed as well. The biggest thing that I’ve noticed is that the significant hill at mile 9 really wipes people out. Climbing ability is important from the gun, but having climbing endurance in this race is even more important.”

The women’s field is just as deep this year, with a handful of contenders looking to chase down the title. Among the female contenders:

  • Lucy Smith from Canada is the defending champion who is returning to Kualoa Ranch for the third consecutive year. She placed second overall in 2011, then took the championship last year by an impressive two-minute margin. She was 45 when she won the race last year, becoming the oldest runner – male or female – to win the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship.
  • Polina Babkina placed third last year, but was leading the race until she took a wrong turn midway through the course. A week after last year’s race at Kualoa Ranch, she ran in the Honolulu Marathon and was the top female finisher from Hawaii. In October of this year, she was the top female finisher (and finished behind only one male runner) at the XTERRA Gunstock Trail Run 21K. She is originally from Russia, but now resides in Honolulu.
  • Meggan Franks from Canada will be making her debut at Kualoa Ranch, almost by accident. She found out her father was taking a vacation in Hawaii, and she and other members of the family decided to join in. She was the first overall female at the 2013 Canadian Mountain & Trail Running Championships in June. She was also one of four women selected to the 2013 Canadian Mountain Running Team that participated in the 2013 World Mountain Running Championships at Poland.
  • Samantha McGlone from Arizona is best known as one of the world’s best triathletes during the decade of the 2000s, and that alone makes her a serious contender in any endurance event. She represented Canada in the triathlon at the 2004 Olympics and was the women’s runner-up at the 2007 Ironman World Championship triathlon. This will be her first appearance at the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, though she did place first overall at the XTERRA Freedom Fest Trail Run 10K at Kualoa Ranch earlier this year.
  • Rose Wetzel from Washington will be making her debut at Kualoa Ranch, and she will bring an impressive track resume with her. She took first place in the women’s 5000-meter run and 800-meter run at the USATF National Club Track and Field Championships at New York in June of this year.

The elite runners will be competing for $10,000 in prize money, including $2,000 each to the men’s and women’s winners.

However, the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship is a race for all runners, and numerous others will be competing for age-group titles. Every male and female age-group champion from the 21K championship course is considered an XTERRA Trail Run World Champion.

Returning age-group world champs from 2012 include: Jakob Dewald (men 15-19), Polina Babkina (women 20-24), Willie Schefer (men 20-24), Joseph Gray (men 25-29), Lucy Smith (women 45-49), Keith Rieger (men 45-49), Raymond Brust (men 50-54), Nozomi Wade (women 55-59), Edward Bugarin (men 60-64), Lee Saltonstall (women 65-69), Jon Lyon (men 65-69), and Roger Kemppel (men 70-74).

There is no qualifying process to enter the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, so the field will include a unique mix of experienced and inexperienced XTERRA Trail Run competitors. The event also serves as an introductory trail run event for runners, as there are 5K and 10K races for those who may not feel ready for the half-marathon course.

King Returns to Hawaii in Search of XTERRA Crown

Four-time former world champ skipped last year’s race

If all goes well for Max King on his trip to Hawaii later this month, it will be part reclamation, part redemption, and part vacation.

Max KingThe 33-year-old is on a mission to regain the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship crown, and redeem himself for an uncharacteristic race in Utah back in September.

The XTERRA Trail Run World Championship is scheduled for November 24 at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, and King is returning to the 21-kilometer race this year after skipping it last year for the birth of his daughter. He won the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

“The scenery of the course easily stands out as one of the main draws to the Kualoa course,” said King, who resides in Bend, Oregon. “Not only that, but it’s a challenging half-marathon that still requires a good amount of speed training to do well. It’s got everything a good trail race should have. The climb at mile 9 is the one challenge of the course that usually decides the outcome. It can make or break a race, so good hill training is essential.”

King had to condense his training for this event due to a recent ankle injury. Following an atypical 11th place finish at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Ogden, Utah, he took some time off to allow his ankle to heal.

“It’s not yet at 100 percent, but I would say 95 percent and it’s feeling good,” King said. “The loss in Utah definitely stung, but I had to write it off to injury and be realistic about my fitness at that point. Just turned out I was in a lot worse shape than I expected.”

Regardless of how King does at Kualoa Ranch on November 24, he said he will take some time to enjoy the sights and attractions that only Hawaii can offer while on his trip.

“I absolutely take some time each trip to do a little sightseeing,” he said. “I have enough to write a travel book. Last time I was there, I took a little trip up the coast from Kualoa Ranch to stop at a local shrimp truck, then ducked into a jungle trail for a second run. I’ve been there four years, and still finding new trails to run.”

In King’s absence last year, Joseph Gray from Washington and Ben Bruce from Arizona crossed the finish line simultaneously and were declared co-champions. Gray has committed to return this year, while Bruce is still trying to confirm plans to return.

Lucy Smith from Canada took last year’s women’s title, and she will be back to defend her title.

Several other elite runners from around the world will chase the overall title of the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, but it is also a race for the everyday runner. There is no qualifying process, and runners of all ages and abilities can enter.

ONLINE REGISTRATION IS AVAILABLE HERE

 

XTERRA TRAIL RUN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Where: Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii
When: Sunday, November 24, 9 a.m. start
Who: More than 2,000 runners of all ages and skill levels from around the world
Distances: 21 kilometers, 10 kilometers or 5 kilometers
Entry fees: $60 for 21K, $45 for 10K, $35 for 5K
Student/Military entries: $55 for 21K, $40 for 10K, $30 for 5K
Kualoa Ranch Adventure Walk: $35
Online registration: www.xterrakualoa.com

Small Runners Making Big Strides

Students at Nanaikapono Elementary will take on XTERRA Trail Run Worlds

Some of the smallest runners in the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch on November 24 will be making the biggest strides.

XTERRA Trail Run WorldsA group of students from Nanaikapono Elementary School will be participating in the event for the first time as part of an after-school program to create an active and healthy lifestyle. The 17 students are in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades at the school in Nanakuli, and range in age from 9 to 12.

Nanaikapono teachers Karen Finnerty and Kevin Eiker started assisting the PALS (Program for After-school Literacy Support) program this school year, and they decided to incorporate running into the curriculum.

“PALS provides out of school experiences for mainly Native Hawaiian kids on the Waianae Coast,” Finnerty said. “We chose to focus on fitness. We wanted the kids to lead healthy lifestyles, but also to impact their whole community and lead by example.”

Finnerty said the students have made tremendous progress in just a few months of training, both in their physical fitness and sense of teamwork.

“They have really come a long way in their running,” Finnerty said. “Teamwork and support for each other has really changed, too. You’ll see kids going back after they finish to help others finish and cheering each other along as they go.”

As part of the reward for registering for the race, the students were treated to a surprise field trip a few weeks ago to buy running shoes. The PALS program, which is funded and supported by the Office of Equity, Excellence and Diversity at the University of Hawaii, provided the funds for the shoes.

The field trip doubled as a learning tool, as each student was given a $55 budget to purchase shoes.

“We talked about the type of shoes, and the guys at Sports Authority were so great with them, helping them try them on, find the right sizes, everything,” Finnerty said. “They are super proud of their shoes and their running has changed drastically.”

What’s more, the shoes are treated like sports equipment. The students have to turn in the shoes after each practice, and they can be worn only during school hours or at practices. “We felt that it was really important that they all had the right shoes, but we didn’t want them to feel like they were getting freebies, so they have to work for them,” Finnerty said.

The XTERRA Trail Run World Championship features three courses – a 21-kilometer championship course, a 10K and a 5K – and more than 2,000 runners from around the world are expected to participate. The Nanaikapono students will run in the 5K, with dreams of increasing to longer distances in future years.

“They know they are doing something way beyond what anyone expects of them and way bigger than they even know,” Finnerty said. “They also know they are going to represent not just themselves, but the PALS program, Nanaikapono and their whole Nanakuli community.”

The Nanaikapono students are proof that the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship is open to runners of all ages and skill levels, and there is still time for anyone to enter. Online registration will remain open through November 20 at www.xterrakualoa.com.

Inspirational Group Running at Kualoa Ranch on November 24

Six from Manning Up USA are in XTERRA Trail Run World Championship

There will be more than 2,000 runners at the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch on November 24, and just about every one of them has a reason to run.

Manning UpIt will be tough to top Alan Huneycutt’s reason to run. Huneycutt is part of the Manning Up USA Trailblazers, which is an organization for people who have overcome physical and emotional challenges to accomplish athletic goals and help raise funds for charities.

Six members of the Manning Up USA team will be running in the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship this year, and they are helping to raise funds for TEAM 2 END AIDS. The TEAM 2 END AIDS group is also bringing more than 40 runners to participate in the race in an effort to raise close to $200,000 for AIDS Project Los Angeles.

In March of 2012, Huneycutt was in a horrific car accident in North Carolina. It left him with a broken back, broken ribs, bruised lungs … and one deceased friend. After a major surgery to repair his back, followed by two months of recovery, Huneycutt had to learn how to walk again.

Less than a year after his accident, he started entering 5K races as part of his recovery process. “Prior to the accident, I could not stand to run or do any cardio, and did none what so ever,” said Huneycutt. “The only thing I enjoyed to do was lifting weights. After my accident, I really just wanted to focus on an overall healthy lifestyle and I couldn’t imagine that without some form of cardiovascular activity. I began to run on the treadmill at my gym, just short runs to begin with. Then my manager at the time (Sam Nicholson) convinced me to do my first 5K with him and ever since then I have been hooked on running.”

The 21K course at Kualoa Ranch will be the longest race of Huneycutt’s life, and also his first experience in a trail race. He still has lingering injuries from the car accident, so he often incorporates weight training and swimming into his workouts on the days when he can’t run.

“I would love to be able to say that there is a time I wish to finish in, but since I have yet to run a half-marathon or a trail run I feel like that is just inconceivable,” Huneycutt said. “I just want to be able to go out on the course and run as hard as I can and be there to support my team to do the same.”

Huneycutt, 22, is a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, pursuing a degree in Sociology.

Other members of the Manning Up USA Trailblazers have similar inspirational stories, including Jeremy Manning (founder of the group who overcame drug addiction and family abuse), Mylee Cardenas (a single mother/former Army drill instructor/breast cancer survivor), Alex Minsky (a military wounded warrior who had his right leg amputated below the thigh after he was involved in an IED explosion in Afghanistan), Jessie Sink (lost part of his right arm in an electric fire accident) and Randy Miyashiro (abuse survivor).

The XTERRA Trail Run World Championship will be the first time that all six members of the team will participate in a race together.

To learn more about the Manning Up USA Trailblazers, please visit www.manningupusa.com.

To learn more about TEAM 2 END AIDS or make a donation, please visit www.t2ea.com and click on the Los Angeles link.

There is also still time to run alongside these groups at the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship. Online registration will remain open through November 20 atwww.xterrakualoa.com.

Gray will be Back to Defend Men’s Title at Kualoa Ranch

Elite runner from Washington has already had a solid 2013 season

Joseph Gray likes being a defending champion of the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship. It’s the “co-” part of the title that he’d like to do without this time.

Joe Gray    Gray will return to Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, on November 24 for the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship. He was involved in the most exciting finish in event history last year, when he and Ben Bruce crossed the line simultaneously and were declared co-champions.

“Many people have come to me since then saying (Bruce) should have been disqualified, to other people telling me I shouldn’t have looked back,” Gray said. “All in all it’s over and I’m over it. I’m only focused on returning with a solid performance.”

Gray, who is 29 and resides in Lakewood, Washington, has already had a solid year of racing in 2013. In July, he won the North American Central American Caribbean (NACAC) Mountain Running Championship at New Hampshire. In September, he placed seventh overall and was the top American at the 2013 World Mountain Running Championships in Poland.

Later in September, he placed second at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah. Since then, his focus has been on defending his title at Kualoa Ranch.

“Nothing specific,” he said of his training.”Just old-fashioned hard work.”

Gray has competed in the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship just twice in his career (2009 and 2012), and he said the stunning views at Kualoa Ranch can be the toughest opponent.

“I think the course has a few areas that stand out, but the hardest challenge is to make sure you stay on course,” he said. “There is a lot going on so you can lose focus and end up running extra. Course recognition for me is the hardest aspect, but I think after running here twice I can manage this year.”

Gray would also like to duplicate some of his post-race activities in Hawaii from a year ago, when he got to spend some extra days relaxing. “I always make sure to enjoy Hawaii when I make this trip,” he said. “As always, I will spend some time being lazy, gazing at the ocean from Waikiki Beach.”

A replay of last year’s photo finish will not happen this year, as Bruce will not be able to attend the race this year due to scheduling conflicts.

However, Gray is part of a stacked men’s field that is entered in this year’s race. Oregon’s Max King will return to Kualoa Ranch after missing it last year for the birth of his daughter. King won the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.

Utah’s Patrick Smyth, who finished ahead of both Gray and King at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship back in September, is also in this year’s field.

Lucy Smith from Canada took the women’s title last year, and she will also be back to defend this year.

While those elite runners chase the overall title, there are also numerous age-group titles at stake, as well as shorter-distance races. Runners of all ages and skill levels can enter the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, and there is still time to sign up. Online registration will remain open through November 20 at www.xterrakualoa.com.

2014 XTERRA European Tour Takes Flight

The XTERRA European Tour will feature as many as 13 majors in 2014 including new stops in Portugal, Ireland and Denmark with the possibility of two more Nordic races in Sweden and Norway.

European Tour Schedule

“It’s really been remarkable to see the interest in XTERRA grow year-over-year in Europe,” said XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas. “If everything comes together we’ll have a major every weekend from mid-June all the way through August.”

While the Sweden/Norway races are yet to be finalized, the rest of the Tour is set and travel options abound for adventurous triathletes worldwide.

“I’ve said it a thousand times, but it bears repeating, there’s really no greater way to explore the diverse and culturally rich areas of Europe than to string together two or more of these races and enjoy the adventurous travel in between,” said Nicholas. “Each venue offers a unique experience, and you can count on the XTERRA family to welcome you wherever you go.”

Nicholas should know, having been on-hand to oversee nearly every big event in Europe since ’99.

The Euro Tour also appears to be the proving ground for the sports’ fastest racers, evidenced by their recent success at the XTERRA World Championship.  Six of the top 10 men at XTERRA Worlds were regulars on the Euro Tour including the top three – Ruben Ruzafa, Asa Shaw, and Ben Allen.  Also of note, three Frenchman won age group titles in prominent divisions – Clement Briere (20-24), Oliver Pichou (30-34), and Romaric Delepine (35-39) while Albert Soley from Spain won the 25-29 World title.

For the second straight year the Series will start in Spain (May 25), a country home to  more XTERRA World Championship men’s pro titles than any other with six combined between Eneko Llanos (3), Ruzafa (2), and Javier Gomez.  The following weekend the Tour visits a new venue and new local organizer for XTERRA Portugal in Golega.

Then starting on June 21 the XTERRA European Tour heads to Greece, Switzerland, France, Sweden (tentative), Ireland, Italy, Norway (tentative), Czech, Germany, England, and Denmark on successive weekends.

Of note, the XTERRA Germany Championship in Zittau on August 16 will double as the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships.  With XTERRA Czech a week before and XTERRA England a week after, there’s a neat opportunity for Americans (and athletes from around the world) to race for their nation and have two or three chances to qualify for XTERRA Worlds at the same time.

“It’s going to be a fun summer, that’s for sure,” said Nicholas.

 

Date Race Location
25-May XTERRA Spain Cieza
1-Jun XTERRA Portugal Golega
21-Jun XTERRA Greece Lake Plastira
28-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Vallee de Joux
6-Jul XTERRA France Gerardmer
13-Jul XTERRA Sweden* TBD
20-Jul XTERRA Ireland Killaloe
26-Jul XTERRA Italy  Abruzzo
3-Aug XTERRA Norway* TBD
9-Aug XTERRA Czech Prachatice
16-Aug XTERRA Germany Zittau
24-Aug XTERRA England  Cranleigh
31-Aug XTERRA Denmark TBD
26-Oct XTERRA Worlds Maui

*tentative, as of 11.15.13

For more information visit www.xterraeurope.com

South Carolina Runner Embarks on Ambitious XTERRA Run

David Hale plans to enter more than 30 races during 2013-14 season

David Hale was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer in 2004, and was told by doctors at the time that he had three months to live. Nine years later, he is “living the dream” and embarking on an ambitious run through the XTERRA Trail Run Series.

David HaleThe XTERRA Trail Run Series started its 2013-14 season In September, and Hale has already completed six races – three in the XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series, two in the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series, and one in the XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series. This past weekend, he did two races in two different states (Georgia on Saturday, then Florida on Sunday). That would be a full season for some runners, but the 52-year-old Hale is just getting started.

He plans to enter close to 30 more upcoming races during the season. In addition to more races in Alabama, Florida and Georgia, Hale is also looking to enter XTERRA races in Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia. If all goes well, he would like to end the journey at the 2014 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Hawaii.

(David Hale pictured, courtesy Steve Hampton / H&H Multimedia)

“I started racing in XTERRA Trail Run events this year, and love the racing atmosphere more so than racing on the roads,” Hale said. “After seeing how many XTERRA races are actually within a 6 to 7
hour drive from where I live (Columbia, SC), I wondered if anyone had competed in many races other than in their local state or region. When I found out there was no known record for the most XTERRA trail races run in a season, I thought why not make one myself?”

Hale has purchased a recreational vehicle to drive to some of the farther races on his tour, and estimates he has already logged 4,500 miles through the first six races of his tour. His wife, Dawn, has been accompanying him to the races, and she often serves as a volunteer at each event.

“Not only am I having a great time in the races, but my wife (Dawn) and I along with our dogs make it a
family weekend excursion,” Hale said.

Hale also owns and operates a running/triathlon store in Columbia, S.C., called the Velocity Distance Project, so he will be able to take some time off for the races while other employees take care of the store.

“The good thing about owning a multisport shop is that I contacted a lot of my vendors and asked
for sponsorship merchandise to help me during my efforts,” he said. “I believe it is through my training and products I am using that I am able to keep injuries away; that is, other than my usual two or three falls during races that results in gashes, bruises, and sprained pinky fingers.”

Hale admits that he is not the fastest runner on the trails, but his “XTERRA Living The Dream Tour” is more about fun, participation and adventure, rather than winning medals.

“My first goal is to survive,” he said with a laugh. “But I also want to spread the gospel of XTERRA Trail Run racing across the lands.”

Hale said he also has a message to his madness. “No matter what the odds are, as long
as a person is willing to push themselves, they can achieve anything they want,” he said.

The XTERRA Trail Run Series will feature more than 70 races across the country during the 2013-14 season. Included on the schedule are 17 regions that are hosting at least three races: Alabama, Arizona, Atlantic, Southern California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, North Carolina, Pocono, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

All races on the XTERRA Trail Run schedule are open to runners of all ages and abilities. To find a race near you, please visit www.xterratrailrun.com.