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

XTERRA Expands into Stand Up Paddleboarding with XTERRA Boards

Honolulu, HI – XTERRA, the nation’s premier off-road triathlon and trail running series, expands further into endurance adventure sports with its recent licensing of stand up paddleboards.

XTERRA BoardsXTERRA BOARDS is the manufacturer and distributor of stand up paddleboards designed for the ocean, lakes and rivers. Inspired by the excitement and thrill of the popular XTERRA races, XTERRA BOARDS has developed an inflatable stand up paddleboard that will lead the industry in quality in the stand up paddleboard market, the fastest growing water sport in the United States.

“As the creator and producer of the world’s most popular off-road multisport racing series, we have captured the attention of a loyal and enthusiastic global outdoors adventure demographic,” said Tom Kiely, CEO, TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA.

“We are committed to ensuring that training and leisure activities for all our athletes and their family is available in and out of the water. As such, XTERRA will soon have stand up paddleboards at all its events.”

“XTERRA BOARDS will bring the exhilaration of XTERRA style and adventure mentality into the water,” said Glynn Turquand, President of XTERRA Boards. “It’s a rare opportunity that an established brand can enter this fast-growing water sport so quickly.”

In addition to joining the XTERRA family, XTERRA leads the water sports world with partners including XTERRA races (largest off-road multisport event series in the world), XTERRA WETSUITS (largest triathlon wetsuit company in the world), and now XTERRA BOARDS.  These companies, and other important partners, are part of the recently launched “XTERRA LIVE MORE” membership program.

About XTERRA BOARDS
XTERRA BOARDS (www.xterraboards.com) is based in San Diego, California, and was born from a family’s love of the water, swimming, stand up paddleboarding, and adventures. We have been stand up paddleboarding since the 1970s, and enjoyed water sports all over the world. We are constantly testing our boards and our competitors’ boards. We borrow what they are doing right, avoid what they are doing wrong, and innovate where necessary. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate or advanced, our package is ideal for just getting out on the water with no excuses.

America Tour Heats Up Before Break

Over the next four weekends prior to XTERRA’s lone scheduling break over Memorial Day weekend a wide variety of off-road triathlon challenges will be contested across eight U.S. states.

Oak Mtn RiderThis weekend brings the XTERRA Jersey Devil tri at Citta Scout Reservation in Barnegat, NJ. The race is located about 30 miles north of Atlantic City, and organizers are praising their hosts at the Scout Reservation, and the Jersey Shore Boy Scout Council, for all the hard work they put in since Hurricane Sandy to make the camp safe and ready for action.  The XTERRA Jersey Devil marks the start of the Points chase for the newly aligned Northeast Region, which now encompasses both the old NE region and the Mid-Atlantic Region into one “Super Region.”

With that race director Bob Horn reported entries from Maine to Virginia this year, which will surely make for some tough competition to start the season.  Top age groupers signed up to compete include returning XTERRA Jersey Devil champ Daryl Weaver, runner-up Josh Loren, and top 5 finisher Ian King.

Also this weekend is XTERRA Fort Yargo, the second race in the Southeast Region.  “The competitors really enjoy this venue. Everything from the water, the trails, to the scenery is excellent, ” said race director David Berger who has been in charge since 2004. With Atlanta less than an hour away, there is plenty to do as well. So come experience some southern charm all while enjoying the camaraderie of XTERRA down in the Peach State.

The first week of May welcomes in Ruston, Louisiana, hosts to the oldest continually running XTERRA on the continental U.S.; XTERRA Gator Terra, 17 years running.  Ruston also hosts the Oldest XTERRA Epic: XTERRA Epic – Rustman, now in its 4th year.  The Rustman is also the first race of the newly formed XTERRA Epic Series.  Get a head start on your competition towards become the first ever XTERRA Epic Series Champion!

The XTERRA Epic – Rustman is May 4th (1 mile Swim/ 30 Mile MTB/ 10 Mile Trail run) and the XTERRA Gator Terra is May 5th (800yd swim/ 10 mile MTB/3.35 mile Trail run).  And, for the endurance junkies combine the two and you’ll have the Rustman Challenge, Presented by the Ruston / Lincoln CVB, which awards  the fastest male and females (top 2 each gender), based on cumulative time in the two races, with a share of a $1000 prize purse.

From the oldest to the newest, XTERRA Key Biscayne hosts its inaugural event on May 12 with a race in South Florida that combines a half-mile open water swim, with a 10 mile mountain bike and 4 mile trail run.  Connecting two parks, The Historic Virginia Beach Park and Virgina Beach Mountain Bike Trail, Key Biscayne brings a lot of sweet single track to the Tribe.

The last stops before Memorial Day include a classic on May 18 at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama – home to last year’s ITU Cross Tri World Championships and the XTERRA Southeast Championship since 2006.  Oak Mountain has arguably the best trails in the entire XTERRA series according to Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz.

The XTERRA Points Series is also in full swing on Sunday with the XTERRA King of the Hill in Lebanon, NJ, XTERRA Muleshoe in Spicewood, Texas, and the XTERRA Last Stand in Augusta, Michigan all on May 19.

Get out and discover America with XTERRA.  Live More.

Young Runners Lead the Way at Bluebonnet Trail Run

Woelfel, 17, and Welsch, 12, take top honors at 15K race

Youth was served at the XTERRA Bluebonnet Trail Run last weekend, as two minors scored major wins.

Kaytlynn Welsch Blue Bonnet Trail RunSeventeen-year-old Ryan Woelfel was the overall winner of the 15-kilometer race, and 12-year-old Kaytlynn Welsch was the top female. More than 100 runners participated in the event, which was completed on April 20 at Reveille Peak Ranch in Burnet, Texas.

“The conditions on race day were nothing to complain about,” Woelfel said. “It was cold in the morning before the race, but when it came time to race it reached perfect running weather with little wind and clear skies.”

Woelfel, who is a junior at Stony Point High in Round Rock, Texas, completed the course in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 51 seconds.  His godbrother, 14-year-old Nathan Rankin, placed second with a time of 1:05:29.

(Race photo courtesy Rodney Welsch)

“The other top leaders that I was going against at the beginning were my godfather and godbrother which played to my favor because I knew what who I was running against, but I always get nervous over the other runners at the start, because you can never tell who is gonna be able to run what,” Woelfel said. “I separated myself from the other runners a little bit after the first couple miles and was able to increase the led after about mile 5.”

Woelfel is a member of his school’s track and cross country teams, and he has won several races in recent years. However, he described this win as his favorite so far.

“This was one of my favorite overall wins because I really enjoy running ‘true’ distance races and also enjoy trail running more,” he said. “Putting the two together made it even more enjoyable.”

Christopher Chancey placed third overall, and Greg Rankin was fourth. Greg Rankin is Nathan’s father and Woelfel’s godfather.

Welsch was an impressive fifth overall with a time of 1:09:55, and continued her amazing run in the 2013 XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series. Welsch, who is in the seventh grade at Alvin Junior High in Alvin, Texas, has entered three races in the XTERRA Texas Series in 2013, and has been the first overall female at all three races.

Welsch said she completed the entire race without drinking water at any of the aid stations along the course. “She had a good learning experience,” her father, Rodney, said. “She said there wasn’t anyone handing water out at the tables, so I explained it is a trail run and you have to fill your cup up yourself or bring your own water with you. She understands that now.”

Tracie Akerhielm was a close second in 1:10:14. She has placed second to Welsch at all three races in the Texas Series this year.

Heather Welsch, Kaytlynn’s younger sister, placed sixth among females. At 10 years old, Heather was the youngest runner in the event.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW COMPLETE RESULTS

The next race in the XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series will be the XTERRA Muleshoe Trail Run at Spicewood, Texas, on May 18. To register for a race in the Texas Series or to learn more about it, please visit www.xterratrailrun.com.

About the XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series
The XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series is open to runners of all ages and skill levels. In the 2012-13 season, there will be seven races available for runners, with the courses ranging in length from 5 kilometers to 21 kilometers. The top runners in every age group will receive points after each race that will count toward the overall series standings. At the conclusion of the series, each age-group champion will receive a free entry to represent Texas at the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. Texas is one of 17 regions hosting an XTERRA Trail Run Series. The others are Alabama, Arizona, Atlantic, Southern California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oregon,  Pocono, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

Pocono Series Looks to Continue Growth in 2013

First race on May 4, four others to follow this summer

Word is spreading fast about the XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series, and the word is good. In just two years, the participation numbers have nearly doubled in the series, and it should only get better in 2013.

Pocono RunnersThe XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series was created in 2011 to offer runners a chance to experience the picturesque trails in the northeast Pennsylvania region. It drew around 100 runners to the series that first year, and it increased to more than 200 last year.

This year’s Pocono Series will feature five races at five different locations, spread throughout the months of May and June. The opening event in the series will be the XTERRA Big Pocono Trail Run at Tannersville, Pa., on May 4.

“What I like most about the Pocono area is its stunning natural beauty and how the region is an outdoor sports mecca,” said Richard Burgunder, the two-time champion of the men’s 30-34 age group in the Pocono Series. “Within the endless mountain region, you’ll find abundant forest, lakes, rivers, streams and wildlife. It’s an amazing place for any extreme and adventure sports enthusiast.”

Indeed, the five races in the Pocono Series offer runners a variety of challenging terrain, ranging from sandy lake shorelines to narrow single track trails that climb more than 2,000 feet – through rocky river beds and flowing streams.

The races in the Pocono Series range from 5 kilometers to 21 kilometers, and every event in the series is open to runners of all ages and skill levels.

Burgunder made the cross-state trip from Pittsburgh to enter the Pocono Series races in both 2011 and 2012. He said the abundance of activities and attractions in the region allow him to make a weekend getaway with each race. “There’s a ton to do throughout the region and most activities are within an hour’s drive of all the race sites,” he said.

The XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series is also a bargain. Many of the races offer an entry fee as low as $20 per runner. Runners who register for all five races before May 4 will be charged just $100 total.

Points will be tallied after every race to determine age-group standings for the series. At the end of the season, each age-group champion will receive a free entry to represent Pocono at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in September at Ogden/Snowbasin Resort, Utah.

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

2013 Pocono Series Schedule
5/4/13 – XTERRA Big Pocono Trail Run – Tannersville, PA – 5km
5/18/13 – XTERRA Seven Tubs Trail Run – Wilkes-Barra, PA – 5km
6/1/13 – XTERRA Hickory Trail Run – White Haven, PA – 11km
6/15/13 – XTERRA Earth Conservancy Trail Run – Mocanaqua, PA – 21km
6/29/13 – XTERRA Gouldsboro Trail Run – Gouldsboro, PA – 13km

Head-to-Head Again in Malaysia

Sunday’s XTERRA Malaysia off-road tri in Putrajaya is sure to be a shootout with headliners Renata Bucher up against Jacqui Slack in the women’s elite race while Ben Allen takes on Dan Hugo in the men’s title bout.

Head to HeadIt’ll be the sixth time this season Bucher and Slack will be racing against each other.  In their first meeting two-time World Champ Lesley Paterson got the best of both of them to win XTERRA Philippines (Renata was 2nd, Jacqui 4th).

Slack won the next two XTERRA Championship races in Saipan and Guam (Renata was 3rd/2nd) before Bucher won the last two on back-to-back weekends in Australia and New Zealand earlier this month (Slack was 2nd at both).

For the men, it’s Ben vs. Dan part IV, with Allen winning all three previous meetings at XTERRA Philippines, Saipan, and Guam on his way to winning the Triple Crown in March.  Hugo was second at all three.

Allen is at the tail end of whirlwind set of racing featuring 8 events in 7 countries in the last two months.  After Easter weekend he finished 2nd in Australia to Courtney Atkinson on April 7, won the XTERRA New Zealand Championship on April 13, then placed 2nd at the long-distance Koh Samui Tri in Thailand.

Meanwhile, Hugo went home to South Africa for a solid block of training but ended up doing very little biking and running thanks to a bout of knee bursitis picked up on his way home from XTERRA Guam.

It begs the question, is Allen on his way to one of the most dominating World Tour seasons in XTERRA history and will his body recover in time for Sunday’s race? Is Hugo ready to breakthrough and win his first XTERRA title since capturing the South Africa crown in 2011?

For the women, will Bucher be able to win her third race in four weeks or can Slack get back to the top spot?  All compelling questions, with many more unknowns to be pondered such as whom this new course might favor the most?

There are several other key players to consider as well.  Sam Gardner, Takahiro Ogasawara, Carina Wasle and Mieko Carey are all champions in their own right having collectively won XTERRA titles in Japan and Europe in years gone by.

Other elites include professional stuntwoman Daz Parker, who could be masterminding her biggest trick yet, plus Aussie rookie Peri Gray and the lone local pro – Shahrom Abdullah, who grew up just a half-hour away in Kuala Lumpur.

At the pro press conference at the Pullman Putrajaya Lakeside resort on Friday all sounded confident and ready, and boasted of Malaysia having one of the most adventurous run courses on the World Tour.

One thing is for certain, another exciting race in yet another exotic location as the XTERRA World Tour discovers the trails and terrain of Putrajaya.  Pictures and stories will be forthcoming.

Read all the athlete profiles and recaps from this year’s XTERRA World Tour races in the XTERRA Malaysia Press Guide // Ben Allen Pre-Race Interview //  Pictures from Day 1 at XTERRA Malaysia.