XTERRA Tisvilde Trail Run is Legendary

Legend has it that anyone who is sick must come to Helene Spring in Tisvilde, Denmark on Sankt Hans – or Midsummer’s Eve – which is celebrated on June 23rd.

We think the legend should include an extra day. That way you can also run the XTERRA Tisvilde Trail Run on June 24th.

Both 5K and 10K courses are offered so you can choose your distance through the beautiful Tisvilde Hegn, which is the oldest plantation in Denmark. It is now designated as a Natura 2000 area, due to its rare habitat-types, animals, and important birdlife.

The Tisvilde Hegn was planted in the early 1800’s to prevent the nearby sand dunes from overtaking the farms and fields surrounding Tisvilde. The course will also take you along sandy trails that hug the North Sea.


Tisvilde is easy to get to and is only 45 minutes from Copenhagen by car and about one and a half hours by train. This charming lake district town is full of history from St. Helene’s tomb to the Tibirke Church, which pre-dates Christianity.

For more information and to register for the XTERRA Tisvilde Trail Run and Triathlon, visit www.xterranordic.com.

XTERRA Ambassador Eric Barton’s Favorite Workouts

We all know that great performances don’t just happen. They are earned through months, or even years, of training.

It’s obvious that great athletes prioritize their workouts, make squeaky clean lifestyle choices, and commit to their training plans. But specifically, what do they do that puts them on the podium?

Eric Barton, XTERRA Ambassador and XTERRA Big Elk 21K Champ admits that he trained specifically for the half marathon distance. He’s been running competitively for over eight years, including high school and college, so he has the confidence and endurance to carry him through.

I spent the last month specifically training for the XTERRA Big Elk 21K,” said Barton. “The first two weeks I just had my mileage up around 55 miles, the third week around 65 miles and a 50 mile week before the race. There were also two workouts that really hurt, but made me realize I was ready.”

Workout #1

  • 1 Mile warm-up + drills
  • 2 mile tempo run at sub-six minute pace (5:55/ 5:58)
  • 8 x 1000 at 5:36/mile pace with a 2:30 recovery jog between each
  • (Barton’s times were: 3:22, 3:21, 3:20, 3:20, 3:19, 3:17, 3:18, 3:15)
  • 1 mile tempo at sub-six minute race pace (5:35)
  • 1.5 mile cool-down

Total =10.5 miles for the day

Workout #2

  • 1 Mile Warm-up
  • 3 x 2-mile repeats at sub-six minute pace (11:56, 11:40, 11:30)
  • 1 Mile cool down

Total = 8 miles for the day

Learn more about XTERRA’s Couch to Trail training program at  www.XTERRAplanet.com.


Photo Courtesy of Danielle Vennard

XTERRA Muleshoe Kicks Off Summer Running

It’s officially hot in Texas right now, but that isn’t stopping XTERRA runners from hitting the trails. On June 11th, the Texas Trail Run Series continued at XTERRA Muleshoe, just outside of Spicewood, Texas on the north shore of beautiful Lake Travis.

Athletes had the option of choosing the 21K, 10.5K, or 6K runs.

The race went off without a hitch, as usual with Joel Grimmett as race director,” said Michael Fussell, who was third overall and the first Master’s Runner. In 2016, Fussell was the XTERRA Trail Run World Champ for the 55-59 age group.

 “My time was seven minutes faster than last year on the same course so I’m really happy with that. It goes to show you can teach an old dog new tricks.”

XTERRA Ambassador Steven Stoot was the Muleshoe 21K Champ with a time of 1:29:07, which is about 6:49 pace. Runner up Robert Smith finished in 1:31:15.

“Muleshoe is such a fun race,” said Stoot. “The footing is great and the course isn’t as hilly as some of the other Texas XTERRA runs.”

Stoot added that his training has been up and down due to an injury.

“Muleshoe was my first long run in my return to training after a three week break. Since I hadn’t run much longer than eight or nine miles since Pace Bend, I decided to tuck into second for a bit in the race. Once I warmed up though, I could feel a bit of fitness and decided to move up when we crossed a road just after the first mile. From there, it was smooth sailing and I just focused on running an even effort.

“In the future, I’d like to just keep building back some mileage. Summer has arrived in Central Texas making it tough to run many road workouts after work, but I’ll keep trying to hit the trails as much as I can. I’m excited to head back home to Colorado in two weeks for a vacation, hopefully get some trail running done in the high country.”

Next up for Stoot is XTERRA Magnolia Hill on July 16th.

Race director Joel Grimmett pointed out the special podium for the XTERRA Muleshoe Trail Run.

“It was made by one of our triathletes,” said Grimmett. “His wife made the XTERRA stencil for the platforms, and it’s a pretty cool set up.”

Fussell posed for a photo Dion Papafote on the left and Grimmett on the right.

“I wanted to take a picture of them with my U.S. and National medals on since it is their race series and support that made it possible for me to achieve those goals,” said Fussell. “XTERRA really is a family affair of friends!”

View complete results for the XTERRA Muleshoe Trail run at www.redbarnsystems.com.

XTERRA Auckland Trail Run June 18th

On June 18th, XTERRA heads to the “Land of the Long White Cloud” for a day of trail running in Shakespear Regional Park.

No matter what your fitness level or running experience, the XTERRA Auckland Trail Run Series has something for everyone. You can choose a short course (5-8 km), mid course (10-14 km), long course (16-20 km) or super long course (20+ km). You can choose to walk or run on all courses except the super long course, which is for runners only.

“Shakespear Regional Park has it all,” said race director Frank Clarke. “You will head through farmland, run on awesome, well-groomed, and all-weather single track trails, take off into more open trail sections, pass a waterfall, and challenge yourself up hills.”

The park is located at the tip of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula, and is named after the Shakespear family, who bought the land in the 1880s from local Maori.

This weekend’s race is the second of six races in Auckland Trail Run Series. The next race will take place in Waiuku Forest on Sunday, July 9th.

For more information on the courses, visit www.trailrun.co.nz.


Why I Run – Emma Kosciak

Emma Kosciak is currently leading the 30-34 age group in the XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series with 300 points. In February, Kosciak won the XTERRA Pedernales 10K and 25K Trail Run by 20 minutes and in April she won the XTERRA ATX 21K Trail Run. She continued her winning streak last weekend by taking the tape at the XTERRA Muleshoe 21K Trail run.

We recently caught up with Kosiak to talk about field hockey, backpacking, friendship, and of course – trail running.

Q. How long have you been running?
A. I was a collegiate field hockey player, so I’ve always run as part of training. However, I got into running as a sport in my mid 20’s, and started doing focused training about 5 years ago. 

Q.What do you love about running?
A. Honestly, my favorite part of the sport is supporting my friends. It’s so rewarding to put yourself completely out there for someone else, whether it’s helping a friend get through a track workout or pacing a friend in an ultra. Like most things in life, running is most enjoyable when shared.

Q. What brought you to the trails?
A. I grew up playing in the woods, and got into backpacking in college. So when I started running, hitting the trails was a no-brainer.

Q. What is your training like? 
A. I’m completely spoiled, because my fiance is a Ph.D. in a sports science program and is a coach for my team, Endurance Underground. With him guiding me, I completed my first Ironman last year.

So even though I am much more of a runner than triathlete, he still has me do quite a bit of swimming and biking. Other than it’s simply fun, the cross training helps keep my running volume relatively low (anywhere from 25-50 miles per week) which helps with injury prevention, but keeps my total workload high. I can’t say I have a favorite workout, because I like doing too many different things. But I’d say any workout that I can do with a friend is always the best.

Q. Will we see you at XTERRA Trail Run Nationals this year?
A. I hope so! We’ll see how my fall schedule shapes up. But I have XTERRA Nationals penciled in my calendar right now. I have lots of little goals. But I’d like to ramp up for something big this fall or winter. 

Q. What is your favorite thing about XTERRA?
A. I am new to Texas. So I love that XTERRA gives me an excuse to visit new parks and places all over this huge state. It’s been a great way to explore.  

Photo Courtesy of Endurance Underground Photography

Record Falls at XTERRA Big Elk Trail Run

XTERRA Ambassador Eric Barton had an inkling he could break the course record at the XTERRA Big Elk Half Marathon Trail Run on June 10th in Elkton, Maryland.

“But the only thing that got me under that 1:26 mark was that at each water station, I focused on looking strong and just enjoying myself.”

Barton finished in 1:25:56. Taylor Shoulders was second in 1:34:43 and Iain Banks was third in 1:38:19.

“This was a different race than any other,” admitted Barton. “This was the first year I’ve been able to train specifically for this event. It’s my favorite race of the year and I was honored to represent XTERRA.”

Barton took the lead from the start, knowing that both Shoulders and Banks have been running strong this season.”I wanted to put a gap between them from the start, but they both stayed with me for almost three miles,” said Barton.

Barton admitted to starting out quickly and said he began to feel tired at the three mile mark. “That makes for a tough ten miles,” he said, “But I kept remembering all of the work I put in and kept telling my legs to go faster.”

Iain Banks, who suffered a stomach bug at the beginning of the week, met his goal of winning his 40-44 age group last Saturday.

“XTERRA Big Elk was an adventure!” said Banks. “Eric Barton went off in search of his fourth win in a row, and we wouldn’t see him until the finish. I went out purposely slower than usual and settled into fourth behind Taylor, who has been a regular in the series.”

The bulk of the elevation gains were made in the first half of the race. Shoulders pulled into second at the halfway mark, and by mile eight, Banks clawed his way into third.

Banks is training for the XTERRA Ex2 on July 9th, so he capped off his weekend by competing in a mountain bike race the next day.


In the women’s race, Shannon Cebron came through in 1:59:37 and Michelle Ankenbrand was right behind her in 2:00:09. Christine Reiner was third in 2:01:55.

In the XTERRA Big Elk Marathon, XTERRA Ambassador Laura Lunardi was the women’s champ in 3:56:55. Jacob Sinn was the men’s champ in 3:44:09.

“This was a tough race for me this year,” admitted Lunardi. “I didn’t feel well and had a lot of stomach cramping, which made for a long morning on the trails.”

Lunardi has won all of the XTERRA trail runs she has entered this year. Additionally, she competes in about six to eight Spartan races a year. She runs about 55-75 miles a week and fits in additional HIIT sessions and strength training.

While Lunardi runs on roads most mornings out of convenience, trails are her first love. “The XTERRA Big Elk course was great. It was a perfect mix of single track, wooded trails, and grassy meadows.”

Iain Banks agrees. “XTERRA Big Elk is the best in the series. Put it on your calendar for 2018.”

View the complete results at www.XTERRAAtlantic.com

Catching Up With Morgan Johnson Hoffman

Morgan Johnson Hoffman is a USA Triathlon High Performance Team Coach at Playtri in the Dallas Fort Worth area. She is also a triathlete herself. Most recently, Morgan won the XTERRA Rock Dallas Trail Run 15K

We caught up with Morgan and talked about coaching, trails, and running in the dark.

Q. How did you get into trail running?
I always loved trail running and I’ve always loved the XTERRA Trail Run Series. I even competed in the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in 2009.

Q. You are a triathlete. Why did you sign up for the XTERRA Rock Dallas Trail Run?
A. I took a break from triathlon training from 2014 – 2016 to focus on coaching and managing a team and I’m just getting back into it again. It made sense for me to sign up for the XTERRA Rock Dallas Trail Run rather than the full triathlon.

Q. What were your goals for the race?
A. I had zero expectations in terms of how I was going to place. The goal was to have fun and run a sustainable effort.

Q. What was the course like?
A. Going out, I had a vague understanding that the first half of the course would be super technical, but the descriptions prior didn’t do it justice! I pushed the pace a bit during the first half with the hope that I would clear the more technical portions prior to it getting dark, since I knew that they would get much tougher once my visibility was restricted.

The trail had a lot of variety, which kept me on my toes, and the Texas humidity was really turned up full force for the first time this spring. I made a concerted effort to keep hydration consistent from the beginning and not be afraid to walk if my heart rate was spiking higher than was sustainable.

Q. What was it like to run in the dark?
A. As it got darker, I had to pick my way a lot more carefully through the technical parts, which made for a much slower pace. By the time I had been told I was the first female for the 15K,  it seemed like it would be a shame to lose  just because I rushed and wiped out.

I decided that being conservative would give me a better chance at a good finish. Towards the end, once it was full dark, the trail thankfully smoothed out a lot and I was able to open up my stride a bit and just go. Although I still had a few near misses!

Q. What were your thoughts after your win?
A. The win was a bit of a surprise! All in all, it was a great experience, and I thought Terra Firma did a stand up job with the organization. It definitely made me want to do more of the XTERRA events this year.

Q. Why do you run?
A. I love trail running because regardless of whether I feel “good” or “bad” during a training run or a race, ultimately every run is money in the bank, so I can just focus on getting it done to the best of my ability, and know that results will eventually follow.

Running is great meditation and constantly reminds me that the journey is more important than the destination.

Close Finish at XTERRA Deep South 15K

It’s rare that a run as long as a 15K has a close finish, and even more rare that the top three are battling it out. But last weekend’s XTERRA Deep South Trail Run on June 3rd had a finish more suited to a 1500 than a nine mile race.

Cady Nix, Jameisha Washington, and Christine Curtin all finished within 30 seconds of each other. Nix came through in 1:22:13 while Washington and Curtin battled it out in 1:22:43 and 1:22:44.

“We had some really exciting performances today,” said race director, Tim Schroer. “Jameisha and Christine were neck and neck while in the men’s race, Alex and Aaron crossed the line together. Matt Haley also finished super strong and beat the field by about three minutes.”

Schroer added that his daughter Julia helped at the start and his daughter Blakely ran.

Both the 15K and 5K races started in an open field to allow runners to spread out before hitting single track. A bit before the two mile mark, the 15K and 5K runners split off into different directions. Each course featured different terrain, including dirt and gravel roads, bridge crossings, roots, single track, and double track.

“Temperatures were good but the humidity was pretty high,” said Schroer. “It felt good in the woods, especially as the runners dropped down towards the creek.”

XTERRA Deep South Trail Run was sixth in the XTERRA Georgia Series. The final race of the season is the XTERRA Allatoona Creek Park Trail Run on August 12th.


Catching Up With XTERRA Oak Mt. Champ Jennifer McGranahan

Jennifer McGranahan won the XTERRA Oak Mountain 20K on May 21st in 1:33:41, which was good enough for 7th place overall. We caught up with Jennifer long enough to hear about her biggest dreams and her favorite trails.

Q. How did you feel during the 20K at XTERRA Oak Mountain?
A. I love this race! I ran it in 2016 and I knew I would be back this year. I felt really good on the first loop but got pretty tired on the second.

I kept using gravity of the downhills to provide natural momentum. That is the beauty of trail running! The constant challenge of navigating the roots and terrain entertains and invigorates your mind and body.

Q. At XTERRA Oak Mountain, did you lead from the beginning?
A. My strategy this year was to conserve more energy in the first loop. So, I got behind a group of runners and just tried to relax. I was the lead woman for most of the race, but I also knew that anything could happen in a 20K, so I couldn’t let up.

Q. What are your long-term goals? Are you thinking about the next Olympic Trials?
A. Funny you should ask that. My dream is to run in the Olympic Marathon Trials. I feel like if I had a very smart, consistent training plan with a group to train with, I could accomplish this dream.

Q. How do you find time to train? 
A. Until recently, I have been a full-time student studying physical therapy, so I have been only running to feel better and give myself a break from school. I also have a four-year old daughter, so as all moms know, she keeps me busy!

However, I am now at a crossroads in my career and I’m hoping I can spend some time training to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials (the qualifying window opens in September, 2017).

Q. What are your favorite trails?
A. I love running in the Pisgah Forest in Brevard, North Carolina; the Cheyenne Mountain area in Colorado Springs; the University of West Florida running trails; Pandapas Pond in Blacksburg, Virginia; and the trails in Blowing Rock, North Carolina.

 I realize I have a lot of trails left to explore but these are pretty great.

Q. Why do you run?
A. What I love about trail running is the escape from the usual routine of a typical day. It allows me to fit in an adventure in the middle of normal life.

Trail running awakens my mind and body. It gives me time to reflect and have clarity of mind. I think it is one of the most natural exercises a person can do. It makes my body strong.