Trail Partners: Jo May and Doug Beagle

Jo May and Doug Beagle have been training and racing together for over three decades and have covered every endurance event from the Kona Ironman to the XTERRA World Trail Run Championship. They have completed a marathon or ultra in each state and are almost finished doing it a second time.

Last year, both Jo and Doug won their 65-69 age groups at the XTERRA World Trail Run Championship. At the XTERRA National Trail Run Championship, they were both third.

XTERRA caught up with the couple and talked about endurance, marriage, and why you should always carry money for pastries when you run.

Jo: We met through triathlons.

Doug: In the early eighties, I was competing in Oklahoma City triathlons and a woman asked me where I trained. She said, ‘Oh, you must know Jo May. You have to meet her.’ I heard Jo May would be at the Texas A&M triathlon so I found her and introduced myself.

Jo: I don’t remember that.

Doug: You didn’t remember me then either.

Jo: My focus is on numbers not people. I’m a tax accountant.

Doug: One of my talents is that I persevere. I just kept calling and calling and it worked out.

Jo: I think maybe our first date was going to lunch. But I know our dates turned into workouts.I was a big swimmer then.

Doug: My strength was not swimming. That took some effort. I was always a runner.

Jo: You did OK.

Doug: We love to talk together. And we love to race together. In the eighties, we would  jump into our VW Camper and Jo would pay for our food and gas by winning masters races. We had a lot of good adventures.

I remember one trip to eastern Tennessee. We often chose the roads less traveled. We came to the Mississippi in a storm and the only way across the river was on a ferry that only held two automobiles.

Jo: Think raft.

Doug: Yeah, but there was always good running in Tennessee.

Jo: We transitioned into ultra running after I got hit on my bike by a drunk driver while I was pregnant. But I was lucky. I ended up on grill instead of under the truck.

Doug: We got a baby jogger after that.

Jo: After our daughter was born in 1990, we would go out for three to four hours with the baby jogger. We would watch garbage trucks, cows, pick berries – all the things a baby likes. Running can lead to so many different things.

We’ve seen so much of Europe through running. The U.S. too. We’ve already done a marathon in all fifty states.

Doug: We do about fifteen marathons a year. We’ve qualified for Boston more than 18 times. We were both there in 2014 during the bombing.

Jo: Doug had finished the race, but I was still on the course.

Doug: I was walking back to the hotel and thought an electric transformer exploded. But I had a hunch it was something bad. There were a lot of sirens. I couldn’t reach Jo on my cell phone so I went back to the hotel.

Jo: I was about a mile from the finish and the race officials stopped us. No one knew where we were and most of us didn’t have phones with us on the course.

Doug: I wasn’t worried. We’ve done hundreds of races together and we always do our own thing. I knew she would show up.

Jo: He doesn’t worry. He never worries.

Doug: We eventually met up at the hotel. It was quite chaotic since a lot of people couldn’t get to their keys or phones or wallets in their drop bags. And no one could get across the river.

Jo: The silver lining was that we heard from people we hadn’t heard from in years.

Doug: It was like the Oklahoma City bombing. When something terrible happens, the goodness comes out in people too. The next day, we went to a bakery in Boston and everyone was talking to everyone else.

Jo: We were all just happy to be there.

Doug: Yep. Whenever we run in cities, we carry money so we can stop in bakeries or for coffee. We always meet wonderful people and it’s the best way to discover a new city.

Jo: We meet a lot of people on the trails as well. And we’ve met a lot of great people at XTERRA runs. If you fall, there’s always someone willing to help you up and it’s a wonderful atmosphere.

Doug: You walk into Boston and feel the electricity in the air. In Kona, you feel the anxiety and anticipation. In XTERRA races, everyone is low key. Whether someone is ahead of me or behind me, there isn’t that negative energy.

Jo: I think we will stay with running as long as we can. You can get a lot of running in without a huge time commitment. And, you can run in the dark. You can’t bike or swim in the dark.

Doug: We live near the trails in Houston, so most days we get up and go. I think that’s the secret as we’ve gotten older. I only run on soft surfaces and stay off pavement.

Jo: If you’re looking for dirt, you can find dirt.

Doug: On Wednesdays, we meet friends at 5:30 AM and do five to eight miles on trails.

Jo: We run more slowly now so we don’t get injured. I’ve traded speed for health.

Doug: I did get hurt three years ago in the Breckenridge Marathon. I fell and hit my shoulder on a rock.

Jo: Of course he finished the race.

Doug: We cross train too. I go to the gym a few times a week and Jo and I still swim.

Jo: Running keeps you on an even keel. My job is stressful during tax season but I always make time to run because I’m so much more efficient throughout my day.

Doug: Even if you aren’t a morning person, you can start a new habit. It might be tough to get started, but you will feel so much better in the day if you exercise. Get someone to meet you at 5:30 am. Find a reason to get out the door.

Jo: Or just set your alarm an hour earlier.

Doug: Running lets you see what you are made of inside. We have no plans to stop.

Shepaug Runners Go the Distance

The second annual XTERRA Northeast Trail Run Series officially kicked off April 8th with the XTERRA Shepaug Run Raiser in Bridgewater, Connecticut. The day proved to be a true festival of running with 10K, 25K, 50K, and 80K courses.

“Two feet of snow melt and seemingly endless rain turned the 10K course into an energy and soul sucking mud run,” said race director, Austin Planz. “Luckily, memories of the torture were quickly replaced by smiles as runners shared stories of survival over bowls of post race grub.”

Michael Lapsa was first in the 10K with a time of 55:50. Jackie Smith came in for the women in 1:06.

The 10K has a gentle elevation gain of 634 feet, while the 25K includes over 2000 feet of uphill, metered out over the entire loop. The 50K and 80K runs are two and three laps of the 25K course, respectively.

“The end of loop one was great,” said XTERRA Ambassador Simon Edgett, who won the 50K. “I crossed the line side by side with Raphael Sarfati, who went on to win the 80K. I stopped and changed my shoes and socks before heading out onto lap two. Even though my feet were only dry for about ten minutes, it was definitely worth it for my state of mind.”

Knowing he was in the lead kept Simon Edgett going strong. “I carried pieces of paper with my goal split times on one side and my favorite quotes on the other. One of the quotes was ‘Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear–not absence of fear.’ which is attributed to Mark Twain.”

Dmitry Girgoryeu and Kira Ragazzo took the 25K in 2:10 and 2:27, respectively. Simon Edgett came through the 50K in 5:44 and Jennifer Kimpel was the women’s champ in 7:57.

Raphael Sarfati finished in 8:09:57; over two hours ahead of second place Ramon Bermo.

“I would like to thank all the runners for their wonderful spirits and upbeat attitudes under challenging trail conditions on a rescheduled date,” said Planz. “Good people make good races.”

Learn more about running your first ultra.

Complete race results can be found here.

Next up in the XTERRA Northeast Series is the XTERRA Wawayanda Trail Run on May 7th in Hewitt, NJ. Points will be given for the 25K, 50K and the 80K at the first three races and the 20K at the season finale held in Syracuse, NY on August 13th. The top athlete in each age group and the end of the series will be rewarded with free entry to the XTERRA Trail Running National Championship in Ogden, UT on September 17.

Photos courtesy of Ransom Edgett

Big Smiles at XTERRA New Zealand Races

This weekend, New  Zealanders had a tough choice between two fantastic races: XTERRA Rotorua and XTERRA Wellington’s second race of its series: The Orongorongos. The two cities are about 450 km apart and are extremely different from each other. Rotorua is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire where you can run between geysers and geothermal vents. XTERRA Wellington was held at the southernmost tip of the North Island in Rimutaka Forest Park, a lush park near Wellington Harbor.

In the XTERRA Rotorua run, Johanna Ottoson won the women’s 21K easily in  1:29:52 while Tama Christensen took the men’s title in 1:20:20.

View the XTERRA Rotorua results.

Down south in Wellington, Will Bell and junior Anoush Shehadeh won the 20K in 1:46:07 and 1:59:24, respectively. In high school, Shehadeh was a standout runner. She was 4th in the prestigious Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships in 2013 and was named the 2013-14 Gatorade Massachusetts Girls’ Cross-Country Runner of the Year.

“The Orongorongo Valley is the spiritual home of XTERRA trail running, with our first event held here in 2008,” said race director, Mike Thomason.

The Orongorongos Valley in the Rimutaka Forest is a very special place, pristinely maintained by the Department of Conservation. The area wasn’t settled until the 1920’s, when people built wooden huts out of materials on hand. The area is so beautiful that some people made these huts their homes, while others came to the Orongorongos valley to “tramp,” also known as backpacking. The last hut was built in 1980, and the Department of Conservation currently protects and manages the 50 huts in the valley.

“Trail running is such a great way to connect to tradition,” said Thomason. “And the XTERRA Rotorua and Wellington races are a great way to keep that tradition alive.”

View the XTERRA Wellington results.

The XTERRA Wellington series consists of five races. The next one up is Awesome Akatarawas on April 30th. 

Photo credit: Stephen Barker/Marathon-photo.com

Fagundes, Paterson Win XTERRA Black Mountain

In most cases, if you went to a race and discovered that one of the “fast guys” had just completed a Ragnar Relay, you would breathe a sigh of relief.

Not so if that “fast guy” is Anthony Fagundes, who broke his own course record on the XTERRA Black Mountain 15K course by 20 seconds last weekend, less than 24 hours after finishing the SoCal Ragnar Relay. He crossed the line in 56:13, over six minutes ahead of second place finisher, Frederic Tete.

“I wasn’t expecting that at all,” said Fagundes, two-time winner of XTERRA Black Mountain. “I didn’t even look at my watch for the first three miles because I didn’t want to get discouraged. When I finally looked at my time, I realized I had a chance to break my record so I pushed up the last hill.”

A steeplechaser in college, Fagundes entered the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach last year on a whim. He won the whole thing in 2:38, battling cramps and a fever for the last 11 miles. Next, he did the XTERRA SoCal Series, where he won six of the eight races and set a course record on five of them.

“On Sunday, Anthony literally ran to the race from Huntington Beach,” said race director Brennan Lindner. “After running three very tough legs of the Ragnar on Friday, Friday night, and very early Saturday morning, he pretty much blistered the rest of the field at Black Mountain.”

Fagundes raced at altitude for the first time at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Snowbasin, Utah where he finished 8th.

Last month, he finished 7th in the Way Too Cool 50K in Cool, Calfornia, which was his first ultra run.  He was surprised when he looked over at a runner he was passing and realized it was 2015 XTERRA Trail Run World Champ, Patrick Smyth.“He must have been having a bad day,” said Fagundes.

“No one knew who I was at that race, but I like being the underdog. I show up and people are like, who’s this guy?”

When he’s not shattering records, Fagundes is a bicycle courier. “I like to think of it as paid cross-training. Most of the other couriers race bikes and I’m the only one who runs. But I really noticed my fitness coming together after riding so much.”

His goal for the rest of the year is to run at the XTERRA World Championship on Oahu and hopefully, secure a few sponsors and a coach. “Right now, I just look at what the fast guys do and imitate them. I like to have fun with it.”

On the women’s side, professional triathlete and coach, Lesley Paterson, won the 15K in 1:07, which was 9th place overall. The two-time XTERRA World Champion won XTERRA Tahiti, XTERRA France, and XTERRA Italy in 2016.

“It’s always cool to do just one event,” said Paterson. “And since running is my first passion, it’s a bonus that I got to do a trail run. Plus I get a chance to see and meet a whole new XTERRA community.”

Paterson’s first book will be coming out June 8th, titled, The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion. It’s available for pre-order here.

View the complete results.

The XTERRA Black Mountain Trail Run is the fifth race in the XTERRA SoCal Series. The final race is XTERRA  Malibu Creek on May 20th.

Green Flash Lights Up XTERRA Seneca Creek 

Runners at the XTERRA Seneca Creek 5K/10K were surprised by the Green Flash that showed up at the start. Not to be confused with greenish glow at sunset, this Green Flash was the BelieveinMe Family Running Club (its youth program is nicknamed The Green Flash) from Frederick, Maryland.

“I really want to give a shout out to the Green Flash cross country team for bringing out a huge group to the 5k,” said race director Jefferson Nicholson. “It’s great to see so many youth entering the endurance running sport. Most of our 16 and under runners were from that club.”

The men’s 5K went to Varun Misha, who won in 22:04. Coming in second was ten-year old Raymond Cobb, who ran 25:43. Raymond has been running with the BelieveinMe club since he was five.  The women’s race was won in 26:07 by one of Raymond’s coaches, Mary LaRocco, and second place went to his teammate Sydney O’Clery with a time of 27:12.

“We’re all about family distance running,” said head coach Darcy Strouse. “Today at XTERRA Seneca Creek we had 12-year old Sydney come in second while her brother Blake won his 15-19 age group. Their father Doug was first for his 50-54 age group.”

Coach Darcy, as she is known, is a developmental psychologist and sports psychology consultant. An elite masters runner in her own right, she founded BelieveinMe because she was seeing too many high school and college athletes burn out from the pressure.

“We do a lot of trail running because it’s so healthy. It strengthens tendons and ligaments, we’re out in nature, and it’s soft to keep them from getting injured. If you run on trails, you can do it forever.”

View 5K results here.

While the 10K didn’t feature as many speedy kids in green, it was another close race between Iain Banks and Evan Daney.

“The top two 10k finishers were neck and neck through the whole course,” said Nicholson. “Iain Banks finished just a tenth of a second ahead to win it.”

“We literally ran stride for stride at the front of the race for the entire course and both knew it was going to come to the final mile to see if either one of us could crack the other,” said Banks. “I did have the advantage in that I raced and won on this course in 2016 so I knew  how close the finish line was from the final corner.  I made sure to get to that corner first and started the sprint early. It was so close coming across the line that no-one could even guess who won and it all came down to the timing chips across the mat.”

This was the second match-up between Banks and Daney. In last month’s XTERRA Brandywine, it was Daney who won by a second, coming in at 50:15 to Banks’ 50:16. 

“I am sure we will meet again and push each other for the rest of the series,” said Banks. “I’m just glad we aren’t in the same age group.”

In the women’s race, Alison Knight made it look easy, finishing in 45:42, nearly two minutes ahead of runner-up Rachel Layer. 2016 XTERRA Regional Champ, Diane Magill, won her 40-44 age group handily in 56:06.

View complete results here.

XTERRA Seneca Creek is the second race in the XTERRA Atlantic Series. Next up is XTERRA Lums Pond 12K/5K on May 7th in Bear, Delaware.

Photos courtesy of Greg Strouse

First Annual XTERRA Phuket Trail Run

The first annual XTERRA Phuket Trail Run event was a tremendous success. Included in the festival of races were a 30K and 12K for diehards and a 3K for children and families. The tropical paradise of Phuket offers a one of a kind course, allowing runners to run through forest and farmland as well as steep hills that overlook the crystal waters of the Andaman Sea.

“We wanted an event that was suitable for running pros as well as families,” said race director Serge Henkens. “As a result, elite athletes flew over the course and old friends had a chance to jog and run through our beautiful land.”

The course included both double and single track, rolling hills, steep climbs, and stunning views. “We selected the trails and made them a challenge, yet very scenic,” said course designer, Fausto Izquiel. “Competitors raced through rural communities of peaceful Muslim and Buddhist farmers who preserve our Thai traditions. And they also experienced our magical forests and wildlife.”

Harry Jones won the 30K in 2:12:49 with fellow Brit Jon Campbell coming in second in 2:46:42. Third place went to Carole Fuchs of France, who crossed the line in 2:48:37.  Sutinee Rasp of Thailand was second for the women in 3:30:01.

See photos of the race and view results. 

Ambassador Clark Jackson on Beating Cancer and Max King

In December of 2016, XTERRA Ambassador Clark Jackson finally met his goal of winning his 60-64 age group in the XTERRA World Championship Trail Run in Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii.

“It took me 10 years to win that thing,” says Jackson. “A couple of years ago, I went to a motivational class for work and we had to write down our goals. I wrote down that I wanted to be the XTERRA World Trail Run Champion and the instructor said I should pick a more realistic goal. I thought, ‘Well, maybe this isn’t the motivational class for me.’”

Rather than believe his instructor, Jackson trained harder. “That guy got me fired up,” says Jackson. “Nothing makes me work harder than someone telling me I can’t do something.”

Clark Jackson had an unlikely start to his running career. He competed well in high school track but wasn’t recruited by any college coaches. He went to Hampton University without a scholarship or a spot on the track team. “One day, after class, I was in my jeans and tee shirt and the men’s track team went running by, and I just decided to join them. The coach took one look at me in my street clothes and he handed me a jersey and said, ‘You’re on the team.’” After the third race, not only was Jackson on the team, but he was also the captain – a role he kept for the rest of his career at Hampton University where he still holds the records in the two and three mile events. 

While he’s obviously a natural, Jackson stopped running when he was 28 and didn’t begin again until he was 50. “One day, I went up a flight of stairs and was out of breath,” says Jackson, “So I went to the doctor and he gave me all these prescriptions. I was like, ‘What is all this?’ and the doctor said it was either take the medicine or start exercising. So I started exercising. The only thing I knew how to do was run.”

 It turned out that running was enough. Soon after he began running, Jackson found XTERRA and signed up for as many races as he could.

 “I pulled out all my old college gear,” says Jackson. “You know, those tube socks with the stripes and those really tight shorts? My sister took one look at me and said, ‘We gotta take you shopping.’ I think I embarrassed the entire family. Maybe my wife burned my old running clothes because I can’t find them any more.”

Jackson fell in love with XTERRA races right from the start. “When you do road races, you want to beat everyone,” he said. “But on the trails, you just want to make it through the race. In XTERRA, I’m not running against the other guy. I’m trying to get the best performance out of myself. So at the end of an XTERRA race, I know I did my best. And your best is always good enough.”

 Jackson found the other athletes at XTERRA events to be friendly and helpful. At the end of the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Ogden Utah in 2012, he and Champion Max King had a conversation about heat training and salt supplements. “I was trying to keep my blood pressure down by skipping the supplements, but The King told me I couldn’t do that. Max also taught me that in order to get used to the altitude in Utah and heat in Hawaii, I needed to show up to the races earlier. If I focused more on acclimating, I could focus less on recovering.”

Max King’s advice worked, and in 2016, Clark Jackson won his 60-64 age group at the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship. “I sent that old motivational coach an email. And I may have mentioned something about realistic goals.”

Unfortunately, Jackson’s joy was short lived. On the Thursday after the race, while Christmas shopping, Clark Jackson got a phone call from his doctor who told him that he had prostate cancer. “The worst part was that my phone died in the middle of the conversation and I didn’t know how bad the cancer was,” Jackson says. I had to do all my Christmas shopping before I could find out.”

Jackson and his wife kept his diagnosis a secret through the holidays so his family wouldn’t worry. “I didn’t want my kids upset for Christmas.” In the meantime, Jackson set up the necessary appointments with his doctor and followed up with radiation therapy.

“Yeah,” Jackson admits. “It was stressful. But I just scheduled more races and trained harder to keep my mind off of it. I signed up for the Fort Eustis 10K Run/Ruck where we had to carry a weighted rucksack like the military. I got second overall and the winning guy was only 27. All the soldiers were breaking down at mile four and I was just getting started.” He adds that the winner of the race wanted a rematch but Jackson had to explain that he couldn’t because he would be coming out of cancer treatment.

Jackson underwent brachytherapy – a type of radiation treatment –  but says that he wasn’t worried about the future or his prognosis. “I just focused on getting my mind and body right,” said Jackson. “Some of my friends started a prayer warrior group, so I felt like I was in good hands. They came back and told me everything would be all right, and I said, ‘I know.’ I never got depressed or thought I wouldn’t recover.”

 The biggest problem for Clark Jackson is that he’s had to cut his runs short during his treatment. “But it hasn’t slowed me down,” he says. In fact, he just signed up for XTERRA Nationals and XTERRA Worlds in 2017 as well as the Ragnar Relay in Pennsylvania with fellow XTERRA Ambassador Jaclyn Shokey. “Guess what leg she gave me?” Jackson asks and then answers his own question. “Twelve! I said, ‘I’m supposed to be recovering from cancer and you gave me the twelfth leg?’”

But Clark Jackson doesn’t really seem very upset by this. In fact, he’s already planning for the future. “You know what I’m waiting for?” he asks. “I’m waiting for Max King to get old enough, and then we’re going to race.”

Photo courtesy of MyXTERRAPhotos.com

XTERRA Rotorua and Wellington Trail Runs in New Zealand

This weekend, XTERRA heads to Rotorua, New Zealand for the XTERRA Rotorua Trail Run 5.5/11/21K, at Blue Lake. The day promises to be a festival of trail running and mountain biking on beautiful and beginner-friendly courses.

Rotorua is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, and you will find evidence of volcanoes everywhere you look from the rocks to natural geysers and geothermal vents. The city is also the cultural home of the Te Arawa people, who settled in its lakeside geothermal areas more than 600 years ago.

“XTERAA Rotorua has something for everyone,” said race director Mike Thomason. “Whether you want to walk and enjoy the beautiful forests or try for a PR, you will have a great day at Rotorua.” He adds that the trail run takes place the day after the XTERRA New Zealand off-road triathlon, which brings some of the best athletes to the region.

The following day, XTERRA heads south to Wellington for the XTERRA Wellington Trail Run on April 9th. The event – one of five XTERRA Trail runs in Wellington – is held in Rimutaka Forest Park, which is a huge natural area filled with native plans and birds like kiwis, tui, kaka, and ruru as well as deer and goats, despite the fact that it’s close to the city. The compact city of Wellington, close to both the harbor and the hills, is ideal for exploring cafes, museums, and shops.

“The running is pretty technical in places and calls for a high degree of skill if you want to keep moving quickly,” said Thomason. “There is no vehicle access over much of the course so if you get injured, it’s a helicopter for you. That’s how we roll in New Zealand.”

The Long Course 21K can be broken down into four stages. The first 5K is a mix of technical and open running with a few, short climbs. The second 5K continues climbing into the forest with a gorgeous view out over the ocean on the South Island. The third 5K is great bush running, technical and fast in places, with a trick y descent. The final 5K is wide open on hard-packed trail that heads downhill. If you have anything left, this is a great place to gun it.

“XTERRA Wellington is the spiritual home of New Zealand,” said Thomason. “We ran our first ever event here. It’s just so beautiful. You get dense, thick bush, fantastic ridgelines, and some technical sections that challenge the most accomplished trail runners. Everyone comes back a little bit bruised, dirty, and tired, but with a huge smile on their face.”

You can learn more about the XTERRA Wellington Trail Run Series here. Or, contact Mike at xterrawellington@splashanddash.co.nz.

Crystal Davis Takes the Blackwater 21K

Crystal Davis didn’t just win the women’s division of the XTERRA Blackwater 21K on April 1st in Milton Florida. She won the entire race, beating the field of 41 runners with the time of 1:30:35.

“Coming away with the overall victory was a shock,” said Davis. “We had a group of about five of us for the first half and it dwindled down to me and another runner pacing off each other while the lead runner at the time stretched his lead about thirty seconds out from us. I felt really strong in the last four miles so I started pushing the pace. With two miles to go, I caught up with the lead runner and put it all out there.”

Davis is a stay-at-home mother to two children, ages four and two. She was an 18-year old freshman at the University of South Alabama on a track scholarship when she discovered she was pregnant.  Her husband is in the Navy, so she made the decision to focus on her family and put her promising running career on hold.

“I always wondered what I could have done,” said Davis. “So last year, when my husband went on a seven-month deployment, running became my outlet. I bundled my kids in the double stroller and made it my goal to compete in every distance I could with them. “

Davis even did the Hellcat 30K Trail Run while pushing them and won overall. She has the stroller world record in all distances from the 5K to the marathon and is the first female to qualify for the Boston Marathon while pushing a stroller.

“When it comes to beating the guys or the gals, it makes no difference to me,” said Davis. “I race to be an example to my kids and to show them that nothing is impossible. It is because of them that I am the athlete I am today. I race to show moms and girls out there that gender makes no difference in who is supposed to win. I believe hard work, passion, discipline, dedication, humility and faith is the foundation to success for everyone.”

Second place finisher, Logan Roberts was just two-tenths of a second behind Davis and led for most of the race, which was located in Blackwater Forest State Forest. The 21K course was staged around Bear Lake and consisted primarily of single track on the hiking and mountain bike trails in the park.

“Ben Dillon and his crew did a marvelous job with course marking, aid stations, and organizing the start,” said XTERRA Ambassador Jay Lund, who finished seventh with a time of 1:43:58. “I appreciate that the race started in a parking lot to allow proper spacing of sequencing of runners before we hit the single track. Once in the woods, it was all trails. We crossed streams and ran under a forest canopy that gave us a sense of the sheer awesomeness of the area.”

Lund, like Davis, is a member of the military. He entered the army at the age of 28 and was forced to run. “I was never a runner,” said Lund. “And when I say ‘never,’ I mean never. I quit as soon as my enlistment was over.”

While Lund found it easy to give up running, what he wouldn’t let him go were the psychological and emotional scars resulting from several combat and high-risk deployments. “At first I hoped the flashbacks and horrific thoughts were temporary, something that would eventually fizzle out. But as my life choices led me down some dark paths, I knew I needed some help.”

 Lund found that it was easy to get medication for PTSD but he decided he wanted a more natural solution. “I needed something I could do by myself or in a community that would push me physically like the military but that would also bring me a sense of spiritual connection.

It took Lund one experimental run on a Florida trail two years ago, and he knew he had found a source of healing. As another experiment, Lund signed up for the XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series. “I was surprised to find out that I won my 45-49 age group in the overall series standing, and had the opportunity to race in the XTERRA National Trail Run Championship in Utah. Without question, I accepted the invite. It was this experience at Snowbasin that led me to love the XTERRA culture and vibe and run as much as possible.”

The next race in the XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series is the XTERRA Claw Run 16K/8K on May 7th