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.


“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.


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

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.


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

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

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

Mandje Takes Back-to-Back XTERRA Victories

Win in Colorado, followed by win at Lake Las Vegas

It was quite a back-to-back weekend of wins for Roberto Mandje. The 31-year-old Olympian won the 21-kilometer XTERRA Lake Las Vegas Trail Run on Sunday, April 14, just eight days after winning the 12K division of the XTERRA Cheyenne Mountain Trail Run in Colorado.

Roberto Mandje“I decided to put these two (as well as a few other XTERRA events) in my schedule around February,” Mandje explained. “I was in the middle of the winter lull, and looking to find some races that would both excite me and help get me out the door.”

He not only got out the door, he blew it down with convincing victories in both races. He won the 12K race in Colorado by nearly four minutes, then won the 21K race in Las Vegas by nearly six minutes while setting a new course record.

Making it more impressive was the change in scenery between the two venues, not to mention the 12-plus hour drive from Boulder, Colorado, to Las Vegas.

“The conditions were quite different,” Mandje said. “XTERRA Cheyenne was at a much higher elevation (6-7,000 feet) with much cooler conditions. I’ve always been a pretty good warm weather runner, so I wasn’t particularly concerned with going from winter racing in Colorado to the desert heat of Las Vegas the following week. I came away from Cheyenne Mountain a bit sore, and mainly focused on recovery in between the two races with easy running and some hard strides.”

Mandje represented Equatorial Guinea in the 1,500-meter race at the 2004 Olympics , and he is training in Colorado to qualify for the 2016 Games, possibly in the marathon event.

His introduction to XTERRA Trail Runs came just last December, when he placed seventh in the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii. That experience encouraged him to seek out more XTERRA adventures in 2013.

“Despite my disappointing finish at the World Championships, I very much enjoyed my first and only foray into the XTERRA scene and therefore wanted to explore those races further,” he said.

Mandje said he also plans to compete in the XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Runs next month at Pelham, Alabama, and then the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Ogden, Utah, in September, and the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Hawaii in November.

“The big picture and main reason why I’m still in Boulder, Colorado, is to train towards the 2016 Olympic Games,” he said. “As of now, I’d probably focus on the marathon distance. I believe these longer and more challenging XTERRA courses and events will help strengthen me and ease the transition towards the longer distances down the road.”

Read more about Mandje’s XTERRA experience on his blog:

Colorado Series Gets Back to Action After Winter Break

Seng and Nelson take top honors at Cheyenne Mountain

After a six-month break, the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series returned in style this month. Nearly 300 runners were treated to cool conditions and challenging trails in the XTERRA Cheyenne Mountain Trail Run, which was completed on April 6 at Cheyenne Mountain State Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Cheyenne Mountain RunnersBrad Seng and Shelley Nelson took top honors as the top male and female, respectively, for the 24-kilometer long course. There was also a 12K course and a 5K course.

Seng, who is 43 and resides in Boulder, Colorado, completed the 24K course in 1 hour, 34 minutes, 13 seconds. He said he took the lead midway through the course, then held off the other contenders down the stretch.

“Within the first 3K or so of the second loop, we started to hit some gradual climbing and technical terrain, and that’s where I decided to see if I could get my turnover going a little bit and close the gaps, and I did,” Seng said.

Seng is a professional road triathlete who recently started entering trail races. “I’m fairly new to trail running, so I’m trying to learn some of the skills,” he said. “It’s a very different technique from being on the roads. I’m just getting into trail running and having a blast with it.”

The top four runners finished within 42 seconds of each other. Lars Kjerengtroen was second in 1:34:18 (five second behind Seng), followed by Dan Vega in 1:34:36, and Leo Castillo in 1:34:54.

Nelson placed 18th overall and finished with a time of 1:57:28. She finished nearly five minutes ahead of the other top females.

“It was beautiful,” said Nelson, who is 33 and resides in Denver. “Two loop course. The first loop we had all the 12K-ers out there with us pushing us very hard, so that was fun. The second loop was kind of by ourselves, so it went by a lot faster. It was great. Weather was perfect.”

Roberto Mandje from Boulder placed first overall for the 12K course with a time of 46:48. He said he was as far back as sixth place midway through the course, but he rallied with a late surge and ended up winning by nearly a minute.

Jenni Leppert from Colorado Springs was the top female in the 12K with a time of 52:48.


The XTERRA Cheyenne Mountain Trail Run was the second of five events in the 2012-13 season for the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series. The season opener took place last October, and then the series took a winter break to avoid the extreme cold conditions in Colorado.

The next race in the Colorado Series will be the XTERRA Turkey Track Trail Run on June 15 at Pagosa Springs, Colorado. To register for a race in the series or to learn more about it, please visit

2013 XTERRA Virginia Series is Underway

The 2013 XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series got off to an adventurous start last weekend. An issue with some of the directional signs along the course created an interesting finish at the XTERRA Hungry Mother Trail Run.

Mark WallaceThe event was completed on Saturday, April 6, at Hungry Mother State Park in Marion, Virginia. It was the first of three races in the 2013 XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series.

A pair of runners from North Carolina took top honors. Mark Wallace from Reidsville, N.C., was the surprised overall winner, and Amber Reece-Young from Skyland, N.C., was the determined female winner. Wallace completed the 12-kilometer course in 1 hour, 17 minutes, 27 seconds.

“I was surprised to hear that I had finished first,” he said. “There had been some confusion early in the race with some signage issues, so I had no idea how many runners were ahead of us.”

Wallace ran behind Clark Jackson for most of the course, then took the lead for good with a late surge. “I had just enough kick left to pull ahead of him for the first time on the final flat stretch leading up to the finish line,” Wallace said.

Jackson, who is 56 and resides in Charlottesville, Virginia, finished with a time of 1:17:32, which was five seconds behind Wallace.

“It made for an exciting finish,” Jackson said. “He just passed me going into the final stretch.  We talked to each other a lot during the race. I told him to watch out for the ice on the bridge, and we laughed about having to run about an extra mile due to a wrong turn.”

Reece-Young placed third overall and was the top female with a time of 1:18:06. She was with a different group of lead runners that was led astray by an incorrect sign early in the course.

“Unfortunately, someone changed the directional signs during the night and sent over half the field off-course,” she explained. “At the time, I was in second place overall (first female) and feeling relaxed. I had reviewed the course map the night before, but was in the zone and didn’t realize that the signs had been changed until I had gone three-fourths of a mile the wrong way. Once I realized it, I shouted out to those around me and we backtracked to hit the right trail. I took this as a mental toughness test and dug even deeper to try to get back to a solid pace. It took quite a while to catch up with the rest of the field but I gradually caught them one by one.”

Wrong turn aside, Reece-Young is no stranger to fast finishes at XTERRA races. She placed second at the 2012 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship (she was known as Amber Moran at the time) in Hawaii.

Ryan Woods from Boone, N.C., was far ahead of the field when the wrong turn occurred, but he did not turn around with the rest of the group. He was not given a finishing time.

In addition to the 12K course, there was also a 9.5-kilometer course. Chris Reece-Young, Amber’s husband, was the overall winner of the 9.5K with a time of 1:01:28.


The next race in the Virginia Series will be the XTERRA Fairy Stone Trail Run at Stuart, Virginia, on April 27. To register for a race in the series or to learn more about it, please or

XTERRA Trail Runs Growing in New Zealand

The popularity of an XTERRA Trail Run Series is not limited to the United States. The XTERRA Wellington Trail Run Series has become a running success in New Zealand, and a new season is about to begin.

New Zealand RunnersThe XTERRA Mad Makara Trail Run is set for April 21, and it will be the first of four races in the 2013 XTERRA Wellington Trail Run Series.

“We are expecting 400 runners and walkers at each of the events in the series,” said Evelyn Williamson, one of the directors of the series. “This has grown from our first year, five years ago, when we had around 150 at each event.”

In an effort to cater to the various levels of runners, each race in the series offers at least three course options. The short courses usually ranges from 5 to 7 kilometers, the medium courses range from 10 to 13 kilometers, and the long courses usually cover 16 to 22 kilometers.

The real draw of the series is the natural landscape of Wellington. The four races in the series are held at four different locations, and each event offers unique challenges.

“The trails are all variable, which is the beauty of Wellington,” Williamson said. “Some are through pristine native bush, and others are on exposed bluffs overlooking the Tasman sea or Pacific Ocean, and some are over lush farmland and pine forest.

“Many of the events have stream crossings, and the wind farm trails will also involve a bit of rock scrambling along the west coast and a couple of kilometers of running on pebbles and stones.  We try to keep the shorter courses a little easier and more attainable, while we put in some grunty climbs for our longer runners to sort the mice from the wo(men).  Sometimes the harder we make things the more our participants love it…..go figure.”

The four races in the series will be held in the months of April, May and June – which is the Fall season in New Zealand. “We have tried the series in spring and in winter and have found this to be the best and safest time of the year to do it in this region,” Williamson said.

To learn more about the XTERRA Wellilngton Trail Run Series, please visit

XTERRA Atlantic Series Continues to Impress

The XTERRA Atlantic Trail Run Series continued to impress, as the second race in the series once again received rave reviews from runners.

Seneca CreekThe XTERRA Seneca Creek Trail Run drew close to 200 runners from eight different states to Seneca Creek State Park in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Preston Campbell from Annapolis, Maryland, was the overall winner, completing the 10-kilometer course in 38 minutes flat. He is a Navy helicopter pilot who entered the event as part of his training as a triathlete.

“I pulled away from the leaders on the first hill and continued to widen the gap on every hill from there on,” he said. “I had no idea I was that far ahead, but I sure am grateful for all of the hill training I did in the off season.”

Campbell’s wife, Leonie, also entered the race, and she placed second overall in the women’s field. She is also a triathlete – a member of the Marine Corps triathlon team.

“Leonie and I had a great time at the race,” Preston said. “We really enjoyed the friendly atmosphere at the race and the unique awards.”

Lauren Rhatigan from Ship Bottom, New Jersey, was the top overall female, finishing with a time of 47:32. Leonie Campbell was a close second at 47:45.

Grant Farrell from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, placed second overall among the men, finishing with a time of 39:21. He entered several races in the XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series last year, and was glad to see the creation of the Atlantic Series to add to his race schedule.

Farrell said he drove two hours from his home to get to the race. “That’s actually the same, or closer, for me than some of the races in the Pocono Series, and the races have been well worth the drive,” he said.


The age-group winners received hand-carved wood trophies, as well as commemorative drink glasses.

The XTERRA Seneca Creek Trail Run was the second of four races in the 2013 season for the XTERRA Atlantic Trail Run Series. The next race in the series will be the XTERRA Lums Pond Trail Run in Bear, Delaware, on May 25. To register for a race in the series or to learn more about it, please visit