Penelope Freedman

Q&A with Trail Runner Penelope Freedman

Penelope Freedman finished 3rd for the women at the 2015 Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Running World Championship. This weekend, she is tackling a challenge that’s a little closer to home at the 2016 Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Running National Championship in Ogden, Utah. We checked in with her before the big race on Sunday.

XTERRA: Why did you want to come race at the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run Nationals event?

Penelope: I am excited to run this race because of the location and just to be part of another XTERRA event. Every XTERRA event I have participated in has been extremely well organized and has made me feel very welcome. I am also particularly excited about the location. Having been a former competitive snowboarder, I have snowboarded at Snowbasin and spent lots of time snowboarding all over Utah during winter. However, I have never been spent any time in the summer at gorgeous SnowBasin, so it should be interesting to see the mountain from a different perspective.

XT: Do you have any specific goals for the race?

PF: I try not to put any expectations on myself during races because that could set me up for feeling like I failed if I don’t meet those expectations. I train very hard and try and set realistic goals for myself. I would like to be among the top 5 women to finish at XTERRA Trail Run Nationals.

XT: What has your 2016 racing schedule looked like so far?

PF: I have had a very interesting season!….The first part of my race season (May – June) I raced 3 weekends in a row; all in highly competitive races with a strong professional field. I believe pushing myself so hard at the start of the season contributed to a sciatic nerve injury, which I am now recovering from, so that has been a bit stressful.

The last 2 months I spent on the East Coast (for work; as well as 2 weeks coaching at a Nike Trail Running camp in New Hampshire) so I did not get to do as much altitude and mountain running as I would have liked. On the other hand, my coach worked a lot with me on improving my speed during that time so I definitely feel like that has improved vastly. It should be interesting to see how that translates into the XTERRA Nationals Race.

XT: Can you tell us a little about your running achievements?

PF: Some of my results I’m proud of this year include .

3rd overall female in the Pro-division at the Park city Discrete Peak series half marathon.

5th place overall female @ the Go-pro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado

1st place overall female @ local Howelson Hill 8miler trail run in hometown Steamboat Springs

XT: How will it be to race at elevation?

PF: The elevation is almost Identical to Steamboat so in that regard I have an advantage to competitors traveling from lower elevations. Again, I myself have trained at sea level most of the summer and only been back in Steamboat for a few weeks, so that makes me a little nervous.

XT: What do you do when you aren’t running?

PF: It is extremely expensive living in Steamboat so I, like everyone else, often have two or three jobs. I own a raw, gluten free, vegan, super-food company producing energy bars, vegan cheese, chocolates, etc… and distribute and sell locally. The Company is called Kenchuto Bliss. I also coach the local triathlon team in all their track workouts. In addition I nanny for a 5 year old and family’s hire me out to privately to coach snowboarding during the winter.

XT: What is your favorite thing about trail running?

PF: I love trail running as it is just another excuse to get into the mountains and experience them from a different perspective than snowboarding. Mountains are my number one passion and one of the greatest ways to express my joy for living is through trail running. I love the serenity and silent strength of the mountains and the humbling respect and fragility of life I experience through all the sports I do in the mountains.

XT: What is your game plan for Sunday?

PF: Having never done this course before and having no expectations for the outcome, my main game-plan is to HAVE FUN and make some new friends.


The Off-road to Nationals with Adriana Nieves

By Devin P. Quinn

XTERRA Trail Run Ambassador Adriana Nieves is headed to the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run National Championships for her fourth time this year after once again achieving the title of XTERRA Florida Regional Champion. Adriana—mother of four and grandmother of three—has built an impressive racing résumé over the last few years in the Florida and Puerto Rico series, steadily climbing her way up the competitive hierarchy from running newcomer to seasoned champion.

Adriana started running in 2009 just as a way to stay in shape, starting with 5k races and gradually building her abilities and confidence until she set her sights on half-marathon races the next year. The following year yielded a serendipitous introduction that would chart the course of her running career. “My husband was the one that actually discovered the XTERRA races,” recounts Nieves. “He suggested one in Tampa and after the first one in November 2011, I was hooked! I loved running on trails and really enjoyed the atmosphere.” The rest is history. In 2014 Adriana sealed her ascension to the competitive level at a Puerto Rico race, finishing as the 2nd overall female in one of her proudest racing moments.

Despite her level of achievement, the road to Nationals this year was no cakewalk for Nieves. “The competition in the Florida series is pretty stiff,” she explains. “The Tampa area races are challenging which draws a competitive crowd.  There are some amazing athletes racing.” Nevertheless, after a strong performance in Miami, Adriana was reasonably confident in her position. “It’s exciting to see the points build after each race,” she says, and build they did: once again, Adriana emerged victorious from a talented field as Florida Regional Champion.

With the journey complete, Adriana is ready to enjoy the destination. “Coming from the Florida heat, I LOVE the weather in Utah this time of year,” she gushes. “The course at Snowbasin is perfect trail running. Ogden is a lovely town and the race expo is always fun.” Adriana has just one concern: the altitude—which, she admits, “usually kicks my behind.” After suffering headaches and nausea from altitude sickness at her first Nationals, Nieves emphasizes the importance of acclimatization to Snowbasin’s elevation. “To prepare for Nationals, it’s all about getting acclimated to the elevation.  There’s NO WAY to prepare for that in Florida, so what I do is arrive in Ogden on Thursday and use Friday and Saturday to spend time hiking at the much higher elevations.” A savvy tip from a resourceful champion—Nationals newcomers take heed.

Ultimately, Adriana takes an appreciative perspective, advising runners to relax and enjoy themselves. “It’s a beautiful course—when you get to the top, take a moment to look at that view and appreciate the beauty of life and the blessing of good health.”

The Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run National Championship will take place on September 18th at the Snowbasin Resort in Ogden, Utah.

By Devin P. Quinn
XTERRA Trail Running Intern

Travis Morrison

Q&A with Trail Runner Travis Morrison

With the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run National Championship taking place this Sunday at Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah we caught up with one of the contenders Travis Morrison, a 24-year-old from Chicago, Illinois working towards his PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Utah, who finished 2nd to Patrick Smyth at last year’s Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Running National Championship race.  A lot has changed for Morrison since that day, but his joy of running in the mountains is the same.  Here he explains…

XTERRA: Travis, can you bring us up-to-date on your running exploits since last year’s race?

Travis Morrison: Running is going okay. After XTERRA last fall I was working towards an Olympic Trials qualifier, but I got so sick of chasing accolades/times/places/prize money that I took seven months off from training. It’s easy to burn out in this sport post-college without a team because your attention turns towards selfish accolades and accomplishments. I took the time to figure out again why I was running and I if I wanted to continue. Turning to the mountains and looking for adventure made me happy, therefore I began doing monster adventure runs (Uinta Highline, Bryce Traverse, etc…) With this switch back to just having fun with running I’m beginning to love the sport again. The past couple months I have been running a decent amount, and now am toying with the idea of getting back into serious shape for next year.

XT: And school, how is that?

TM: My PhD is going great. I started work last spring in an Environmental Fluid Dynamics lab working with Dr. Eric Pardyjak and Marc Calaf. The research/TA/class schedule keeps me busy, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything at the moment.

XT: How hard is it managing school and running, are you staying healthy?

TM: Healthy? Getting a PhD fortunately doesn’t let you train enough to get hurt 😉

XT: What made you want to do this race again?

TM: I just love racing in the mountains. Times don’t matter and trail races usually attract the kind of people that are just looking for a good time.

XT: Any thoughts on what it would take to beat Patrick Smyth and win this thing?

TM: To beat Smyth? I’m not really sure what it would take to beat him, but as you can probably predict with my previous answers, I’m not really interested in caring all that much either. Running is sport that is about self-mastery, and self-discovery. If you focus on what other people are doing or are caught up about beating someone you’re running for the wrong reasons. 99% of runners are not going to make a living off of their talents, so might as well have fun in the process and let the outcome take care of itself.

XT: Any advice for racers coming from sea-level on dealing with altitude here in Utah?

TM: I’m from Chicago myself and went back and forth between altitude and flatland all through college. My approach to the matter is simple … it is what it is. The science is there, and fact is, there’s less oxygen in the air at higher altitudes, so you’re going to run slower. But it is out of your control. Give the best effort that you can, just like you would at sea level. Focusing on the uncontrollables just adds prerace stress and can hurt your performance.

XT: Any spots or climbs on the course that require special attention?

TM: If I remember correctly, there’s a couple gnarly little climbs. The second one in particular I remember being tough. With that said, the whole course is runnable, super smooth and flowy, which makes it super-fast and fun.

XT: Why do you like about trail running?

TM: Trail running is great because times do not matter. No course has equal climbs, technical sections, down hills, turns, or whatever you can think that makes this course unique. Therefore, it’s a lot easier to have no expectations, have fun and see what happens. Also, grinding it out with great views is always better than trying to pound out steady 5-minute miles on the Jordan river trail.

XT: Do you miss those Chicago winters?

TM: Definitely not. The warm dry winters here in the valley are great for training.  It’s also great if you love to ski. Never forget the highest VO2 maxes ever recorded come from those strong nordic skiers!

Thanks for the opportunity and let me know if Xterra would be able to help accommodate me!

Kapalua Run

T S Restaurants Enter 6th Year of XTERRA Partnership

Honolulu, HI – For the sixth straight year T S Restaurants Hula Grill, Duke’s Beach House, Kimo’s and Leilani’s will serve as title sponsors of the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs in Maui.

With four runs to choose from there is a distance and challenge for every member of the family.  Go big or start small with Kimo’s XTERRA Keiki K, Leilani’s XTERRA 2.5K Sprint & Beach Scramble, the Hula Grill XTERRA 5K or Duke’s Beach House XTERRA 10K trail runs.

Held in conjunction with the 21st running of the XTERRA World Championship triathlon, the Kapalua runs are an opportunity for outdoor enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels to get involved and experience the legendary XTERRA run course.

The Kimo’s XTERRA Keiki Run is for boys and girls ages 10 and younger. It is free, although parents must be present to sign a waiver form at the site of the race. Race distances vary from 100 yards to 1-kilometer, depending on the age of the child. Parents are welcome to stay on the course as well.

The NEW Leilani’s XTERRA 2.5K Sprint & Scramble is a test of agility, speed, and strength as it goes from the Ritz to the Ravine to the soft sand of D.T. Fleming Beach.  Kids 8-12 run for free, but it’s open to everyone.

The Hula Grill XTERRA 5K is an honest three-miles of climbing and descending and for those up to the challenge, the Duke’s Beach House XTERRA 10K dishes out big hills and dusty trails as it twists through oleander forests to an unexpected mountain lake at the 700-foot level then sends runners crashing down to the shoreline.

“They are all awesome races, and the vibe around The Ritz-Carlton rocks on Saturday morning,” said XTERRA President Janet Clark.

In addition to the trail runs a Paul Mitchell cut-a-thon will be held at the site of the race where runners and spectators alike are welcome to get their hair cut by professional Paul Mitchell stylists, with all donations benefitting the Challenged Athlete Foundation.

More than 1,000 runners from around the world will take part in one of the four events, and to the winners go the spoils as the first-place man and woman overall and the first-place male and female Maui resident (if different) in the 10K, 5K, and 2.5K win T S Restaurant gift certificates worth $100.

There is also an internal struggle going on, as employees from T S Restaurants created a race within a race dubbed “The T S Restaurants XTERRA Challenge” in which each of the four restaurants field a team of 10 runners; and the team with the fastest cumulative time from their best five runners in the 5K take home the coveted TS Trophy.

Last year Kimo’s captured the perpetual trophy for the second straight year and have it proudly displayed in their restaurant for all to see.  Hula Grill won the titles in 2012 & 2013 and Duke’s Beach House captured the inaugural challenge in 2011.

All four T S Restaurants also sponsor local teachers with complimentary entries into the run.

“It’s all about celebrating the healthy, active, outdoors lifestyle with our employees and our community,” said Tammy Fukagawa, Executive Vice President for T S Restaurants.

Hula Grill, Duke’s Beach House, Kimo’s and Leilani’s are four of Maui’s finest restaurants, and all are located within a short driving distance of Kapalua.

“The unique feeling and setting of West Maui is exhibited at each of these four restaurants, and it is in keeping with what the XTERRA athletes and their families have come to expect when they get to the island of Maui,” XTERRA President Clark said. “Dining at any, or all, of these restaurants can only enhance the experience for our athletes, whether it be eating a pre-race meal or celebrating with a post-race meal.”

Find more information, last year’s results, and links to registration online at:

About T S Restaurants of Hawaii and California

Founded in 1977 by Rob Thibaut and Sandy Saxten, T S Restaurants owns and operates 13 restaurants in Hawaii and California, including Duke’s Waikiki and Hula Grill Waikiki on Oahu; Kimo’s, Leilani’s on the Beach, Hula Grill Kaanapali and Duke’s Beach House on Maui; Duke’s Kauai and Keoki’s Paradise on Kauai; and Jake’s Del Mar, Sunnyside Restaurant and Lodge, Duke’s La Jolla, Duke’s Huntington Beach and Duke’s Malibu in California.  For more information visit

About TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA

TEAM Unlimited LLC, founded in 1988, is the Hawaii-based television, events, and marketing company that brought off-road triathlon and trail running to the world under the brand name XTERRA.  From a one-off race held on the most remote island chain in the world XTERRA evolved into an endurance sports lifestyle with worldwide appeal. Over the past 20 years XTERRA transcended its status as ‘just a race’ to become a bona-fide way of life for thousands of intrepid athletes as well as an emerging brand in the outdoor industry.  In 2016 XTERRA will offer more than 200 off-road triathlons and trail running events in 30+ countries worldwide and produce 10 adventure television shows for international distribution.  Learn more at and

The Sweet Singletrack at Snowbasin

On Sunday, September 18, the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run National Championship half-marathon will be held at Snowbasin Resort, home to several of the skiing competitions of the 2002 Winter Olympics, for the sixth straight year.

With snowfall still a month or so away (we hope), the changing colors of the fall season and the majestic Wasatch Range surrounding Snowbasin Resort provide the perfect backdrop for the U.S. season finale.

The elevation and terrain of the Wasatch Mountains make the course breathtaking in more ways than one. Runners can expect to face more than 2,200 feet of total climbing over the 21-kilometer championship course, and the peak of the trail will reach an elevation of approximately 7,300 feet.

Two-time men’s winner Patrick Smyth, who works in computer mapping, said, “This would be a fun course to map.  On the course profile I would put an asterisk on the climb right where the false summit is and say “still a lot of burn to go” because you get to the aid station up there and you think you just have to run the ridge and it’s flat and easy-peasy, but it’s not.  It’s another grind to the top before you get to the sweet, awesome downhill.”

The hard work to get to the top is worth it!

“I’ve run a lot of trail races all over the world and it’s safe for me to say that this is definitely THE best, funnest, flowiest downhill out there,” said Smyth.  “You just zone out and before you know it you’ve knocked out three miles.”

Two-time women’s winner Liz Stephen, an Olympic cross country skier who says she’s really “a runner at heart” was blown away by the course last year.

“It literally couldn’t have been more perfect for running last year, just one of those magical days,” she said.  “It’s just a well laid out course.  It’s really hard in so many ways but it’s up and then it lets you rest, and it’s flowy and wonderful, and gorgeous.”

There are also 10-kilometer and 5-kilometer races next Sunday which follow much of the same trails as the first half of the 21K course.  Sign-up at

Regional Champs Running for a National Title

Patrick Smyth and Liz Stephen are returning to Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah to defend their Paul Mitchell XTERRA National Championship half-marathon crowns this Sunday.
“I’m coming back because I want to win, and the course is a great mix of brutal climbs and fun, flowy downhills,” said Smyth, who finished 8th at the Olympic Marathon Trials in February.

There are 48 regional champions from across the country headed to Ogden, Utah for a shot at the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Running National Championship.

One of the perks for winning your division in your region during the regular season is a comp entry into Nationals, and it has proven successful in getting some of the best runners from each region together for a bona-fide championship race in Utah.

As proof, consider this, the men’s 40-44 division regional champions from the Florida Series, Alabama Series, Texas Series, Colorado Series, and Northeast Series will all be on the start line next Sunday.

Here’s a look at all the regional winners on the start list so far, sorted by division …

SOCAL F10-14 Natasha Preece San Diego, CA
ATLANTIC F20-24 Rachel Marino Manahawkin, NJ
SOCAL F25-29 Danielle Casteel San Diego, CA
SOCAL F35-39 Tina Weissauer Topanga, CA
FLORIDA F35-39 Jeni James Windermere, FL
ALABAMA F35-39 Sasha Robertson Oxford, AL
ARIZONA F40-44 Angela Caruso Scottsdale, AZ
SOCAL F40-44 Shannon Deck Woodland Hills, CA
TEXAS F40-44 Stephayne Gibson San Antonio, TX
COLORADO F40-44 Allison Simpson Woodland Park, CO
FLORIDA F45-49 Ellen Alence Lithia, FL
FLORIDA F50-54 Adriana Nieves Seminole, FL
TEXAS F50-54 Terry Joy Austin, TX
FLORIDA F55-59 Peggy Brinkley St. Petersburg, FL
ALABAMA F55-59 Lynn Bolger Mobile, AL
ARIZONA F65-69 Ingrid Honzak Phoenix, AZ
ALABAMA F65-69 Luvern Blackwood Trafford, AL
COLORADO F65-69 Jo May Houston, TX
SOCAL M10-14 Adam Mahboubi Los Angeles, CA
ARIZONA M25-29 Andy Jeanson Gilbert, AZ
SOCAL M25-29 Anthony Fagundes Fair Oaks, CA
ALABAMA M25-29 Brad Olzinski Pelham, AL
ATLANTIC M25-29 Dillon Shaffer Belcamp, MD
SOCAL M30-34 Sean Eosefow Long Beach, CA
TEXAS M30-34 Luis Murillo Houston, TX
TENNESSEE M30-34 Nathan Helton Knoxville, TN
ARIZONA M35-39 Jason Stevens Waddell, AZ
TENNESSEE M35-39 Kevin Beshaw Knoxville, TN
FLORIDA M40-44 Chris Martin Windermere, FL
ALABAMA M40-44 John Gilbert Birmingham, AL
TEXAS M40-44 Juan Murillo Houston, TX
COLORADO M40-44 Todd Short Woodland Park, CO
NORTHEAST M40-44 Simon Edgett Milford, CT
SOCAL M45-49 Eric Reed Vista, CA
FLORIDA M45-49 Jay Lund Bonita Springs, FL
ATLANTIC M45-49 Scott Boyce Salisbury, MD
TENNESSEE M45-49 David Kyle Cleveland, TN
ARIZONA M50-54 Blake Sacha Gilbert, AZ
SOCAL M50-54 Mark Donaldson Trabuco Canyon, CA
SOCAL M55-59 Eric Rignot Irvine, CA
TEXAS M55-59 Michael Fussell Grapevine, TX
ARIZONA M60-64 Melvin Betani Peoria, AZ
FLORIDA M60-64 Rance Blair Tampa, FL
ALABAMA M60-64 Norman Bolger Mobile, AL
ALABAMA M65-69 Craig Kelly Huntsville, AL
COLORADO M65-69 Steve Parker Denver, CO
SOCAL M70-74 Hans Unger Sylmar, CA
SOCAL M75-79 John Williams Culver City, CA



Meet Bart Verry and the Pablove Foundation

Meet Bart Verry. He is fighting childhood cancer one race at a time. This time he is headed to Hawaii to raise money at the XTERRA Trail Running World Championship in December. Check out the amazing things he and the Pablove Foundation are doing and how you can get involved.

Can you tell us a little about the Pablove Foundation?

At The Pablove Foundation, we are driven by one simple vision: Helping kids with cancer live— a love-filled life today, and a cancer-free life tomorrow. The Pablove Foundation is named after Pablo Thrailkill Castelaz, the son of Jo Ann Thrailkill and Jeff Castelaz and the little brother of Grady Gallagher. Pablo was six years old when he lost his valiant yearlong battle with bilateral Wilms Tumor, a rare form of childhood cancer. With the love of our community, The Pablove Foundation’s mission continues to grow as we invest in underfunded, cutting-edge pediatric cancer research, inspire cancer families through education, and improve the lives of children living with cancer through the arts. Add it all together, and it’s what we call fighting childhood cancer with love.

How did you become involved in Pablove?

I have been a professional fundraiser in the Los Angeles area for almost 20 years. I was very drawn to the simple yet powerful mission of The Pablove Foundation – to fight childhood cancer with love.  Pablove is young but is poised for amazing growth over the next few years, and I felt this would be a wonderful opportunity for me to engage with an organization which is doing amazing work and to help it grow.

When was the first time you raced with XTERRA?

I raced XTERRA Trail Running World Championship in 2013 and 2014.

Why did you select the XTERRA Trail Running World Championship when choosing a race to raise money for Pablove?

The race is very well run, and the location is absolutely gorgeous. We have a number of other endurance events, but this one is unique, and the opportunity to invite others to participate, enjoy beautiful Hawaii, and raise money for Pablove is very compelling.

How can people support Pablove and your team?

People can join Team Pablove in Hawaii or support one of our runners by visiting We have some really awesome fundraising incentives available to our runners. Raise $3,500 and flight and hotel are covered!

Good luck to Bart and the rest of his team!

Vote for XTERRA

The XTERRA World Tour, with more than 200 races in 30 countries, was recently nominated by its peers for a 2016 SportsTravel Award in the category “Amateur – Best Sports Event Series or Circuit.”

To show your support and vote go to:

TEAM Unlimited LLC, founded in 1988, is the Hawaii-based television, events, and marketing company that brought off-road triathlon and trail running to the world under the brand name XTERRA.  From a one-off race held on the most remote island chain in the world XTERRA evolved into an endurance sports lifestyle with worldwide appeal.

Over the past 20 years XTERRA transcended its status as ‘just a race’ to become a bona-fide way of life for thousands of intrepid athletes as well as an emerging brand in the outdoor industry.  In 2016 XTERRA will offer more than 200 off-road triathlons and trail running events in 30+ countries worldwide and produce 10 adventure television shows for international distribution.

XTERRA All Day Everyday on Amazon Video

The award-winning XTERRA Adventures TV series, XTERRA USA and World Championship broadcasts are now available as a video subscription for Amazon Prime members in the U.S.

Four seasons (32 shows) of the half-hour episodes of XTERRA Adventures, and the 2012-through-2015 XTERRA USA and World Championship triathlon races are available for $2.99 per month as a video subscription available to Amazon Prime members via the Amazon Video app for TV, connected devices including Fire TV, mobile devices and online at

Produced by TEAM Unlimited, the XTERRA Adventure Series, USA, and World Championship shows are executive produced by Tom Kiely, and narrated by triathlon-legend Whit Raymond.  The series is Amazon’s first video subscription that looks into the world of off-road triathlon and the active, outdoor adventure lifestyle.

“Expressing the XTERRA brand through video has been a big part of XTERRA since the inception of the sport in 1996, adding a dynamic personality and a broader audience than we may have enjoyed through the events alone,” said Kiely, the CEO of TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA.  “We are thrilled to work with Amazon to make XTERRA video properties available as an on demand video subscription through their dynamic and far reaching platform, and provide access to virtually everyone in the active lifestyle space.”

With XTERRA, Amazon Prime members now have access to real, authentic, endurance sports racing action from around the world with profiles on the sports’ biggest stars and events.  The XTERRA Adventure Series takes viewers on some of the world’s most accessible, and fun, outdoor adventures from surfing with legends in Hawaii to climbing the Sydney Harbor Bridge in Australia.

Start Your Free Trial Today!