PARADE OF NATIONS AT MAKENA TRAIL RUNS
The tricky trails at Makena, Maui, proved to be a treat for hundreds of runners last weekend.
The XTERRA Makena Beach Trail Runs drew a record 696 entries on Saturday, Oct. 23. The field included runners from 20 different countries and 35 states in America, making it one of the most diverse events on the XTERRA Trail Run calendar.
Because the event was held the day before the XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon, many of the entries were friends and/or family members of the triathletes, or the triathletes themselves getting a sneak preview of the run course.
Christine Schleifer of Germany placed fourth overall in the 11-kilometer course, and was first among the females. She was in Maui to cheer for her boyfriend, Sebastian Kienle, who competed in the off-road triathlon championship.
“I was already on Maui and I heard about this beach run, so I said I’ll try it,” Schleifer said.
But the course offered much more than just a beach run. The course started at Makena Beach, then went up the lower slopes of Haleakala, back down to “Big Beach,” then through “Spooky Forest,” and then along lava-rock ledges before heading to the finish.
“Very beautiful,” said Schleifer, who was visiting Maui for the first time. “You really have to focus because there’s so many things to see.”
The steep uphill and downhill sections are made even more difficult because of the loose dirt and rocks. Several runners crossed the finish line with jerseys stained by both dirt and blood.
“It’s a pretty hard course, especially the climb,” Schleifer said. “It’s quite long. I didn’t expect that. And I also didn’t expect to run on so many (loose) stones that can make you fall. I usually don’t run on stones. Usually I just run on the road.”
Nick Walker of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, was the first overall finisher for the second consecutive year. He and Schleifer each received a Hawaiian Airlines roundtrip ticket good for travel between the West Coast and Hawaii.
Walker used the ticket he won last year to return to the Makena Trail Runs this year. He’ll use the ticket he won this year to return to Maui next year and defend his title again.
"This course really is unique and fun, and so when you get a trip to Maui, that's hard to pass up," he said. "So I think I'll be back again next year."
WINNING RUN CONTINUES FOR MADER
Brandon Mader of Huntsville continued to out-run the field in the XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series, winning the XTERRA Monte Sano Trail Run at Huntsville, Ala., on Sunday, Oct. 24.
Mader completed the 9.3-mile course in 1 hour, 4 minutes, 25 seconds. He finished more than a mile ahead of his closest competition, as runner-up Sam Silvey came in at 1:12:47.
“I was satisfied with the effort,” said Mader, 26. “When I finished and saw my time, I didn’t think it was that great. But then to stand around to wait and see Sam and some of the other guys come in, that’s when I realized it was a pretty tough course.”
More than 170 runners participated in the event, which was the second race of the 2010-11 season for the XTERRA Alabama Series.
Mader said he purposely started at a fast pace and stayed in front from start to finish. “My plan was to go out pretty hard and run tired at the end,” he said. “I kept looking behind, but nobody was there, so I kept pushing myself.”
The course featured various uphill and downhill sections, including a steep uphill run of around 300 feet midway through.
“It was quite a bit steeper and longer than I remember,” Mader said. “I was practically on my hands and knees. I talked to a lot of people after the race who said they had to walk up that hill.”
Silvey, who is from Chattanooga, Tenn., has placed second to Mader at each of the last two races in the Alabama Series. Robert Youngren of Huntsville was third with a time of 1:14:04.
Mader has been the first overall finisher at each of the last four races in the XTERRA Alabama Series, a streak dating to last season. The Monte Sano Trail Run was the second race of the 2010-11 season for the Alabama Series.
Mader, who works as a researcher at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, said he is using the Alabama Series as part of his training for the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, on Dec. 5.
In the women’s division, Heather Day of Athens, Ala., made a successful XTERRA debut. In her first try at an XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series race, she placed first among the women with a time of 1:28:28.
Christy Scott of Owens Cross Roads, Ala., was second in 1:33:56, and Cindy Jackson was third in 1:38:13.
The final race in the 2010-11 Alabama Trail Run Series will be the XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Run at Pelham, Ala., on Nov. 14. It will be the final chance for runners to earn points for the season.
At the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, the top qualifying runners in each age-group will earn free entry to the 2011 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship.
For complete results from the Monte Sano Trail Run, and information on the upcoming Oak Mountain Trail Run, visit www.dirtyspokes.com or www.xterratrailrun.com.
TEXAS SERIES TO START THIS WEEKEND
The new season will fittingly begin with a new event for the XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series.
The inaugural XTERRA Bluff Creek Trail Runs is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 30, at Bluff Creek Ranch in Warda, Texas. It will be the first of four events during the 2010-11 season for the Texas Series.
The Bluff Creek Trail Runs will feature three separate courses for runners to choose from: a 24-kilometer long course, a 12-kilometer intermediate course, and a 6-kilometer fun course.
Entry fees are $40 for the 24-kilometer course, $35 for the 12K, and $30 for the 6K. Online registration is available at www.racerevolutions.com, and late registration will be available on race morning (starting at 7 a.m.).
The entry fees include a T-shirt and lunch (burgers and beer) at the post-race awards party.
The next races in the Texas Series are set for April, May and August of 2011 (see schedule below). Some of the state’s top distance runners are expected to participate in the series, including Austin’s Derick Williamson, who won the 25-29 age-group national championship in 2010.
For more information on the XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series, visit www.xterratrailrun.com or www.racerevolutions.com.
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