XTERRA Trail Mix Newsletter

YOUTH PREVAILS AT MISSION GORGE

Taking things one step at a time put Hannah Rae Finchamp at the top of the winner’s podium for the XTERRA Mission Gorge Trail Run last week.

Mission Gorge StairsFinchamp, who is just 15 and a freshman at Maranatha High in Pasadena, Calif., was the first overall female for the 15-kilometer long course. She finished with a time of 1:18:08, which was 29 seconds ahead of the next female, Jessica Noyola.

“It was a great feeling,” Finchamp said. “Not only because I won, but because I knew I was able to overcome such a tough course. No matter how fast you do this course, it feels good just to finish because it really challenges you mentally and physically. I definitely wasn’t expecting to win. I’m just trying to stay at my own pace and prepare myself for bigger races in the future.”

The event featured more than 500 runners, including several elite competitors in the long course. Finchamp now has to be considered in that class.

“You should look back at some of our races over the past three years and watch her rise in the rankings,” race director Brennan Lindner said. “It's been impressive to see her grow up, and now she's a definite threat beyond just her age group.”

Making it more impressive, Finchamp enters trail runs as part of her training for triathlons. She won her age group at the XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon on Maui last October.

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Photo: Ranger Mel Naidas

TIPS FOR THE TRAIL - RUNNING IN THE DARK

By Rachel Cieslewicz

Rachel CWinter seasons can bring periods of time where many hours of the day are dark.  This can be an obstacle for many. But as with anything, it can be a fun and fulfilling adventure with the right attitude, perspective and proper preparation.

Dark adventures, at least in the beginning, are the most fun with a posse of friends.  This helps with motivation.  For me, sometimes the hardest part is just getting out the door when it is freezing cold and pitch-black out. Being in the dark with others is also typically safer. There are more eyes to notice obstacles and directions no matter where you go. And on a road, cars are more likely to see a group of runners in the dark.

There’s also the benefit of camaraderie. It is an amazing thing to be running in the dark and laughing hysterically at jokes and stories that any other time wouldn’t be remotely funny.  I don’t know if this is due to heightened senses or just happy people distracting themselves in typically less than ideal situations.

Special gear for the dark is always a good idea. If you are on a trail, even if you can navigate it with your eyes closed, it is a good idea to have someone with you. Things look different in the dark.  Wear reflective material. Dress in layers. If you are on the road or a short trail you know, perhaps you don’t need nutrition. But if you plan on your run lasting over an hour, or if you are even slightly unsure of where you are going, bring fuel just in case.

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GEORGIA SERIES RESUMES FEB. 26

It’s time to put the running shoes on again and head for the hills. The winter break is over for the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series.

XTERRA Georgia SeriesThe popular series is set to resume on Feb. 26 with the XTERRA Thrill in the Hills Trail Run at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder, Ga.

“This race is one of the highlights of the series,” Georgia Series director Tim Schroer said. “The venue is one of the favorites for participants, spectators and officials. The course is very scenic and the trails are very well-maintained.”

Around 500 runners are expected to participate. Most of them will compete on the 21-kilometer, half-marathon course. However, there will also be a 42-kilometer, full-marathon course for those who want to be tested twice as hard.

Some of the state’s top trail runners will participate, including Olympic hopeful Tom Kutter, Chris Wiley and David Bell.

The last race in the Georgia Series was completed on Dec. 4. The series has been on a much-needed break for the past two months, as temperatures around the state dipped to below freezing in January.
Temperatures are expected to be in the 50s or 60s for the Thrill in the Hills race, which should make for ideal running conditions.

For entry information and more on the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series, please visit www.dirtyspokes.com or www.xterratrailrun.com.

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