XTERRA Trail Mix Newsletter


If you haven’t registered yet to participate in the 2012 XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Run, this weekend is a good time to do so.

Holly SweeneyThe Oak Mountain Trail Run is scheduled for May 20 at the nationally-ranked Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama. The event is open to runners of all ages and skill levels, and there will be four courses to accommodate the various runners: a 42-kilometer full-marathon, a 21-kilometer half-marathon, and 10K and 5K “mud runs.”

All age-group winners from the 42K and 21K courses will receive a free entry to represent Alabama at the 2012 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, in December.

Register before April 23, and the entry fees are: $55 for the 42K, $45 for the 21K, $35 for the 10K and $25 for the 5K. Prices increase $5 for each distance after April 23. Discounts are available for students and military.

CLICK HERE to register online and learn more about the event.

The XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Run will also serve as the final event in the 2012 XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series, so it will be the last chance for runners to earn points toward the overall series standings. The top 15 runners in each age group for both the 42K and 21K will receive points toward the series standings. It is important to note that runners who have not previously participated in the Alabama Series are still eligible to enter this race.

It will also be a chance to run on one of the best trails in the nation, as Oak Mountain State Park has been ranked by Trail Runner magazine as one of the 25 “Crown Jewels” of running trails across America.

This year’s event will be held on a Sunday morning (the race is scheduled to start at 8 a.m.), and the Team 413 Grace Runners will be onsite at 7:30 a.m. on race day to conduct a devotional service.

For more information, please visit http://www.xterraplanet.com/xduro/oakmtn.html.

Check out the teaser video on our Facebook page


By Rachel Cieslewicz

Rachel CieslewiczEditor’s note: The XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Run on May 20 offers four course distances for runners, and most other XTERRA Trail Run events offer two or three choices. In this month’s edition of Tips for the Trail, elite runner Rachel Cieslewicz offers advice on how to select the proper race distance to fit your needs.

One of the amazing things about being humans is individuality. Running is no different. We can generalize about what we think the right amount of mileage is in a week, or even what distance is best for a race. Ultimately, it is a choice unique to each individual.

It can come down to where a person is in their season, other life responsibilities, goals, and motivation for running.   The list goes on from there.  XTERRA understands this. We are incredibly fortunate to often have a variety of race distances to choose from when racing an amazing XTERRA Trail Run event.

Sometimes we can feel confused over what to choose when given the option between the 5K or 10K distances versus an often admired, 21K.  The longest distance is not always optimum for individual situations.  Remembering this will help lead you onto your best path to experience the most fantastic race possible! 

With that said, how do we choose our distance?  Some things to think honestly about are the level of experience we have trail running, the amount of training we have under our belt, and how the race fits into the whole big picture of the race season. 



Henderson, Nevada - Former XTERRA triathlon pro Justin Thomas and the reigning 35-39 XTERRA Trail Run National Champ Sarah Raitter, both from Reno, Nevada, won the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas half-marathon on a beautiful morning in the desert of Henderson, Nevada today.

XTERRA Lake Las Vegas Trail Run StartThomas, 37, was always known for his speedy run splits in the decade he raced as an elite in the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series, and he needed every bit of that speed, and endurance, to hold off PowerBar elite runner Brandon Mader of Hunstville, Alabama.

While Thomas put a gap on Mader and Fernando Ramirez from Kamas, Utah in the middle stretch of the grueling desert scramble that included more than 2,000-feet of climbing, Mader worked his way back to within 15 yards by the last big climb at mile 11.

“When I saw Brandon behind me I started running scared,” said Thomas.

For Mader, who is nursing a stress fracture in his tibia that kept him out of speed work for the last two weeks, fell victim to leg cramps at the exact moment he wanted to strike.

“I had him, and was feeling good and then I just cramped up and all I could do was watch him run away,” said Mader.



Power to The TowerMichael Smelser overpowered the field at the inaugural XTERRA Power to the Tower Trail Run at Bays Mountain Park on April 7.

Smelser, a high school teacher in Kingsport, completed the 21-kilometer course in 1 hour, 32 minutes, 50 seconds. He finished more than nine minutes ahead of the rest of the field.

"There are three other trail races throughout the year at Bays Mountain Park, and the good thing about the XTERRA race was that it had a little bit of all of them and more," said Smelser, 39. "It was very challenging, but rewarding. The conditions were perfect, great weather, dry trails, perfect conditions.  I never knew how far ahead I was, as I never look back in a race, and a lot of this race was single track so my focus was on the trail."

Smelser was actually a standout soccer player in college, but became enthralled with running after graduating. He has completed more than 20 marathons, including Boston and New York, but is now trying to enter more trail runs.

"I run mostly road races but have found a true calling in trail races, as I love the scenery and the tranquility of the trail and the roads less traveled by," he said.

Nicole Dahlin of Johnson City was the first female and placed 11th overall with a time of 2:01:43. The women's race was a close one, as Carin Smith of Bakersville, N.C., was right behind at 2:01:51.



The XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Series will close its 2012 season with one of the biggest XTERRA Trail Run races in the country.

Malibu Creek RunnersThe XTERRA Malibu Creek Trail Run is expected to feature a capacity field of 800 runners on April 29 at Malibu Creek State Park, California. It will be the seventh, and final, race of the 2012 season for the XTERRA SoCal Series.

Jonathan Toker of Malibu won the race last year and will be back to defend his title. “Regardless of the conditions, and on any day all year, this route features some of the most scenic trails in all of Southern California,” he said.

As the final race of the season, it will be the last chance for runners to earn points toward the overall age-group standings of the XTERRA SoCal Series. Each overall age-group champion will receive a free entry to represent SoCal at the 2012 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Utah in September.

The event will feature a 22-kilometer long course and a 6-kilometer short course. Both courses are open to runners of all ages and skill levels, and online registration is still available at www.trailrace.com.

Photo courtesy SuperSportsPhoto.com.


The XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series will close its 2012 season with a unique race in Lithia, Florida. The XTERRA Claw Trail Run is scheduled for April 29 at Alafia River State Park, and more than 400 runners are expected to participate.

The Claw RunnersThe Claw is one of the most popular trail races in Florida because it offers runners a chance to run on uncharted trails. Much of the course is set on areas normally closed to the public, including steep hill climbs and stream crossings.

The event will feature two course options – a 10-mile trail and a 5-mile trail. Both courses are open to runners of all ages and skill levels, and online registration is still available at www.clawrun.com.

The event will also serve as the third, and final, race of the 2012 XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series, so it will be the last chance for runners to earn points toward the overall age-group standings. At the conclusion of the series, each age-group winner will receive a free entry to represent Florida at the 2012 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Utah in September.

Photo courtesy tamparaces.com.


While on the Island of Lana'i shooting for our XTERRA Adventures TV Series, Chris Bednarek, XTERRA TV Producer, noticed some kids playing and singing. He asked what it was all about. He learned that this group of fourth grade kids was excited to learn that His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, was visiting Hawaii, and so, they produced a song about peace and offered it to His Holiness as a gift. Click below to experience this wonderful  and innocent look at how the world "should be" through the voices of children.

Watch on the XTERRAPlanet Youtube Channel


Outrigger Hotels and ResortsOur Outrigger Hawaii Sweepstakes returns for 2012. Each month through December we will be offering a free 3-night stay for you and a guest at one of Outrigger Hotels and Resort's Hawaiian properties. Sign up today for your chance to win a free 3-night stay in Hawaii at the Outrigger Luana Waikiki resort.

Entries must be received by April 30, 2012 and certificate is good for stays through October 01, 2013.


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