XTERRA Trail Mix Newsletter

COUNTDOWN TO OAK MOUNTAIN

XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail RunsThere is still one week remaining to register to participate in one of the top-ranked trail races in the country. The XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Runs – recently described as one of “32 of the top trail running races, from sea to shining sea” by Runner’s World Magazine – is scheduled for May 21 at Pelham, Ala., and registration is open at www.xterratrailrun.com.

More than 350 runners have already signed up to run on the picturesque course at Oak Mountain State Park, which was ranked as one of the top 25 running trails in America in that same editions of Runner’s World Magazine.

Runners of all ages and skill levels are eligible to participate, as there will be four separate courses to choose from: a 42-kilometer full-marathon trail, a 21-kilometer half-marathon trail, and 10-kilometer and 5-kilometer “mud runs.”

This is the first year that the event will feature a full-marathon course, and those runners will get to experience a huge area of the park, as the course will follow one epic loop (as opposed to two laps of the 21K course).

Brandon Mader of Huntsville, Ala., won the 21K race at the Oak Mountain Trail Runs last year. He offers some advice on what to expect at Oak Mountain in this week’s “Tips for the Trail” below.

The Oak Mountain event will also serve as the final event of the 2010-11 XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series, so it will be the last chance for runners to earn points toward the regional standings. It should be noted that results from the 42K course and 21K course will count for equal points toward the standings. The age-group champions from the final standings will be invited to represent Alabama at the 2011 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Ogden, Utah, on Sept. 25.

TIPS FOR THE TRAIL: MOTIVATION FOR OAK MOUNTAIN

By Brandon Mader

Brandon MaderIf you ask someone competing in their first trail race, "What would you like to know?" there are a few common responses. You're likely to be asked what surfaces they'll encounter, what the weather will be, if there are hills, and why you've convinced each other to do a trail race.

The long answers could go on for a while, so the simple answers are that the course will be packed dirt and rocky, the weather will most likely be in the low 80's, sunny, and possibly muddy from some scattered thundershowers in the preceding days. Since this is an XTERRA event, you can expect some hills, but in the Oak Mountain park none of the climbs are more than 100 feet at a time so the hills are not of great concern.

In last week's Tips for the Trail, Rachel Cieslewicz wrote a very nice piece on preparing for a run on a trail you've never seen. Rather than penning more of the same, I think it's appropriate to tackle the most difficult question facing someone entering a trail race: Why am I doing this?

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SEAVEYS RACING IN SANTA CRUZ THIS WEEKEND

Having grown up in Alaska, Darian Seavey (pictured) is no stranger to the wilderness. But at age 49, he is still considered a newcomer to trail running.

Darian SeaveyAnd he's loving every step of the way.

"Honestly, I wouldn't even think of doing this if it weren't for my son," Seavey said. "In fact, that's essentially the only reason why I'm doing it. But now that I have done a few, it's great."

Seavey will be one of more than 120 runners who will participate in the inaugural XTERRA Santa Cruz Trail Runs on Saturday, May 14, at Wilder Ranch State Park in Santa Cruz, Calif. He is considered one of the top runners in his age group for the 20-kilometer championship course, which will traverse along the beaches as well as into the open fields at Wilder Ranch.

"It sounds beautiful to me," Darian said. "Why wouldn't you want to do this race?"

His son is 19-year-old Taylor Seavey, an aspiring professional on the XTERRA triathlon circuit. Taylor will compete in the XTERRA Pacific Championship off-road triathlon on Sunday, also in Santa Cruz.

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TOKER, CASTELEIN WIN SOCAL SERIES FINALE

A fast climb to the top of the hill put Jonathan Toker and Lisa Castelein at the top of the winner's podium for the XTERRA Malibu Creek Trail Run last weekend.

Jonathan TokerToker, 36, was the overall winner and Castelein, 36, was the first female. Toker completed the 22-kilometer course in 1 hour, 40 minutes, 34 seconds. Castelein finished with a time of 2:03:02.

More than 800 runners ranging in age from 13 to 80 participated in the event, which was completed Saturday (May 7). Toker credited the course and the conditions for the large turnout at Malibu Creek State Park.

"The running conditions were perfect with a cool and pleasant start without ever getting too hot," Toker said. "Regardless of the conditions, and on any day all year, this route features some of the most scenic trails in all of Southern California."

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INAUGURAL POCONO SERIES UNDERWAY

The inaugural XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series got off to a fast and furious start last weekend. The XTERRA Big Pocono Trail Run was completed on Saturday (May 7) at Tannersville, Pa., and it was the first XTERRA trail race ever staged in the Pocono region.

Richard Burgunder of Pittsburgh is a veteran of XTERRA trail runs and has competed in races across the country. He described the opening XTERRA Pocono race as “great overall.”

“It was an awesome and relentless course,” added Burgunder, who placed third overall. “The start was fast, with a very technical and wicked descent consisting of many jagged rocks and small dips.”

George Fair of Scotrun, Pa., was the overall winner. He completed the 5-kilometer course in 23 minutes, 48 seconds. “The course was relentless,” said Fair, who is a cross country coach. “Excellent challenges that required constant effort with no chance for a break.”

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