Word is spreading fast about the XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series, and the word is good. In just two years, the participation numbers have nearly doubled in the series.
It should only get better in 2013.
The XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series will feature five races this year in the picturesque region of northeast Pennsylvania. “What I like most about the Pocono area is its stunning natural beauty and how the region is an outdoor sports mecca,” said Richard Burgunder, the two-time champion of the men’s 30-34 age group in the Pocono Series. “Within the endless mountain region, you’ll find abundant forest, lakes, rivers, streams and wildlife. It’s an amazing place for any extreme and adventure sports enthusiast.”
Indeed, the five races in the Pocono Series offer runners a variety of challenging terrain, ranging from sandy lake shorelines to narrow single track trails that climb more than 2,000 feet – through rocky river beds and flowing streams.
All of the races in the Pocono Series are held in the months of May and June, when the weather is generally mild. Most of the race courses traverse into forest, so the runners are often well-shaded, even on sunny days.
“Last summer wasn’t overly hot and humid, like most typically are throughout that region,” Burgunder said. “While it did get quite warm on some race days, the weather ultimately wasn’t a major factor.”
The races in the Pocono Series range from 5 kilometers to 21 kilometers. “The trails in this area are unique because this is such a mountainous region,” said Pocono Series director Reginald Thomas. “Even a course that is only 5 kilometers can present numerous challenges that will test you from start to finish.”
Burgunder made the cross-state trip from Pittsburgh to enter the Pocono Series races in both 2011 and 2012, and he plans to do so again. He said the abundance of activities and attractions in the region allow him to make a weekend getaway with each race. “There's a ton to do throughout the region and most activities are within an hour’s drive of all the race sites,” he said.
The XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series is also a bargain. Many of the races offer an entry fee as low as $20 per runner.
Points will be tallied after every race to determine age-group standings for the series. At the end of the season, each age-group champion will receive a free entry to represent Pocono at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in September at Ogden/Snowbasin Resort, Utah.