Runners treated to "perfect" conditions on race day
Ross Kilgore and Wendy Jacobsen turned their first experience at the XTERRA Sugar Bottom Trail Run into a victorious one.
Kilgore was the overall winner of the 10-kilometer race on Saturday, July 28, and Jacobsen was the first female. The event was staged on a picturesque sunny day at the Sugar Bottom Campground in Solon, Iowa.
"Almost no section was completely flat, almost no section was completely straight, and it really kept me on my toes," said Kilgore, 27. "The conditions were perfect. It wasn't too hot yet, and the trail was dry."
Kilgore completed the course in 45 minutes, 38 seconds. He ran most of the course with his friend, Ross Salinas, then broke away for the win in the last half-mile.
"We stuck together for the vast majority of the race, still pushing the pace about as hard as we could," Kilgore said. "When he announced that we had about a half-mile left, I decided to kick it in and really try to make it my win. He wasn't able to catch me, so I'm happy with my legitimate win."
Salinas placed second with a time of 45:53, and Mederic Hall was third in 50:02.
Kilgore said it was his first race on the Sugar Bottom trails, and his unfamiliarity with the course almost caused a few spills. "I kept almost crashing into trees and off the trails on the turns," he said. "I'm happy that I won, but mostly I just had a ton of fun flying through those trails as fast as I could."
Kilgore is working on his PhD. in Mathematics at the University of Iowa and enters several races - road and trail - in Iowa.
Jacobsen completed the course in 1:01:08, and led the women's field for much of the race. "Conditions for the race were pretty nice, considering it has been ridiculously hot this summer," she said. "It was low 70s and partly cloudy. Compared to the weather we have had lately, this was heavenly."
Jacobsen, 37, took the women's lead in the first mile and never looked back. "As a semi-experienced trail racer, I knew it was important to get out quick and avoid getting caught in the crowd," she said. "I was the third woman to hit the trail. I passed the other two women in the first mile and that was the last I saw of the women in the race."
Kely Tesselink placed second in 1:02:40, and Wendy Foote was third in 1:02:51.
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Jacobsen, who works as a special education teacher in Iowa City, said it was her first race at Sugar Bottom. However, lived in Colorado from 2008-11 and was a successful trail racer during those years. "The experience of running on Pike's Peak and the surrounding trails (in Colorado) gave me a tone of confidence when running on the far less technical and flatter trails found in Iowa," she said.
The XTERRA Sugar Bottom Trail Run also featured a 5K division, with Adam Henderson (men) and Whitney Lester (women) taking top honors.
For more information on the event, please visit www.xterrasugarbottom.com.