XTERRA North Carolina Series providing fun and challenging courses
George Linney III and Kimberley Hefner proved that you can have fun while winning an XTERRA Trail Run. Linney was the overall winner and Hefner was the top female at the XTERRA Beech Mountain Trail Run on Saturday, July 28, at Beech Mountain, N.C.
"The course was amazing," said Linney, 37. "It was great to climb the ski area and twist through really dense forest. I've snow-shoed on some of the Beech Mountain ski area, but I have never been on the single track. I will be back to Beech Mountain to run those trails again."
Linney, who resides in Durham, N.C., completed the 15-kilometer long course in 1 hour, 11 minutes, 6 seconds. He took the lead about halfway into the race and then held off the other contenders down the stretch. Michael Holland, a 15-year-old high school cross country runner, placed second with a time of 1:11:13. Matt Longworth was third in 1:11:53.
(George Linney III pictured, courtesy Richard Burgunder /www.powerbar.com)
"I did not see Michael Holland until I was about a quarter-mile from the finish line and I checked over my shoulder and there he was, about 75 meters back," Linney said. "I picked it up and made sure it wasn't too close at the line. You never want to get in a sprint with a kid. They usually beat the old guy."
Linney is a pastor of the Tobacco Trail Church in Durham, N.C., and thus is known as "Monk" in the local running scene. He also helps manage the Bull City Track Club in Durham and owns a whole foods nutrition business, and is a familiar face at races throughout the area.
"I'm not a professional runner, but when I am running I am working and in the best sense of that word," Linney said. "When I am running I am living out my purpose."
Hefner placed 12th overall and dominated the women's field with a time of 1:23:41. It was the second time this summer that Hefner was the top overall female at an XTERRA North Carolina Trail Run event. She resides in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and works as a certified personal trainer.
"I have so much fun running with the lead runners -- those guys give me so much support and encouragement, which pumps me up!" she said.
(Kimberley Hefner pictured, courtesy Richard Burgunder /www.powerbar.com)
Michelle Taylor was the second female with a time of 1:26:26, and Christina Barrett was third in 1:31:19.
Despite the large margin of her victory, Hefner said it did not come easy. "This was a freaking tough course, but a lot of fun, too," she said. "At one point I was flying down the trail loaded with roots, twists and turns, and ran into a tree. I took a fall and rolled back up onto my feet and found myself laughing out loud. My next thought was the general public would think I am in need of a straight jacket!"
CLICK HERE to view complete results from the race.
The XTERRA Beech Mountain Trail Run was the second of three races in the 2012 XTERRA North Carolina Trail Run Series. The final event in the series will be the XTERRA Fisher Farm Trail Run in Davidson, N.C., on September 1. To register for a race in the North Carolina Series or to learn more about it, please visit www.dirtyspokes.com.