Fast Start for New Season of XTERRA Georgia Series
Rivers wins in record time; Gormley adds another women's title
The new season for the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series started with a couple of familiar faces in front last weekend.
Matthew Rivers won the XTERRA Harbins Park Trail Run for the second consecutive year, and Tara Gormley added yet another women's title to her already-impressive collection. A capacity field of 275 runners participated in the 10-kilometer trail run at Harbins Park in Dacula, Georgia. It was the first of seven races in the 2012-13 season for the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series.
Rivers completed the course in 36 minutes, 30 seconds - which set a new course record, and 16 seconds faster than his winning time of a year ago.
"The course was rolling and had a good bit of tight turns, so it broke up the rhythm in places," said Rivers, 23. "It was necessary to be able to change gears quickly. It hadn't rained much leading up to the race, so the footing was good."
Rivers, a former runner for the Georgia Tech cross country team, took the lead right from the start and stayed in front the entire course. There was a close battle behind him, with David Bell of Atlanta taking second with a time of 37:27, and Brennan Pratt of Decatur in third at 37:34.
(Race photo courtesy H&H Multimedia)
Rivers, who is still a student at Georgia Tech (although no longer competing for the school), said his familiarity with the course at Harbins Park was a big advantage.
"I love rolling trails with a good mix of uphill and downhill," he said. "I think what makes me successful there is that I just love running on trails and the fact that I love to push myself to see how fast I can run."
In the women's division, Gormley showed that she is not quite ready to slow down after four consecutive years as the top-ranked female in the XTERRA Georgia Series. She finished with a time of 42:17 - which was more than a minute faster than her time of last year, when she placed second.
Gormley, 28, has now won an unprecedented 16 women's titles in the XTERRA Georgia Series over the past five seasons, and she is likely to add more this season.
"I am entered in all the XTERRA Georgia races this season, as well as one XTERRA Alabama race," she said. "PowerBar is a sponsor of the XTERRA Series, and I have been working with them this year. I will be representing and distributing PowerBar products at all the races."
Michelle McKenzie from Flowery Branch, Ga., stayed close for the first half of the race, and finished in second with a time of 43:16. Sarah Massey of Acworth, Ga., was next at 43:24.
In addition to representing PowerBar, Gormley works at Body Training Systems, where she can cross-train for her races. "I think the workouts here continue to make me a stronger runner and keep me injury free," she said.
CLICK HERE to see complete results from the Harbins Park Trail Run.
The next race in the Georgia Series will be the XTERRA Fall Fitness Trail Run 5K on October 22. To register for the race or learn more about the series, please visit www.dirtyspokes.com.
About the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series
The XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series is open to runners of all ages and skill levels. In the 2012-13 season, there will be seven races available for runners, with the courses ranging in length from 5 kilometers to 42 kilometers. The top runners in every age group will receive points after each race that will count toward the overall series standings. At the conclusion of the series, each age-group champion will receive a free entry to represent Georgia at the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. Georgia is one of 13 regions hosting an XTERRA Trail Run Series. The others are Alabama, Arizona, Southern California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pacific Northwest, Pocono, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Texas.