Harmon, Axmann prevail at Estrella Mountain
Jonathan Harmon certainly made the most of his first XTERRA Trail Run experience. He took a wrong turn and wound up off course, fell down twice, finished with bruises and cuts on both legs … and won the race.
Harmon was the overall winner of the XTERRA Estrella Mountain Trail Run last weekend at Goodyear, Arizona. He completed the 20-kilometer course in 1 hour, 26 minutes, 18 seconds, including those several minutes he lost when he ran off course.
"At the top of the hill, I asked some spectators if I was heading in the right direction and they said I wasn't, so I hurried back down and tried to catch as many people as I could," said Harmon, who is 27 and resides in Phoenix. "It took me up until the last mile to catch the first place runner. It was a challenge trying to catch everyone."
(Jonathan Harmon in middle, with J.R. Grabinger at right. Photo courtesy www.aztrailrace.com)
Harmon is a cross country coach at Central Arizona College, and said he entered this race out of curiosity about the venue. "I loved the course," he said. "It was a decent challenge in some areas, while leaving some flat ground to pick up speed. Weather was beautiful."
He walked away with an appreciation not only for the course, but for the staff and volunteers of the event - especially those who helped him get back on course and tended to his injuries after the race.
J.R. Grabinger from Phoenix placed second with a time of 1:26:43, and Brian Tinder from Flagstaff was third in 1:27:47.
Angela Axmann from Phoenix finished in 1:42:02 and ran to a convincing victory in the women's division. Like Harmon, she can be considered a rookie at XTERRA Trail Runs. Her only previous experience came in a 7-kilometer trail run a year ago.
"This was my first big trail race, so to me, everything about the course is tough," said Axmann, 28. "The rocks, the sand, the switchbacks, the ascents and descents were all tough to me. It was physically exhausting."
Axmann said she took the lead in the first mile of the course and never relented. "I took over first place within the first half-mile of the race and then never saw another woman again, which probably made me run faster," she said.
Kristi Johnson from Phoenix was second in 1:48:15, and Erin Kennedy, also from Phoenix, was third in 1:49:08.
CLICK HERE to view complete results, including the 8-kilometer short course. Arthur Lopez, a 16-year-old high school student from Phoenix, won the 8K course with a time of 32:58.
The XTERRA Estrella Mountain Trail Run was the opening event of the 2012-13 XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series. The next event in the series will be the XTERRA White Tanks Trail Run on January 6, 2013. To register for a race in the Arizona Series or to learn more about it, please visit www.aztrailrace.com.
About the XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series
The XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series is open to runners of all ages and skill levels. In the 2012-13 season, there will be four races available for runners, with the courses ranging in length from 7 kilometers to 24 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 Arizona at the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Utah. Arizona is one of 13 regions hosting an XTERRA Trail Run Series. The others are Alabama, Northern California Southern California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pacific Northwest, Pocono, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Texas.