Clark, Davanzo Take Top Honors at Topanga Turkey Trot

Nov. 28, 2012

More than 700 runners turn out for SoCal race on Thanksgiving Day

Jon Clark and Nita Davanzo were especially thankful this past Thanksgiving Day. They were the overall winners of the XTERRA Topanga Turkey Trot Trail Run, which was completed last Thursday at Topanga Canyon near Calabasas, California.

Clark placed first overall, completing the 15-kilometer course in 1 hour, 2 minutes, 48 seconds. Davanzo was the first female, finishing with a time of 1:18:05.

A capacity field of more than 700 runners participated in the event, which has become an annual Thanksgiving morning tradition for the XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Series.

"The whole festive environment is a special way to begin the day, and it has become part of my Thanksgiving tradition as much as the Macy's Parade, Detroit Lions football, and sharing good laughs and full bellies with family friends," Clark said. "Definitely another blessing to be thankful for as I continue striving to be worthy."

Clark has been a standout in the XTERRA SoCal Series for several years, and is a past winner of the Topanga Turkey Trot. His familiarity with the course played a role in his most recent victory.

"Knowing the course from previous years, I fully planned on attacking the initial climb from the gun and that's just what I was able to do," he said. "I comfortably led the race from start to finish and although I gave an honest push on this day, I basically just cruised into the finish."

Nita DavanzoRyan Ung placed second with a time of 1:03:38, and was the only runner to get close to Clark. Dominic Grossman placed third in 1:06:10.

In the women's division, Davanzo also scored an impressive win - made even more impressive because it was her first time entering the Topanga Thanksgiving event.

(Nita Davanzo pictured, courtesy Justin Davanzo /

"The conditions were beautiful - a crisp, clear day, not too hot, not too cold," she said. "The trail was in pretty good condition. There were a few spots on the single track that were crumbling off into the hillside, which I am sure only got worse as more feet passed over. The camaraderie between the runners was stellar; it felt like a team of us in single file as we raced down the single track."

Davanzo said there was one female ahead of her for the first two miles, but she took over the lead by mile 3, and stayed in front the rest of the course. "Afterwards, she and I spoke, and she said she pushed too hard on that lead out, and burned out too quickly," Davanzo said. "I was glad to have her in the lead through the first half; without her pushing me I don't think I would have run that section as fast as I did."

Davanzo said her husband was at the race as a photographer, so they had time after the race to enjoy a Thanksgiving meal together. "This is my first race on Thanksgiving Day and I will surely do it again," she said.

Kaitlin Lavin was the second female in 1:19:40, and Kate Freeman was close behind in third in 1:19:49.

The event also featured a 10K course and a 5K course. Winners of the 10K were Aaron Smith and Teva Johnstone, and winners of the 5K were Obin Sturm and Zoe Fleck.

CLICK HERE for complete results.

The Topanga Turkey Trot Trail Run was the second of seven events in the 2012-13 season for the XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Series. The next event will be the XTERRA Crystal Cove Trail Run on December 9. To register for a race in the series or to learn more about it, please

About the XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Series
The XTERRA SoCal 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 22 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 Southern California at the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Utah. SoCal is one of 13 regions hosting an XTERRA Trail Run Series. The others are Alabama, Arizona, Northern California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Pacific Northwest, Pocono, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Texas.

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