Capacity field of more than 350 runners participate at Big Creek
The XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series is fast becoming a showcase for Matt Haley and Tara Gormley. For the second consecutive race in the series, Haley and Gormley ran away from the competition. This time, it was at the XTERRA Battle at Big Creek Trail Run at Roswell, Georgia, on November 3.
Haley was the overall winner, completing the 10-mile course in 1 hour, 5 minutes, 26 seconds. He finished more than a mile ahead of all the other runners. Haley is a former cross country and track runner at Keene State College in New Hampshire who now resides in Buford, Georgia.
"The race course was a fun one," Haley said. "It had some ups and downs along with some good twists and turns, and minus a few rocky sections and the obvious roots, it was really well groomed. It wasn't a super-fast course but it felt far removed from everything. It was nice to feel like we were just out there cruising through the woods."
(Matt Haley pictured, courtesy Mark Robertson /www.powerbar.com)
There was a "short course" race of 5.5 miles, and Haley said he chased some of the leaders of that course early on, thinking they were in the lead for the 10-mile course.
"Just before the 5 mile mark, I heard beeping from the timing mats at the finish line and thought, 'I don't think we go through the finish on our first lap (in the 10 mile race). Man it would be awesome if those guys were only running the 5.5,' " Haley said. "Sure enough at the 5 mile mark I passed Tim Schroer, the race director, and he said the guys up front ran the 5 and that I was leading the 10. This was a huge boost of confidence and really reaffirmed my decision to be a little more conservative at the start.
"I had been running in no man's land for most of the race, but once I knew I was leading the 10 mile race I was completely on my own until I started passing some of the people that were still on their first lap. It was nice to be able to kind of cruise for some of the second half of the race, but with a lot of these trail races it's hard to really know where you stand because of all of the twists and turns."
Brian Rogers of Loganville, Georgia, was second with a time of 1:13:41. Gormley was third overall and the first female with a time of 1:14:03. She edged Travis Presnell, the third-place male, by one second.
"The race was a great one for me, personally," Gormley said. "I ran with the second place male for a bit in the first loop until he passed me, but I tried to keep him in sight all the way to the end. The third place male started running with me with about three miles to go. He stayed right behind me the whole time and said that I helped pull him through the finish."
Winning an XTERRA Georgia Series race is nothing new for Gormley, who resides in Marietta, Georgia. This was her 18th victory in the last five years. She also won the Battle at Big Creek in 2009 and 2010.
"The course is one of the more technical courses of the series," she said. "There are a lot of twists and turns, roots and rocks, and I saw more than a couple people fall out there, but that's what makes it exciting, right?"
Gormley actually had a fall in one of her previous races, and ran this race with a broken finger on her right hand. "My injuries from the trail race I ran earlier in October are much better," she said. "My bruises on my hip and knees are almost completely gone and I feel no pain there. My broken finger on my right hand is healing well too. I have minimal swelling and it doesn't bother me at all when running."
(Tara Gormley pictured, courtesy Mark Robertson /www.powerbar.com)
Elizabeth Callaway from Atlanta was the second female with a time of 1:19:56, and Crissy Ivey from Pendergrass, Georgia, was third in 1:21:59.
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The Battle at Big Creek was the third of seven races in the 2012-13 season for the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series. The next event will be the XTERRA Little Mulberry Park Trail Run at Dacula, Georgia, on November 17. To register for a race in the series or learn more about it, 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, Northern California, Southern California, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, Pacific Northwest, Pocono, Puerto Rico, South Carolina and Texas.