Each has won four races this season in Georgia Series
Matt Haley continued his amazing streak of wins and Tara Gormley got back on the winning track to highlight the latest race in the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series.
Haley was the overall winner of the XTERRA Victoria Bryant Trail Run, which was completed on Saturday, December 1, at Victoria Bryant State Park in Royston, Georgia. He completed the 10-kilometer course in 38 minutes, 51 seconds, which was more than four minutes faster than any other runner in the field of around 200 participants.
"The conditions were good for running," Haley said. "I really enjoyed the crisp, country air, as this race was out in 'the sticks' as they say. The course was relentless, with the hills though. It was a constant up and down with a few flat sections in between all of the hills. Despite the difficulty, I've always liked courses that challenge you with some tough terrain. It's nice to be able to roll on flat, easy courses but I've always been a little bit of a grinder, so the tougher courses seem to suit me more."
Once the starting gun went off, Haley darted to the front of the pack, and ran by himself alone in the lead for most of the course.
"This one was a solo effort for virtually the entire race," he said. "We started out on the road for spacing but as soon as we hit the trail I had built up a pretty good lead and by the time we got to the mile marker I was running completely alone. Even though I built up an early lead I tried to keep pushing myself to see how I'd run on a tougher course."
Haley, 28, has entered the last four races in the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series, and has won each one by a convincing margin. He resides in Buford, Georgia, and is a member of the Saucony Hurricanes running club.
Ben Smith of Danielsville, Georgia, placed second with a time of 43:14, and Brian Rogers from Loganville, Geogia, was third in 44:50.
Gormley placed an impressive fifth overall and was the first overall female with a time of 45:05. She has now placed first overall at 19 races in the XTERRA Georgia Series since 2008.
(Gormley pictured courtesy Mark Robertson / www.powerbar.com)
"There were several long climbs that seemed to keep going and going," she said of the course. "There are a lot of roots and rocks along the trail, but luckily the trails are wide and the leaves were blown off, so the obstacles along the way were easier to navigate."
Gormley said she took the lead halfway through the course, and stretched the lead late in the race during the grueling uphill climbs.
The race also provided a sense of redemption for Gormley, who finished in third place - disappointing by her own lofty standards - at the previous Georgia Series race last month at Little Mulberry Park. "I was very happy to pull out the win at this race," she said. "I felt off my game at the Little Mulberry Course and it was good to be back!"
The effort did take a toll on Gormley, however. The day after the race, she was admitted to a hospital and treated for Viral Meningitis. She said she hopes to be ready for the next Georgia Series race in two months.
Kristen Meadors placed second in the women's division in 45:57, and Crissy Ivey was third in 49:06.
In addition to the 10K course, there was a 5K short course. Carl Corley and Laura Phillips were the overall winners of the 5K.
The XTERRA Victoria Bryant Trail Run was the fifth of seven races on the 2012-13 season schedule for the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series. The next race in the series will be the XTERRA Thrill in the Hills Trail Run on February 23. That race is considered one of the feature events of the Georgia Series because it offers a full-marathon course and a half-marathon course. To register for the race or learn more about the Georgia Series please visitwww.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.