The final race of the 2012 calendar year was a merry one for runners in the XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series.
The XTERRA Coldwater Mountain Trail Run featured a capacity field of more than 200 runners, and the final podium featured a pair of first-time winners - Chris Serwan and Kristina Vaughn. It was completed on December 15 at Anniston, Alabama.
Serwan was the overall winner, completing the 15-kilometer course in 1 hour, 8 minutes, 23 seconds. Vaughn placed eighth overall and was the first female in 1:14:09.
"This was my first time to win a race overall," said Serwan, who is 23 and resides in Auburn, Alabama. "I've won my age group and placed in the top five overall in previous races, but this one definitely tops my list as far as best finishes."
Serwan said he surged into the lead within the first two miles of the race, and stayed in front the rest of the way. "I didn't know what kind of lead I had, and was worrying the whole time about how close the others were behind me," he said. "I was a little surprised about the lead I had when I finished."
The runner-up was a surprise himself. Korey Shively, a 12-year-old middle school student at James Clemens School in Madison, Alabama, placed an impressive second overall with a time of 1:10:45.
Dillon Hidalgo from Somerville, Alabama, was third in 1:11:01, and 49-year-old Matthew Holdbrooks from Trussville, Alabama, was fourth in 1:11:23.
In the women's race, Vaughn entered the race with her friend, Alison Hulsey, and they ran together for the first three miles of the course. Vaughn then surged ahead, not realizing that she was the first female.
"The Coldwater Mountain race was actually my first win in a trail race," said Vaughn, 22. "I just began competing in trail races this fall after finishing my collegiate track and cross country career this past May."
Vaughn is a former steeplechase champion and cross country runner at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. She is now training with the Alabama Outdoors running team, and is aiming to run in her first marathon in 2013.
Her friend, Hulsey, placed second among the women with a time of 1:17:09, and Rebecca Pedrick from Alpharetta, Georgia, was third in 1:21:17.
It was the first time that an XTERRA Trail Run was staged at Coldwater Mountain, and the runners seemed to like the new venue. "The trail was rolling, with one long gradual climb, but there wasn't anything too steep," Vaughn said. "Even though it was a bit of dreary, rainy day, the scenery was beautiful, with several incredible lookouts. I would highly recommend this trail!"
The XTERRA Coldwater Mountain Trail Run was the fourth of seven races in the 2012-13 season for the XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series. The next race in the series will be the XTERRA Monte Sano Trail Run at Huntsville, Alabama, on January 12.
To register for a race in the Alabama Series, or to learn more about it, please visitwww.dirtyspokes.com.
About the XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series
The XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series is open to runners of all ages and skill levels. In the 2012-13 season, there will be six 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 Alabama at the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. Alabama is one of 15 regions hosting an XTERRA Trail Run Series. The others are Arizona, Northern California, Southern California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oregon, Pocono, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.