Rain creates challenging conditions at XTERRA Alabama Series event
Brad Schroeder and Kylie Lemon made quite the first impression on the XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series.
Schroeder and Lemon ran to impressive victories at the XTERRA Monte Sano Trail Run on Saturday, January 12, at Monte Sano State Park in Huntsville, Alabama. Close to 350 runners, ranging in age from 8 to 73, braved a downpour of rain to participate in the event.
Schroeder was the overall winner, completing the 15-kilometer long course in 1 hour, 10 minutes, 35 seconds. Lemon was the top overall female, finishing in 1:26:37. It was the first time entering an XTERRA Trail Run for both runners.
"I have mostly done road races but I am slowly getting into trail races," said Schroeder, who resides in Owens Cross Roads, Alabama. "This race was a good distance on a challenging course and looked like fun. I don't think I realized how much more challenging the race was going to be considering how soggy the course had gotten with the constant rain the past few days. I was very excited about how well I did and to see how many people showed up for a race in the mud and rain."
(Monte Sano race start pictured, courtesy Brandon Mader)
Ultimately, Schroeder left the others in the mud, as he took the lead early and stayed in front the entire course.
"After the first hill and the climb through the Stone Cuts path (about a mile and a half), the only person I heard sloshing through the mud was me," he said. "I wanted to get in a good effort for the race so I kept pushing through the mud and attempted to pick up the pace when the path allowed. I had no clue where anyone was behind me; it was quiet most of the run."
Although this was Schroeder's first XTERRA Trail Run, he is no stranger to running. He is a former track and cross country runner at Ohio Northern University, and is currently a member of the Huntsville Fleet Feet Racing Team.
Benjamin Dillon from Pensacola, Florida, placed second in 1:15:07, and Aaron Penton of Brownsboro, Alabama, was third in 1:15:36.
Paul Lemon placed fourth overall in 1:16:11, and he is the husband of the female winner. Kylie Lemon came in 15th overall - 15 minutes behind her husband, and more than five minutes ahead of the other females.
(Kylie Lemon and Brad Schroeder pictured, courtesy Brandon Mader)
"This was my first ever trail race, so it was exciting to come away with a win," Kylie said. "This was also my first race of 2013, so it was a good way to start off the year. In 2012 I won several local 5Ks and a 10K … as for how this race ranks, it was definitely one of the muddiest races I've ever run - I won't forget it anytime soon. "
Although it was her first XTERRA Trail Run, Kylie was already familiar with the course. She is a graduate assistant coach with the University of Alabama-Huntsville cross country and track teams, and they often train on the trails at Monte Sano.
"The course was extremely wet and muddy, which made for a more challenging run than usual," she said. "I run the trails at Monte Sano Park often with my team, and these were the worst conditions that I've ever experienced on the trails."
Kylie is a former cross country and track runner at Bowling Green State University, and is currently a member of the Huntsville Fleet Feet Racing Team.
Lauren Smith placed second, and Erin Looney was third. CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE RESULTS
The XTERRA Monte Sano Trail Run was the fifth of six races in the 2012-13 season for the XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series. The series finale will be the XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Runs on May 19 at Pelham, Alabama. To learn more about the XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series, please visit www.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, Atlantic, Southern California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oregon, Pocono, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.