Close to 500 runners hit the trails at Boney Mountain
Less than a week into the new year, Jonathan Toker and Jennifer Todd already found reason to celebrate.
Toker and Todd were the overall winners at the XTERRA Boney Mountain Trail Run, which was completed on Sunday, January 6, at Newbury Park, California. Close to 500 runners braved the rainy weather to compete in the event.
Toker finished first overall, completing the 21-kilometer course in 1 hour, 35 minutes, 23 seconds. Todd was the top female, finishing with a time of 1:52:08.
"Race day began with an unexpected downpour followed by clear skies and cool temperatures … perfect running weather," Toker said.
Toker resides in nearby Malibu, and often trains on the trails at Boney Mountain, and his familiarity with the course was a key to his victory. "These trails are my local training ground and a very familiar route, so I have a fairly good sense of pacing and what kind of terrain was still to come during the race," he said. "Conditions on race day included some mud and cooler air temps and training on this kind of terrain in all types of conditions in the past certainly helped allow me to push through some of the tougher sections."
(Jonathan Toker pictured, courtesywww.JonathanStewartPhotos.com)
Toker moved into the lead midway into the course, and then slowly increased the gap in the latter stages of the race. Shawn Waco of Santa Monica placed second in 1:38:33, and Eric Lahaie from Hong Kong was third in 1:39:44.
"I moved into first at about mile 7, part way up the climb," Toker explained. "After that it was just about holding my effort at a controlled but significant level that I felt I could hold for the rest of the distance. The course has a lot of narrow singletrack and poor sight lines and so I really didn't know how much of a lead I had, but by the time I reached mile 12, I was confident I would take the win. I really had no idea of my lead until second crossed the finish line a little while later."
Toker is familiar with success at Boney Mountain. He also won this race in 2008, placed second in both 2006 and 2010, and third in 2009 and 2012.
Toker is the founder of a company called SaltStick, which is an electrolyte product used by athletes in various sports. He said he took two SaltStick Caps Plus during the race, and it helped push him to the win.
Todd placed 13th overall and surprised herself by taking top honors in the women's field. Only three years ago, she was told by doctors to give up her athletic career because of a severe knee injury. She underwent surgery on the knee and it required nearly two years of recovery and rehabilitation.
Todd returned to endurance sports a year ago, mostly in triathlons. She lives in Newbury Park - "literally down the street" from the event - and wanted to test her running skills on a familiar course.
"The joy of being able to compete again is what brought me to this race," she said. "In fact, the Boney race was my first running race over 10 miles since the surgery. It has been a long process, and I never thought I would be able to do a race like Boney ever again. I am truly grateful."
Todd works as a third-grade school teacher in Calabasas, California, and said her plans for 2013 include several XTERRA events - both triathlon and trail runs.
Anissa Faulkner of Ojai, California, placed second in 1:54:15, and Tara Kulikov from San Luis Obispo, California, was third in 1:57:31.
The XTERRA Boney Mountain Trail Run was the fourth of seven races in the 2012-13 XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Series. The next race in the series will be the XTERRA Mission Gorge Trail Run on February 3. Please visit www.trailrace.com to register or learn more about the series.
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 15 regions hosting an XTERRA Trail Run Series. The others are Alabama, Arizona, Atlantic, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Oregon, Pocono, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.