Running in mile-high mountains is often regarded as a quality form of training for any conditions. Aaron Hogan proved that theory by winning the XTERRA Bayamon Trail Run in Puerto Rico last month.
Hogan grew up running in Colorado, but is now a graduate student at the University of Puerto Rico. He discovered the XTERRA Puerto Rico Trail Run Series last year, and plans to compete in all the races this year.
"I love running over here," he said. "I did one of the XTERRA races last year and really had a great time, so I signed up for all of them this year."
His 2013 race schedule got off to a great start with the runaway victory in the Bayamon Trail Run, which was completed on January 27 at Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Trail running is still a growing sport in Puerto Rico, but more than 200 runners participated at Bayamon.
"There are a lot of fast runners in Puerto Rico, but I don't think they've taken to the trails yet," Hogan said. "I really hope this thing keeps growing because there are some nice trails."
(Aaron Hogan pictured, courtesy www.xterrapr.com and Sports Photo Moments)
Hogan, 24, completed the 10-kilometer course in 53 minutes, 37 seconds - which was more than three minutes ahead of the other top runners in the field.
"The course was pretty nice," he said. "It started to get hot just as the race was about to start, but we mostly ran in the woods, so it was under a canopy of trees. The course had some nice switchbacks and it would meander through the forest and then pop out to these nice views."
Jose Medina-Cardona placed second in 56:38, and Roberto Furtado Fiel was third in 57:10.
Aslin Canals from San Juan, Puerto Rico, placed 14th overall and was the first female with a time of 1:07:22. She dominated the women's field, finishing nearly 12 minutes ahead of the other top females.
The XTERRA Bayamon Trail Run was the second of four races on the 2012-13 season schedule for the XTERRA Puerto Rico Trail Run Series. The next race in the series will be the XTERRA Fajardo Trail Run on May 18. That event will feature three courses - 5K, 10K and 21K. It will be the first time that a 21K course will be available in the Puerto Rico Series.
To register for a race in the Puerto Rico Series or to learn more about it, please visitwww.xterrapr.com.