Just about every event that is part of the XTERRA Trail Run Series features a long course and a short course to accommodate the various levels of runners across the country.
Bree Bielenberg is proof that fast runners are abundant on the short courses, as well as the long.
Bielenberg has been dominating the short course races in the XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series throughout the 2012-13 season. She has been the top female finisher on the short course at every race so far during the Arizona Series season.
"I began the XTERRA races when I started working for PowerBar … now I am hooked," said Bielenberg, who resides in Phoenix. "I've also started trail racing in other series, but they lack the XTERRA craziness. I love that when there is a river, XTERRA will make sure you run through it. If there is a mountain, you know you will run to the top."
Most elite runners enter the long course races, as those are the ones that count for age-group points for each series. However, Bielenberg has her reasons for choosing the short courses.
"I am a Field Market Associate for the PowerBar account at active.com," she explained. "One of my job duties is to take pictures so that PowerBar can see their product in use. I get some excellent action shots of the long course runners, but to do this, I can only run short courses. I have every intention of upgrading to the longer courses when the opportunity permits."
Bielenberg is a familiar face to many of the other runners in the Arizona Series, and not just because she hands out free PowerBar samples and takes photographs at the races. She writes an online blog at www.twinsandtriathlons.blogspot.com and it focuses on her training and racing, as well as her experiences as a mother of 3-year-old twins, Brenna and Hayden.
"I've really enjoyed getting to know the race directors and other participants," she said. "I feel like there is a unique camaraderie you see at an XTERRA race. We always hang out after the race, compare bloody knees and always have a good time."
The XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series will host its final race of the season on March 24. The XTERRA Black Canyon Trail Run will offer a 21-kilometer long course and a 9-kilometer short course. Both courses are open to runners of all ages and skill levels.
To register for the race, or to learn more about the Arizona Series, please visitwww.aztrailrace.com.