Seng and Nelson take top honors at Cheyenne Mountain
After a six-month break, the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series returned in style this month. Nearly 300 runners were treated to cool conditions and challenging trails in the XTERRA Cheyenne Mountain Trail Run, which was completed on April 6 at Cheyenne Mountain State Park in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Brad Seng and Shelley Nelson took top honors as the top male and female, respectively, for the 24-kilometer long course. There was also a 12K course and a 5K course.
Seng, who is 43 and resides in Boulder, Colorado, completed the 24K course in 1 hour, 34 minutes, 13 seconds. He said he took the lead midway through the course, then held off the other contenders down the stretch.
"Within the first 3K or so of the second loop, we started to hit some gradual climbing and technical terrain, and that's where I decided to see if I could get my turnover going a little bit and close the gaps, and I did," Seng said.
Seng is a professional road triathlete who recently started entering trail races. "I'm fairly new to trail running, so I'm trying to learn some of the skills," he said. "It's a very different technique from being on the roads. I'm just getting into trail running and having a blast with it."
The top four runners finished within 42 seconds of each other. Lars Kjerengtroen was second in 1:34:18 (five second behind Seng), followed by Dan Vega in 1:34:36, and Leo Castillo in 1:34:54.
Nelson placed 18th overall and finished with a time of 1:57:28. She finished nearly five minutes ahead of the other top females.
"It was beautiful," said Nelson, who is 33 and resides in Denver. "Two loop course. The first loop we had all the 12K-ers out there with us pushing us very hard, so that was fun. The second loop was kind of by ourselves, so it went by a lot faster. It was great. Weather was perfect."
Roberto Mandje from Boulder placed first overall for the 12K course with a time of 46:48. He said he was as far back as sixth place midway through the course, but he rallied with a late surge and ended up winning by nearly a minute.
Jenni Leppert from Colorado Springs was the top female in the 12K with a time of 52:48.
The XTERRA Cheyenne Mountain Trail Run was the second of five events in the 2012-13 season for the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series. The season opener took place last October, and then the series took a winter break to avoid the extreme cold conditions in Colorado.
The next race in the Colorado Series will be the XTERRA Turkey Track Trail Run on June 15 at Pagosa Springs, Colorado. To register for a race in the series or to learn more about it, please visit www.xterratrailrun.com.