Even after a four-month break between races, the latest race in the XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series had a familiar finish last weekend.
Eric Koenig and Jessica Wagner were the overall winners of the XTERRA Trout Creek Trail Run at Thonotassa, Florida, on Sunday, March 24. They were also the winners of the previous race back in November.
Koenig, 23, completed the 15-kilometer course in 59 minutes, 51 seconds, and he was the only runner to beat the one hour mark.
"I took the lead a couple hundred meters into the singletrack, before or at about the half-mile mark from the start," he said. "I kept up the pace, trying to hit low six-minute miles throughout the race and wasn't keeping track of how far ahead I was."
Koenig is originally from Colorado, but now resides in Lutz, Florida, as a graduate student at the University of South Florida. He said he has been training for the races by running in the Trout Creek Wilderness area, and that got him used to the varied terrain, humidity, and windy conditions that occurred on race day.
Pedro Meraz from Wesley Chapel, Florida, was second in 1:01:57, and Hector Guzman from Bradenton, Florida, was third in 1:02:21.
Jessica Wagner finished with a time of 1:13:26, and she was the first overall female.
"Incredible day; perfect weather in the 60's and slightly overcast," she said. "With the exception of the steep berm at the get-go, the course was a fairly consistent flat trail run, but with nice slalom-like turns so great for a new trail runner and allowed the seasoned to test their speed."
Wagner, who works as a Senior Membership Director for the YMCA of Central Florida, has won the past two XTERRA Florida Trail Run events by convincing margins.
"I was sure I was in the lead when the wonderful volunteers cheered and told me so," she said. "As for the gap? I had no idea until I read the results."
Christina Chabrier from Wesley Chapel was second in 1:17:00, and Cindy Hazel from Tampa was third in 1:18:06. The top three females are all in the 40-44 age group.
The XTERRA Trout Creek Trail Run featured close to 300 runners, ranging in age from 7 to 67.
It was the second of three events in the 2012-13 season for the XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series. The final event in the series will be the XTERRA Claw Trail Run at Alafia, Florida, on April 28. To register for a race in the series or learn more about it, please visitwww.tamparaces.com.