Breakthrough victories for both runners in Virginia Series
It was all about firsts at the inaugural XTERRA Fairy Stone Trail Run last weekend.
Bryn Beck and Jessica Kersey earned their first career victories at the event, which was completed on April 27 at Stuart, Virginia.
Beck, 34, completed the 8-mile course in 56 minutes, 39 seconds, to run away with the overall victory. Kersey, 20, finished in 1:07:55 to take top honors in the women's division.
"This was my first overall win - such a great feeling!" Beck said.
Beck took the lead midway through the course, and stayed in front the rest of the way. "I was afraid that I had gone out too fast and that someone was closing the distance, but that fueled me to really push hard."
Beck, who works at an outdoor gear and clothing company in Virginia, described the conditions as "a beautiful morning to be running in the forest."
Clark Jackson, 56, placed second with a time of 1:00:16. He kept pace with Beck for the first half of the race, but lost ground after he struggled with one of the stream crossings. "One of my learning moments was to just run in the creek rather than try to avoid the water and falling," Jackson said.
Kersey (pictured) placed fifth overall, and surprised herself by finishing first among the females. It was not only her first overall victory, but her first time entering a trail run.
"I finished second overall in a 10K last month, but this is the first trail run I have ever run," she said. "I enjoyed it more than the road races."
Kersey is a student at Virginia Tech, and she ran the entire course alongside her boyfriend, Brad Atkins. She was credited with finishing one second ahead of Atkins.
"We ran the course together, and since he lets me set the pace I must have ended up a step or two ahead of him," she said.
The XTERRA Fairy Stone Trail Run also featured a 4.7-mile "short" course. Landon Nowlin and Anita Nemick were the overall winners for the short course.
The Fairy Stone Trail Run was the second of three races in the 2013 XTERRA Virginia Trail Run Series. The series finale will be the XTERRA Richmond Trail Run on June 8 at Richmond, Virginia. To learn more about it, please visit www.xterratrailrun.com.