Shokey finishes first in women's division
Experience can count for a lot in an XTERRA trail race. Just ask Tony Korch. The 53-year-old beat several younger runners to take top overall honors at the XTERRA Seven Tubs Trail Run last weekend at Wilkes-Barre, Pennyslvania.
"Experience always helps, and I will always pre-run the course when ever possible," said Korch, who works as a chemical applicator for a lawn care company in Nanticoke.
Korch completed the 5-kilometer course in 20 minutes, 6 seconds, which shattered the previous course record by more than a minute.
"The course is very technical, but conditions were ideal," Korch said. "Dry trail with air temperature of around 60 degrees. I was about seventh going up the first climb, and moved into first about halfway through. I take nothing for granted in a trail race and the competition was good."
(Tony Korch in blue shirt is in second place during this hill climb early in the race; photo courtesywww.wilkesbarreracing.com)
The 5K course at Seven Tubs is the shortest of the five races in the XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series, but it is also regarded as one of the toughest. The course includes sections that pass near cascading waterfalls, and contains a mix of steep climbs, rolling and rocky single track trails, creek crossings and off-canter bedrock.
Korch's success came as no surprise to the other runners in the Pocono Series. He has been a top 10 finisher at nearly every race he has entered, and won a different race in the series last year.
Chuck Thompson from Chalfont, Pa., placed second in 20:53, and Brian Hess from Mohnton, Pa., was third in 21:02. The top three finishers all beat the previous course record of 21:14.
Jaclyn Shokey from Jim Thorpe, Pa., placed 10th overall and was the first female finisher with a time of 23:51. She beat Carolyn Poporic from Philadelphia by two seconds in an exciting race to the finish.
"I could hear her breathing right behind me" said Shokey. "I ran the last big quarter-mile downhill to the finish with everything I had."
It was a familiar result for Shokey, as she has won six of the last seven races she has entered in the XTERRA Pocono Series.
The XTERRA Seven Tubs Trail Run was the second of five races on the 2013 schedule for the XTERRA Pocono Series. The next race in the series will be the XTERRA Hickory Trail Run at White Haven, Pa., on June 1.
To register for a race in the series, or to learn more about it, please visitwww.wilkesbarreracing.com.
About the XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series
The XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series is open to runners of all ages and skill levels. In the 2013 season, there are five races available for runners, with the courses ranging in length from 5 kilometers to 21 kilometers. The top runners in every age group will receive points after each race that will count toward the overall series standings. At the conclusion of the series, each age-group champion will receive a free entry to represent Pocono at the 2013 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Utah. Pocono is one of 16 regions hosting an XTERRA Trail Run Series. The others are Alabama, Arizona, Atlantic, Southern California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.