The XTERRA Epic Rustman and the XTERRA Gator Terra combined to form the Rustman Challenge last weekend in Ruston, Louisiana. A $1,000 prize purse was awarded based on the combined times of the two events.
The Epic combined a 1 mile swim / 30 Mile Bike and 10 mile run with the Gator Terra coming in at 1/2 mile Swim / 10 Mile bike / 3.35 mile Run. Overall winners for the Challenge were:
1st Place Andy Lee (Lakeway, TX) Total Time 5:21:42
2nd Place Grayson Keppler (South Africa) Total Time 5:27.12
3rd Place Kyle Grieser (Marble Falls, TX) Total Time 5:59:04
1st Place Melanie Etherton (Austin, TX) Total Time 6:26:58
2nd Place Brook Pace (Tallahasse FL) Total Time 6:38:33
3rd Place Kristi Kees (Cedar Park, TX) Total Time 7:30:50
The morning of the Epic started downright cool, with the air temp at 45 degrees and water a much warmer 71. Grayson Keppler, a South African living and working in Texas, took the lead out of the water with the fasted swim of the day at 24:21 followed closely by Rob Spooner with 24:59. Keppler, who won the XTERRA Camp Eagle points series race earlier this season, maintained the lead on the bike through T2. However, the fleet of foot Andy Lee (pictured above and winner at XTERRA Bluebonnet in April) tracked him down on the run prior to mile three to take and hold the lead all the way to the tape. It's Lee's second straight Epic Rustman win.
In the women's race Brook Pace took a solid 2:30 lead out of the water with a 27:40, and held until approximately half way through the bike when Melanie Etherton took the lead and maintained to break the tape in 4:50:02.
The XTERRA Gator Terra the next morning had some fresh, and some tired legs at the finish line. The weather cooperated to a tee with sunshine and 55 degree temps at the start with the high during the race of 65. From start to finish on the male side 22-year-old local Ben Hall (he lives in Ruston and this is his home course) took the lead and placed his stamp on the race with a new course record of 1:19:41. Andy Lee and Grayson Keppler were only moments behind him.
The Women's race came down to a separation of only a few seconds with Brook Pace taking the lead out of the water, Melanie Etherton rolling into T2 first and Brook posting the faster run to really press Melanie in the final half mile. In the end, Etherton crossed first in 1:36:56 with Pace hot on her heels at 1:37:18 to take second.