Oak Mountain State Park, Pelham, AL – Brandon Mader from Huntsville, Alabama and Ashley Daily of Tallahassee, Florida won the XTERRA Oak Mountain 43K trail run at Oak Mountain State Park in Shelby County, Alabama in 3:01:34 and 3:53:28, respectively, whileJosiah Middaugh and Lesley Paterson took the half-marathon title’s less than 24 hours after winning yesterday’s XTERRA Southeast Championship triathlon race here at Oak Mountain.
In the men’s marathon race Mader took the lead half-mile in as soon as the course hit the trails and never looked back, posting 6:51 miles and finishing nearly 20 minutes ahead of runner-up Dink Taylor.
The win was a rejuvenating one for Mader, who separated the hamstring from his tendon in December and hadn’t started running again until late February. It was also his first-time back on a start line since running at the Boston Marathon a little over a month ago.
“The last couple of weeks of training I thought about Boston a lot, and I really made an effort to show that the tragedy shouldn’t change the way you live. I was excited to get out here, get on the line and run, take a step away from the tragedy that happened out there,” said Mader, who ran nearly as fast on the trails today as he did in Boston where he clocked a 2:53.
The 28-year-old medical physicist is a veteran at Oak Mountain, where XTERRA has hosted a dozen runs over the past few years.
“I love Oak Mountain. There’s a good balance to the trails with sections of rocks, roots, turns, and then other sections you can really relax and run fast, get in a rhythm and enjoy the trails. Just a big mix of different terrains,” explained Mader. “Today the trails were great, soft, good footing, and foggy on Double Oak trail section, kind of mystic. It was humid though, so I am surprised I ran as fast as I did. I’m happy.”
For Daily (pictured right) it’s her first-ever trail marathon, although the grad student at Florida State University has a few 50K trail races in her resume.
“It was fun. I loved it,” said Daily. “I’m going to defend my dissertation in a month, and can tell you that dissertating is like running. It’s arduous, hard, and eventually it’s over.”
While Paterson ran away with the women’s 20K race, finishing nearly seven-minutes ahead of runner up Ali Edwards, the men’s race was close the whole way as former Olympian Roberto Mandje – the XTERRA Lake Las Vegas half-marathon champ, traded places with Josiah Middaugh from start-to-finish.
Mandje got the lead early but got tripped-up working through some of the 10K traffic and fell, then went down the wrong path briefly which cost him some precious seconds as the race was decided by just seven seconds.
“That’s racing. Can’t take anything away from Josiah,” said the humble Mandje. “Overall it was a beautiful course. Well marked, not too rutty. It was undulating but you could see where you were going. The course definitely lived up to its notoriety.”
Middaugh used the same strengths that make him so lethal in triathlon, his climbing skills, to make just enough time on Mandje to take the win.“
“I tried to put a gap on the hills. The hills were short, but there were enough little ups that I could sprint every little hill, kinda like mountain biking. Basically did 30 sprints, was able to put maybe 10 seconds on him, but on the road he almost got me.”
Charlie Epperson from Guam and Lori Goldweber from Birmingham won the 10K, while Eric Johnson and Gwen Howard won the 5K.
More than 600 runners from across the nation took part in the XTERRA Oak Mountain trail runs on a beautiful, nice and cool morning at the park.
The 2013 XTERRA Southeast Championship was presented by Paul Mitchell and AVIA. Sponsors included Shelby County Tourism, Muscle Milk, XTERRA Wetsuits, PowerBar, Gatorade, XTERRA Fitness, Zorrel, Rudy Project, LifeProof, FootBalance, the Utah Sports Commission, Choice Hotels, Shelby County Reporter, and the Live More card.