The ever-growing XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series started its 2013 season last weekend with the XTERRA Big Pocono Trail Run at Tannersville, Pennsylvania.
It was the first of five races in the series, and the next four will come up quickly. All of the races in the Pocono Series are scheduled in the months of May and June. The next race in the series will be the XTERRA Seven Tubs Trail Run at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on May 18.
To register for a race in the series, or learn more about it, please visit www.wilkesbarreracing.com.
Here is a recap of the Big Pocono Trail Run from race director Rich Pais:
The Wendy's Pocono XTERRA race series started with a record field of 57 runners from five states tackling 3.7 miles of rocky trails and steep inclines along the top of Camelback Mountain. With a long winter and cold spring in the east, many runners still had some tender feet and ankles when they tackled the glaciated rocks atop the mountain. James Ryan, the 2012 Big Pocono and Pocono Series winner, pulled out of the race after two miles. "My ankles took a pounding sprinting up and down those rocks" said Ryan. "I am saving myself for the Seven Tubs and the other races in the series."
Because the course is "only" 3.7 miles, the speed and energy the runners carry is much greater than longer distance trail runs. When you combine steep climbs, boulder fields, and open trails, the strategic challenges are significant. However, the conditions were no problem for 44-year old trail run expert George Fair, who blistered the course in 24:12 beating Ryan's 2012 time by almost 2:00 minutes. "That's a great course for me, I love the steeps and climbing," Fair said. Jackie Shokey was the first female across the tape in 31:01. Jackie won last year's race in 31:04 and also won the Pocono Series.
There were five rookie trail runners in the race including 43-year-old Jennifer Mayo. "I had no idea what to expect. And to tell the truth I was a little intimidated. But this is sooo much fun I am definitely signing up for all the races in the series," said Mayo.
"In fact," said Rich Pais, Race Director for the Pocono Series, "we have had seven people who raced today sign up for all five races in the series." The Pocono Series offers runners a chance to sign up for all five races for the discount price of $100.
The next race in the series is the Seven Tubs. "The shortest and most challenging in the series" says Pais. "Six stream crossings, two of the steepest climbs anywhere in the east and a thundering downhill along a roaring stream. This is the favorite course in the series for most local runners"