Georgia Series Closes Season with Fast Finish
Shechtman and McCurdy take top honors at Deep South 15K
A pair of fast finishers highlighted the finishing race of the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series last weekend. Matt Shechtman and Deanna McCurdy raced to impressive victories at the XTERRA Deep South Trail Run, which was completed on June 1 at Dauset Trails in Jackson, Georgia.
Shechtman was the overall winner, completing the 15-kilometer course in 58 minutes, 26 seconds.
"The course was great," said Shechtman, who works as an attorney in Atlanta. "Well-marked and fantastic trails for running with lots of rollers for fun accelerations. It was a bit warmer than I am used to and the humidity made it more difficult than most of the winter and spring racing. It's that time of year, so the conditions were great for getting acclimated to the Southern summer climate."
Shechtman said he took the lead within the first mile of the course, and stayed in front the rest of the way. Aaron Roseberry from Atlanta placed second in 59:43, and Evan Dare from Marietta was third in 1:03:34.
"The course was pretty well covered with greenery so you couldn't see more than 30 seconds or so back and I didn't know how close Aaron was until the finish," Shechtman said.
McCurdy was an impressive fifth overall and first among all the females with a time of 1:04:56.
"The trails themselves had a mixture of rocks, roots, hills and a fun, fast, sandy flat stretch along a creek," said McCurdy, who resides in Peachtree City. "The trail along the creek around mile 5 easily gave a false sense of confidence as to the 'ease' of the course. Little did I know that soon after, a gradual 3-mile climb would make the legs question what I was making them do and I would laugh at myself later when I realized I waved hello to a deer I spotted at the top of a hill."
Whitni McConnell from Athens placed second in 1:06:17, and Tara Gormley from Marietta was third in 1:06:36.
More than 300 runners participated in the event, which also included a 5K short course.
It was a satisfying victory in more ways than one for McCurdy, who has been battling a hip injury for more than a year. She is also the founder and head coach of Team Miles for Smiles, a charity running
team that raises funding for research through the Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (F.A.S.T.).
One of her daughters was diagnosed in 2009 with Angelman Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. "This past year has been challenging as my daughter is getting older and we are facing new obstacles to overcome, plus my own injuries and frustration with not being able to commit and train for a specific goal," she said. "The XTERRA Deep South 15K, however, ignited a fire in me again. It reminded me of how much I crave the freedom of the trails, digging deep, testing my own limits, and crossing the finish line, surrounded by people who love doing the same things I do."
The Deep South Trail Run was the seventh - and final - event of the 2012-13 season for the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series. Interestingly enough, Shechtman and McCurdy discovered the Georgia Series late in the season.
For Shechtman, it was only his second XTERRA Trail Run. He won both of them. "I will definitely be back to more XTERRA races next season. Now that I know there is a season points total and qualification for a nationals race, I think I have a good bit of motivation to run more of the series next year."
For McCurdy, it was her first try at an XTERRA Trail Run event, though probably not her last. "I wish I attempted the XTERRA Georgia Trail Race Series before the final race of the season," she said. "I have a craving to revisit the off-road triathons at XTERRA Clemson and Panther Creek again this summer, then jump back in to the XTERRA Trail Race Series this coming fall."