O'Reilly, Ward win XTERRA Richmond Half Marathon Trail Run
Jason Dowdy and Laura Welier of Richmond take XTERRA Fugitive 10km Titles
(Richmond, VA) - Blaine O’Reilly (24, Williamsburg) and Emily Ward (31, Richmond) captured the XTERRA Richmond 20K, while Jason Dowdy (37, Richmond) and Laura Weiler (31, Richmond) won the XTERRA Fugitive 10K trail runs in cool, rainy conditions around James River Park this morning.
The courses for both races were changed to protect the trail system – eliminating the Forest Hill Park and “Dry Way” sections that have been pummeled with rain over the past two days - and replacing them with alternate routes on service and gravel roads.
O’Reilly, who ran for the Army Black Knights' track and cross country teams from 2007-2011 before graduating from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2011, led from start-to-finish and crossed the line in 1:11:37 (5:43 mile pace), more than four-minutes ahead of runner-up and last year’s 20K winner Ryan Middleton of Hanover.
“It was fun, my first XTERRA,” said O’Reilly, the two-mile record holder at Gloucester High School. “My brother wanted me to come over and run and glad I did. I’ll have to come back next year so I can get on those trails everyone raves about.”
In the women’s race Ward, a track and cross country star at the University of Richmond ten years ago, was equally as dominant despite getting a side-stitch that had her walking for the first time ever in a race. Her winning time of 1:26:44 was good for eighth overall, and nearly seven minutes ahead of runner-up Jaclyn Shokey.
“Aside from the side stich I had a good time splashing through all the puddles today,” said Ward, who works for Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation.
In the XTERRA Fugitive 10K, Dowdy defended his title and has now won this race three times (it was way back in 2002 when he won his first). Russell Reed stayed close early but Dowdy ran away at the famous Manchester Stairs, aka “Mayan Ruins” section.
“I wanted to set the tone early and I could hear the guy behind me until we got to the stairs and started dropping him there,” said Dowdy, who ran at Virginia Tech until 1999.
Women’s 10K winner Laura Weiler finished more than six minutes ahead of runner-up Lucas Daley, and said she was happy to see the course re-routed to protect the trails.
“Had a lot of fun today. The course was a little different than normal but they did a great job re-routing us and keeping everyone safe and the trails in good shape,” said Weiler, a regular runner at James River Park. “I love these trails, Buttermilk, North Bank, they are so much fun and such an asset to Richmond. Maintaining the integrity of the trails is far more important than just one day and we were still able to have a great race and a lot of fun so it worked out.”
Tomorrow, the XTERRA East Championship will take place in Richmond for the 15th consecutive year starting with the pro race at 8am.
Photos courtesy XTERRA, featuring 10 and 21K winners with Rich Hart, the Vice President Strategic Services at Luck Stone Corporation.