Runners Treated to ‘Pretty Awesome’ Trails at Turkey Track
Thomson and Young win marathon; Hofferber and Falcon win half-marathon
When an expert trail runner like J. Marshall Thomson describes a course as “pretty awesome,” it must be good.
Such was the case at the inaugural XTERRA Turkey Track Trail Run, which was completed on June 15 at Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Close to 200 runners from 10 different states participated in the event, which was the third of four races in the 2012-13 season for the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series.
Thomson added to his list of XTERRA Trail Run victories by winning the full-marathon course in impressive fashion. He completed the 26.2-mile course in 3 hours, 1 minute, 43 seconds – nearly 27 minutes ahead of the rest of the field. It was his fourth overall XTERRA Trail Run victory in the past two years.
“This course was pretty awesome,” said Thomson, who is 34 and resides in Crested Butte, Colorado. “I always love a course that stays on trails. The course was 90 percent beautiful rolling, winding single track, with maybe a mile of dirt road to and from the start. The weather was awesome and everything was just about perfect.”
Thomson said he ran with the half-marathon leaders for the first half of the race, and then ran by himself for the second half of the full-marathon. His lead was so large that he even had time to “hit a wall.”
“Unfortunately, I fell apart at mile 21,” he said. “I just hit a wall … although my pace slowed drastically and I was starting to suffer, I was able to push through the last few miles and maintain my lead.”
Raul Manzanares from New Mexico placed second in 3:28:39.
Amber Young, also from New Mexico, placed third overall at 3:42:20, and was the first female. She also dominated her division, finishing nearly 25 minutes ahead of the other women.
A majority of the runners opted to enter the half-marathon course, and a pair of newcomers to XTERRA Trail Runs took top honors.
Jeffrey Hofferber from Durango, Colorado, finished first overall, completing the 13.1-mile course in 1:25:05. He is an experienced road runner, but this was the first trail race of his career, and it resulted in the first overall victory of his running career.
“This race will go down in personal history as my first win ever!” he said. “I knew I had the chance to do it given my overall strength and speed from road training. I had a lot of encouragement from friends and family, even though they didn't make it out. This win really helped solidify some personal decisions about my future of running and will no doubt be the encouragement to come back next year.”
Hofferber said he was pushed throughout the course by Thomson, because the full-marathon and half-marathon runners started at the same time.
“A little over half way, I rolled through a beautiful meadow feeling relaxed but a little tired,” Hofferber said. “I came up over a hill turning slightly right and saw Marshall over my shoulder. It definitely helped push me through the next few miles, unsure if he was running the marathon or the half.”
Although this was Hofferber’s first XTERRA Trail Run, he did practice on the same course about a month before the race with race director Mike Le Roux. “This really helped me finish strong knowing the end was just around the corner,” Hofferber said.
Gordon Gianniny, a 16-year-old student at Durango High School, placed second in 1:30:01. Jess Montour from Flagstaff, Arizona, was third in 1:35:33.
Jaime Falcon from Breckenridge, Colorado, placed sixth overall at 1:43:14, and was the first female. It was also her first XTERRA Trail Run.
“I actually didn't know until the finish that I had won,” she said. “There was some confusion on my part about who was in front of me. I passed two women maybe 4 to 5 miles into the race, but ran solo for large chunks of time, and was surprised to hear at the end that I had won.”
Falcon, her husband, and their 9-month-old son camped overnight at Pagosa Springs after the race. “We had heard many great things about the trails in Pagosa Springs, so combining a family camping trip with a trail race was a good reason to make the trip,” she said. “We loved the area and will definitely be back.”
Every runner in the event received a pair of custom event socks, as well as “Turkey Track” medals created by students from Pagosa Springs Elementary School.
The next race in the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series will be the XTERRA Beaver Creek Trail Run at Avon, Colorado, on July 21. It will be the season finale, and the final chance for runners to earn points toward the overall standings of the series.