Epley wins his age-group for third straight year
The XTERRA South Carolina Trail Run Series featured a grueling finish to its season, as the XTERRA Table Rock Trail Run lived up to its reputation as the toughest trail run in South Carolina.
"The Table Rock course is a very challenging mix of rocky and rooty single track trails with many water crossings," said Carl Epley, who placed third overall. "After an initial 2-mile rolling start, there is a punishing trek to the top of the mountain of 3 miles and 2,000 feet … only to be sent then screaming back down on an even steeper decline."
Close to 100 runners participated in the 15-kilometer long course, and only 13 of them were able to finish in less than two hours.
Jose Zavala was up for the challenge, completing the course in a winning time of 1 hour, 32 minutes, 47 seconds. He finished more than nine minutes ahead of the other top runners. Peter Ross was second in 1:42:11, and Epley was third in 1:43:24.
For Epley, it capped quite a week. On August 10, he placed fifth overall at the XTERRA Bays Blaze Trail Run at Kingsport, Tennessee. That performance earned him enough points to clinch the 35-39 age group for the XTERRA Tennessee Trail Run Series.
Seven days later came his third-place showing at the Table Rock Trail Run, and that performance earned him enough points to clinch the 35-39 age group for the XTERRA South Carolina Trail Run Series. This is the third consecutive year that he has won his age group in the South Carolina Series.
"In racing back- to-back weekends I did not put in my usual training miles," Epley explained. "It was more important for me to focus on recovery from the Tennessee race the previous week and to keep my legs fresh for the Table Rock race."
Making it more impressive, Epley does not live in either Tennessee or South Carolina. He resides in Marion, North Carolina, and crossed the state border several times throughout the year to compete in both the Tennessee and South Carolina Series. He also competes in the North Carolina Series, and has a shot at winning his age group for that series as well.