Champions Range from 9 to 75
Proving itself as a race for everyone, the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship crowned champions ranging in age from 9 to 75.
On the young end of the spectrum, 9-year-old Jake Mackleer from Hampstead, North Carolina, became the youngest runner ever to complete the 21K championship course at Snowbasin Resort. His father, John, accompanied him along the race.
"Up the hills got a little tough, but on the flats and downhills he did pretty good," John said.
Jake completed the course in 3:17:26, which included a sprint to the finish that allowed him to beat his dad by nine seconds. "Very proud of myself," said Jake, who is in the fourth grade at South Topsail Elementary.
It was the longest distance that Jake has ever completed, and he did it for more than just himself. He raised more than $1,000 for the Pender County Humane Society in North Carolina.
"I'm so proud of him," John said. "He worked so hard for this, and it really showed."
The oldest national champion crowned at the event was 75-year-old Jesus Romero from Snellville, Georgia. It was his first XTERRA National title, and he entered it this year with his wife, Linda, who placed third in the women's 60-64 division.
Among the females, the youngest champion was a familiar one - Kaytlynn Welsch. The 13-year-old from Alvin, Texas, was an impressive 14th overall among all females. She now owns two XTERRA National titles and one XTERRA World title for her age group. Kaytlynn and her younger sister Heather received national recognition in 2012 for their precocious running talents.
The oldest female champion was also a familiar name on the XTERRA Trail Run Circuit. Amy Galbraith from Venice, California, won the women's 70-74 division for her fourth XTERRA National title. She also owns an XTERRA record-tying six regional titles from the SoCal Region.