Snowbasin Resort will host XTERRA Trail Run for third straight year
The XTERRA Trail Run National Championship is designed to attract runners from across the country to the state of Utah. As such, it also provides an opportunity for the home-state Utahns to test their trail running skills against runners from more than 30 different states.
The 2013 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship is scheduled for September 22, and it will once again be staged on the picturesque trails at Snowbasin Resort, near Ogden, Utah. Last year, more than 500 runners participated in the event, and nearly half of them were from Utah.
"It's a huge advantage to live and train in the area," said Patrick Smyth, an elite runner from Salt Lake City. "Being at altitude and having access to an amazing network of canyons and trails here in Salt Lake will afford me ample opportunity to prepare specifically for this race."
The XTERRA Trail Run National Championship moved to Snowbasin Resort in 2011 (it was previously held in Bend, Oregon), and runners from Utah have found success in the event.
Former Olympian Lindsey Anderson, who resides in North Ogden, discovered the XTERRA race last year, and proceeded to run away with the overall women's title. She will be back in 2013 to defend her XTERRA National Championship.
"My coach told me to try this race, and it was great," she said of her first experience at Snowbasin last year. "I would encourage anybody to do this."
Smyth is actually entering the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship for the first time this year. Most of his previous running success came in track and road races, and he has recently started trail running.
"I decided to run this race because of the competitive fields the race has attracted in the past and the reputation XTERRA has established in the world of trail racing," he said. "Despite being relatively new to the trails I hope to vie for a national title."
In addition to the close proximity to the race venue, Utahns also have a built-in advantage in their familiarity with the thin air and weather conditions. The course at Snowbasin features more than 2,200 feet of climbing on the 21-kilometer championship trail, and it reaches a peak elevation of approximately 7,300 feet.
"Huge," is how Anderson described the advantage of being able to train in altitude. "If it were a flat course it might not be as much of a factor, but especially with the steep climb at the very beginning. It's also more of a factor for those who don't train at altitude or have never experienced racing at altitude and go out too fast. Experienced runners may be better about how they handle it if they've raced at altitude before, but you definitely have to respect the altitude."
Most of the experienced and elite runners choose to enter the 21K course, which is the National Championship race. However, it should be noted that the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship is promoted as a race for anyone and everyone, and there are 10K and 5K courses to accommodate the various levels of runners.
There is no qualification process for the event, so any runner of any age is eligible to enter.