Alabama Series has five races remaining this season
The XTERRA Cheaha Trail Run takes runners to the highest point in the state of Alabama at around 2,400 feet above sea level. By the end of the 10-kilometer race, David Olsen and Rebecca Pedrick took the highest spots on the podium.
Olsen was the overall winner of the Cheaha Trail Run, completing the course in 43 minutes, 48 seconds. Pedrick finished in 52:18 to take top female honors. Around 100 runners from five different states participated in the event on September 28 at Cheaha State Park Trails at Delta, Alabama.
"The weather conditions were fantastic at Cheaha," Olsen said. "The course itself, however, was much more difficult than I anticipated."
Olsen, however, is proving to be a fast learner as well as a fast runner in the XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series. The XTERRA Red Mountain Trail Run on September 14 was the first trail race of Olsen's career, and he ended up winning it. The Cheaha Trail Run was his second trail run, which makes him two-for-two in overall victories.
"I had never run a true trail race before Red Mountain a couple of weeks ago and I have very limited experience on the more technical sections, so I had to do some quick learning when I realized that most of this course would be steep, rocky, and single track," Olsen said. "Not to mention, the course runs mostly downhill for the first half and makes you run back up the last couple of miles. I remember at mile three thinking, "Wow, I feel great!" only to realize that I would soon have to make up for our drastic elevation change and run back up the mountain."
Olsen, 22, is a former track and cross country runner at Birmingham-Southern College. He finished nearly three minutes ahead of the rest of the field. "It was so quiet out on the course that I had no idea how far behind the next guy was," he said.
Gene Hood placed second in 46:40, and 53-year-old Larry Dickerson was third in 48:04.
Pedrick was the first overall female, just one week after competing in the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Ogden, Utah. She placed fifth in her age group at the Utah race, but the extreme elevations (up to 7,300 feet) perhaps prepared her for the climbs at Cheaha.
Pedrick dominated the women's field at Cheaha, finishing more than three minutes ahead. Hayley Long was second, and 54-year-old Therese Bynum was third.
The XTERRA Cheaha Trail Run was the second of seven events for the 2013-14 season of the XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series. The next race in the series will be the XTERRA Henry Farm Trail Run at Jacksonville, Alabama.
To enter a race in the XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series or to learn more about it, please visitwww.dirtyspokes.com.