Runners from 12 states and Canada participate in Harvest Trail Run
Runners from 12 different states and Canada gathered at St. Edward State Park in Kenmore, Washington, last weekend for the XTERRA Harvest Trail Run. It was the opening race of the 2013-14 season of the XTERRA Washington Trail Run Series, and more than 170 runners participated.
Eric Garner from Kirkland, Washington, was the overall winner. He completed the 21-kilometer half-marathon course in record time of 1 hour, 30 minutes, 52 seconds.
"The course was really challenging, as the four major climbs didn't allow much recovery," Garner explained. "But it was fun and well-marked, and made really good use of the available trails. Conditions were near perfect. Some rain the night before and morning of left a few slippery spots, but conditions during the race were dry and cool and perfect for a fall race in the woods."
Garner's winning time was more than four minutes faster than the previous course record, and he finished nearly five minutes ahead of the other top runners in the field.
"I got a bit impatient and took the lead a minute or so in," he said. "I didn't notice the gap; probably wasn't paying attention to it."
Garner ran the course like an expert, but it was surprisingly his first time entering a trail race of any kind, let alone an XTERRA Trail Run event. He is an experienced runner, but all of his previous races came on the roads or tracks.
Masazumi Fujioka, who is also from Kirkland, placed second in 1:36:20, and Kevin Ryan from Bellingham was third in 1:44:37.
Michaela Kohmetscher from Seattle placed 12th overall, and was the first female finisher. She finished in 2:00:52, which was around three minutes ahead of the other top women.
Kohmetscher is experienced in trail races, but this was her first victory in an XTERRA Trail Run event. She did the race with her husband, Mark, who placed 24th overall in 2:12:09.
There was an exciting race for second place in the women's division, with Monilee Atkinson from Redmond finishing in 2:03:51 to edge Julianna Looney from Shoreline by four seconds.
In addition to the 21K long course, there was also a 10K course. Elliott Marsh was first overall and Diane Rizzardo was the top female for the 10K course. They are both from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
In addition to Washington and Canada, runners from Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Kentucky, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas and Utah participated in the event.
The XTERRA Harvest Trail Run was the first of three races in the 2013-14 season for the XTERRA Washington Trail Run Series. The next race in the series is scheduled for the spring of 2014 (specific date and location to be announced). For more information on the series, please visit www.nwtrailruns.com.