Patterson and Martine earn breakthrough wins at Wild Horse Trail Run
The XTERRA Wild Horse Trail Run on November 3 was all about firsts. It was the first event of the 2013-14 season for the XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series, and it produced a couple of first-time winners.
Close to 300 runners participated in the event, which was held at the Keith Waller and Sydney Dover Parks in Tampa, Florida.
Jimmy Patterson, a student at Florida Gulf Coast University, was the overall winner of the 21-kilometer half-marathon course. He finished with a time of 1 hour, 41 minutes, 25 seconds, which was more than a minute faster than the other top runners.
Patterson has been entering XTERRA Florida Trail Run races for the past three years, and he has had previous success in his age group, but this was his first overall victory. "I was excited!" he said. "This was the first time I had ever won a half-marathon and an XTERRA race. I have placed first in my age group before but never overall."
Patterson took the lead midway through the course and stayed in front the rest of the way. "It helped a lot having run this course before," he said. "I knew what was coming so I knew when to push and when to save my energy during certain parts of the race."
The one unexpected obstacle was a waist-deep stream crossing in the first mile of the course. In past years, the stream was ankle-deep. Patterson said he almost went face-first into the water because he didn't realize how deep it was.
Patterson is 20, and the next four runners behind them were all in their 40s. Hector Guzman (45) placed second in 1:43:59, followed by Zvonko Smlatic (49) in 1:46:14, Chris Wedge (42) in 1:47:55, and Jay Chancellor (41) in 1:49:41.
Tara Martine from Wilmington, North Carolina, placed eighth overall and was the first female. It was not only her first overall victory, but her first XTERRA Trail Run experience.
"The course was awesome!" she said. "It was very challenging and full of surprises like river crossings and hills so steep you had to use a rope tied to a tree at the top to pull yourself up! It had rained all day the previous day, which made for tough conditions on the more technical portions of the trail. There were certain sections that were so slippery and precarious that I was pretty much on my hands and knees grappling up some of the steeper hills! The course threw more at me than I was expecting, but I had a total blast!"
Martine is 31 and works as a registered dietician. She happened to be in Tampa on a business trip during the week of the race and decided to try it. "I really love running on trails and after this experience I'll definitely be looking to sign up for more XTERRA events in the future!" she said.
Martine broke away from the other women early in the course, and kept pace with some of the top men throughout. Her finishing time of 1:50:55 was almost eight minutes ahead of the next female.
Keira D'Amato placed second in 1:58:30, and Lauren Deady was third in 2:01:23.
The event actually featured four different courses to accommodate the various levels of runners. The winners from the other courses were: Sean Black and Laura Fulk for the 10 mile; Todd Carpenter and Jessica Wright for the 10K; Freddie Valdes and April Olson for the 4 mile.
The XTERRA Wild Horse Trail Run was the first of three races in the 2013-14 season for the XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series. The next event in the Florida Series will be the XTERRA Trout Creek Trail Run on March 23, 2014.
To register for a race in the Florida Series or to learn more about it, please visitwww.tamparaces.com.