For the second-time in three years XTERRA pro Andy Lee from Texas won the XTERRA EPIC Rustman then the XTERRA Gator Terra off-road tri on back-to-back days in Ruston, Louisiana.
It’s actually the third year in a row Lee won the Epic-Rustman, but he was beat in the Gator Terra the following day by Ben Hall last year.
“I like the longer distance races,” said Lee. “For me the EPIC distance is perfect because it's long enough for physical and mental endurance to be a big factor, but short enough that you still feel like you are hammering not just slogging through it.”
On Saturday Lee was the only one under four hours, with a winning time of 3:58:09. Ben Schloegel was second and Ben Dillon was third.
“Course was in great shape, weather was good also. In 2012 it was really hot which made for a tough run, but the last two years have been great racing weather,” said Lee.
More than a dozen racers took on the Rustman Challenge, including 63-year-old James Westmoreland who raced for a little over 10 hours on Saturday, then came back to complete the Gator Terra in 3:30on Sunday.
“Yeah, it’s kind of fun. On Sunday everybody wants to talk about how much they are hurting from Saturday,” explained Lee. “What helps is that Lincoln Parish Park is a beautiful park in northern Louisiana, the trails are great and Fred (Phillips) always puts on a good race.”
Holly Ratcliff from South Lake Tahoe, California won the women’s double, taking the overall title at the EPIC in 5:54:35 and then placing 5th at the Gator Terra in 2:03:37.
Of note, seven of the top 10 men in the XTERRA Gator Terra had raced in the Epic the day before.
“There are four EPIC distance races this year and I encourage everyone to try at least one,” said Lee.
Here’s the report from race director Fred Phillips…
The 18th annual Running of XTERRA in Ruston had near perfect weather conditions both days.
Saturday May 3 at 9:00am start the XTERRA Epic Rustman, consisting of a 1 mile Swim/30 mile MTB/10mile trail run. The field was made up of seasoned athletes who were calm and ready for the challenge the day ahead will present.
The 2 Lap Swim had the athletes start waist deep, Gregory Piske (52, Richardson TX) had the fastest swim T1 combo of the day at 25:37, and Diana Hardy (55, Santa Fe NM) captured the Fasted Swim on the female side.
The Bike course consisted of 3 Laps of a 10.1 mile loop, with the competitors passing through a feed zone adjacent to the transition area. Andy Lee (42, Lakeway Tx) Took the lead on the bike with 2:19:07 split. On the Female Side Holly Ratcliff ( 55, South Lake Tahoe, CA) lead the Women with the fastest Spilt at 3: 17:50.
The Run Course also consisted of three laps. Here again Andy Lee Placed his stamp on this leg with the Fasted Run split of the day at 1:09:54. Altogether Andy Took first place overall as well as breaking his own course record by a little over a minute to finish in 3:58:09. Holly Ratcliff also captured the fastest Run Split for the women at 1:56:13. as well as first place overall with a time of 5:54:36.
The Top Finishers for the XTERRA Epic - Rustman stacked up as follows:
- 1st Holly Ratcliff - 30, South Lake Tahoe CA, 5:54:36
- 2nd Kathy Johnson - 54, Dallas TX , 6:20:33
- 3rd Terrhan Dial - 39, Houston TX, 6:24:00
- 1st Any Lee - 42, Lakeway TX, 3:38:09
- 2nd Benjamin Schloegal - 36, Kansas City MO 4:17:07
- 3rd Benjamin Dillon - 30, Pensacola FL 4:19:29
Day two, Sunday May 4, of the weekend brought the 18th annual XTERRA Gator Terra onto the beach. Toeing the Start line were 17 competitors within the registered field of 91, doing the Double, which is comprised of the Epic on Saturday and the Sprint on Sunday.
The Race started with a running start from the white sandy beach at Lincoln Parish Park. The swim was dominated by Andy Kelsey ( 47 ) with an 11:39. Within the Women Diana Hardy ( doing the Double of the Epic and Gator Terra) pulled a 19:38.
The Bike is one lap of the 10.1 mile course. Again today Andy Lee rode the fastest Bike at 45:12. Within the women eventual overall Winner Kim McLain (40) rode to a front with a 58:08.
The run on the men's side Andy Lee again had the Fastest run with a 21:58. Bringing him in for the overall win at 1:22:15. Terrieha Romer (31) through down the Fastest run at 29:33, which brought her to 2nd Place in the 30-34 age group. With a solid run Kim Mclain clinched 1st overall with a 1:56:33.