The city of Richmond and XTERRA will celebrate 17 years together with a weekend of “urban adventure” racing in and around the James River Park. The XTERRA Richmond Trail Runs are scheduled for June 13, and the XTERRA East Championship off-road triathlon is scheduled for June 14.
“Richmond is fortunate to host such an event,” said Ryan Middleton, who resides in nearby Glen Allen and won the 21K race a few years back. “Brown’s Island and Belle Isle are definitely popular places to be in Richmond during the summer. The location and timing of the event are perfect.”
The XTERRA Richmond Trail Run is an especially popular draw, as it is open to runners of all ages and skill levels. It features a challenging 21K course, as well as a 10K course for less-experienced runners.
Clark Jackson, a 59-year-old insurance salesman in Charlottesville, Va., had his first XTERRA experience at the Richmond Trail Run in 2010. He sprained his ankle midway through the 21K course that year, but still managed to finish in seventh place in his age division. He also got hooked on XTERRA Trail Runs because of that initial experience in Richmond.
He has since competed in numerous XTERRA Trail Run events across the country, and improved enough to win his age division in Richmond a few times.
“Well I haven't run an XTERRA race that wasn't challenging, but this one I find very difficult with all of the small climbs,” he said. “I mean they really have a bunch of them. The tight bridge walk I found especially challenging on the second lap, and you are totally exhausted.”
The run courses – both 21K and 10K – feature numerous obstacles, both man-made and natural. Perhaps the most noticeable are the “Mayan Ruins” stair climb, and the water crossings of the James River.
“The most memorable part of the course for me is the Mayan Ruins,” Middleton said. “This is a brutal climb that is so steep that you are almost crawling to the top. The heart rate shoots through the roof at this point.”
The trails also take runners in and out of lush forest areas, but also alongside some of the historic buildings in the city of Richmond. The contrast has earned the event its “urban adventure” description.
The top runners in every age group for the 21K race will receive a free entry to the 2015 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Hawaii this December.
Following the trail run on Saturday, some of the world’s best endurance athletes will take to those same trails for the XTERRA East Championship.
“Richmond is such a unique venue, it’s hard not to love it!” exclaimed XTERRA pro triathlete Suzie Snyder. “Difficult course, raucous spectators, oppressively hot and humid…finishing in one piece is an accomplishment in its own right!”
To register to run in the XTERRA Richmond Trail Runs or learn more about the XTERRA East Championship, visit www.xterrarichmond.com.