In most cases, if you went to a race and discovered that one of the “fast guys” had just completed a Ragnar Relay, you would breathe a sigh of relief.
Not so if that “fast guy” is Anthony Fagundes, who broke his own course record on the XTERRA Black Mountain 15K course by 20 seconds last weekend, less than 24 hours after finishing the SoCal Ragnar Relay. He crossed the line in 56:13, over six minutes ahead of second place finisher, Frederic Tete.
“I wasn’t expecting that at all,” said Fagundes, two-time winner of XTERRA Black Mountain. “I didn’t even look at my watch for the first three miles because I didn’t want to get discouraged. When I finally looked at my time, I realized I had a chance to break my record so I pushed up the last hill.”
A steeplechaser in college, Fagundes entered the Surf City Marathon in Huntington Beach last year on a whim. He won the whole thing in 2:38, battling cramps and a fever for the last 11 miles. Next, he did the XTERRA SoCal Series, where he won six of the eight races and set a course record on five of them.
“On Sunday, Anthony literally ran to the race from Huntington Beach,” said race director Brennan Lindner. “After running three very tough legs of the Ragnar on Friday, Friday night, and very early Saturday morning, he pretty much blistered the rest of the field at Black Mountain.”
Fagundes raced at altitude for the first time at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Snowbasin, Utah where he finished 8th.
Last month, he finished 7th in the Way Too Cool 50K in Cool, Calfornia, which was his first ultra run. He was surprised when he looked over at a runner he was passing and realized it was 2015 XTERRA Trail Run World Champ, Patrick Smyth.“He must have been having a bad day,” said Fagundes.
“No one knew who I was at that race, but I like being the underdog. I show up and people are like, who’s this guy?”
When he’s not shattering records, Fagundes is a bicycle courier. “I like to think of it as paid cross-training. Most of the other couriers race bikes and I’m the only one who runs. But I really noticed my fitness coming together after riding so much.”
His goal for the rest of the year is to run at the XTERRA World Championship on Oahu and hopefully, secure a few sponsors and a coach. “Right now, I just look at what the fast guys do and imitate them. I like to have fun with it.”
On the women’s side, professional triathlete and coach, Lesley Paterson, won the 15K in 1:07, which was 9th place overall. The two-time XTERRA World Champion won XTERRA Tahiti, XTERRA France, and XTERRA Italy in 2016.
"It's always cool to do just one event," said Paterson. "And since running is my first passion, it's a bonus that I got to do a trail run. Plus I get a chance to see and meet a whole new XTERRA community."
Paterson's first book will be coming out June 8th, titled, The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion. It's available for pre-order here.
The XTERRA Black Mountain Trail Run is the fifth race in the XTERRA SoCal Series. The final race is XTERRA Malibu Creek on May 20th.