The XTERRA Northeast Trail Run Series delighted ultra runners everywhere by providing 80k (50 miles), 50k, and 25k options at three of the four races. The trail runs were held in Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York.
The series was full of memorable events and memorable weather. XTERRA Shepaug was supposed to start the season off in March, but the spring blizzard in the northeast necessitated a new date in April.
Given the that New York Adventure Racing Association put on the races, Denise Mast and Austin Planz opened the XTERRA Shepaug course on race day anyway for the brave souls who wanted to run through the snowdrifts. For adventure racers and ultra runners, it seems that the more difficult the conditions, the more fun the race!
By the time April rolled around, the weather was warmer, but the course wasn't much easier.
"By then, the two feet of snow melt and seemingly endless rain turned 6.5 miles of the course into an energy and soul sucking mud run," said race director, Austin Planz with a grin.
Simon Edgett who favored the 50k runs in the series described XTERRA Shepaug in his own words:
"The first section was slippery with mud, and if a racer tried to avoid the bogs by going to the sides, brambles were waiting to claw at him with sharp thorns. It should be understood that the race is organized and directed by New York Adventure Racing Association who keeps the spirit of their name alive in all of the races the organize."
In May, the weather was more hospitable for XTERRA Wawayanda. Former Marine, Billy Richards made headlines when he competed in the XTERRA Wawayanda 50 Mile Trail Run while carrying the American flag the entire way. He did this a day after he competed in the Spartan Ultra Beast Marathon, six 50K races, and the Long Island Marathon (he did all the races in nine consecutive days). Richards carries the flag to show honor and support for military, police, first responders, and America itself.
"At XTERRA Steep Rock, on August 5th, runners were able to experience the camaraderie, beauty, and triumph of long distance running,” said Denise Mast. “With a suspension bridge, old railroad tunnel, 19th century iron ore mines, blast furnaces, and scenic, tranquil trails, it’s totally worth going for the 25k."
The XTERRA Syracuse Trail Run, held on August 13th, is still growing. The course is set in the rolling heartland of Central New York amidst historic sites, rolling upland forest, and glacial lakes. It is the only race of the series without an ultra distance, but it makes up for that with plenty of kids' races.
Of course, you don't have to be an ultra-distance runner to enjoy the XTERRA Northeast Trail Run Series. All races include a 10k, which is just as beautiful as the longer events. 25k, 50k, and 80k.
Stay tuned for next year's season - if you start training now, you might be ready.
For more information, visit www.XTERRAplanet.com.