Charlotte Mahan Tackles the Trails
Charlotte Mahan has been racing XTERRA since 2006 and is one of the sport's beloved warriors. She had been competing in road triathlons for over 20 years when she transitioned over to her first XTERRA at XTERRA Oak Mountain, at the age of 61.
In 2010, Mahan won her age group at the XTERRA World Championship event, and since then, she has shared the podium with Wendy Minor. Mahan is an inspiration for many XTERRA athletes not only for her athletic prowess but for her willingness to volunteer in races and cheer for her fellow competitors. At the 2017 XTERRA World Championship, Mahan was a tireless volunteer and won her age group in the Duke's Beach House XTERRA 10K Trail Run, which was held the day before (photographed right, with Suzie Snyder). In 2017, Mahan said good-bye to XTERRA off-road triathlon due to an "unfixable" heart issue. This June, at her final race at XTERRA Tsali in North Carolina, a crowd gathered to cheer her on at the finish.
However, while Mahan may not be competing in XTERRA tris anymore, she is still swimming, biking, and running regularly and definitely hasn't lost her enthusiasm for action and adventure.
"I'm not supposed to run, ever since 2012 when my doctor told me to stop running because of my bad knee," said Mahan. "I asked the doctor if it would be ok if I only ran at the end of a triathlon. He just shook his head and said, 'Fine. I'll see you when you need a new knee.' But so far, it's manageable!" Mahan said that relaxation is her 2018 resolution. "I'm going to sleep in and have a leisurely coffee and breakfast without any specific training plans for the day," said Mahan. "If weather permits and I want to go for a ride or a run, I will. Maybe I'll go to the gym for a swim or strength workout. Or maybe I'll just settle in by the fire and read. A big stress reliever will be the freedom from pressure to perform. A successful event now will be a finish, not a time."
However, Mahan's definition of "relaxation" may be different than what many consider it to be. She has already signed up for the XTERRA Fort Yargo Trail Run in October. "It's a good three and a half hours from where I live but I have several friends from all over the Atlanta area who are going to spend the night the day before. It should be fun!"
The XTERRA trail run community is in for a treat this year with Mahan on the loose. You would be hard-pressed to find someone more fun to run a race with, and she embodies the "Live More" spirit in everything she does.
"I have reluctantly accepted that a willingness to approach life with a more open mind is going to be the key to happiness going forward. I'm learning that there are many fun things to do. I'm looking forward to kayaking in a crystal river to see manatees, camping with my hubby and dogs, hiking, taking beach vacations, and spending time with friends. I loved the experience in Maui this year of being able to see all my friends finish instead of still being out on the course. Perhaps stopping to smell the roses is more important than another podium."
Mahan may be stopping to smell the roses, but after the race, don't be surprised if again, she finds that top step.