This Saturday, February 17th, the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series continues with the XTERRA Thrill in the Hills in Fort Yargo Park. The race is a highlight in the series as it includes a full marathon on the trails as well as a half marathon and an 8K. Race director Tim Schroer will cap the race at 575 runners, which shows just how popular the year-round, eight-race XTERRA Georgia Series is.
“I would travel a long way to do these races,” said Nathan Garrison, 43, who will be competing in the full marathon on Saturday. “The family vibe Tim creates is a lot different than most road races. As a result, I feel such a connection with these people and have gained more friends through Tim’s races than any other sport or activity.”
Garrison discovered Tim’s races while mountain biking one day in Fort Yargo Park. He signed up for one while training for Ironman, and fell in love with trail running in the process.
“The first year or two, I did an XTERRA Trail Run here or there. Now, I do as many races as I can. My goal is to be the XTERRA Georgia Series age group regional champion and go to the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Utah.”
Susan Burkett (pictured) began running five years ago at age 63. She jumped in the XTERRA Harbins Park 5K after being inspired by her husband, an avid trail runner.
“We live in the North Georgia Mountains, so we always have to travel at least a couple of hours to race in an XTERRA Georgia event, but it’s worth it,” said Burkett, 68. “We love the XTERRA runs put on by Tim and Dirty Spokes because they are well-organized and held in beautiful places. Tim and his wife Linda make you feel so welcome at each event. Their races are like huge family get-togethers.”
Burkett’s goal this year is to win the XTERRA Georgia Short Course Series and run her first half-marathon in late April. She also plans on returning to the USATF National Cross Country Championship this year.
Burkett is a prime example of someone who has been incredibly successful on low mileage.
“Because I started late to the running scene, I’m careful not to overtrain. I run about 15 miles a week and speed walk another eight miles. I combine this with lots of yoga, Zumba, and light -weight training. I like to hit single track, technical trails, and hills on a regular basis to keep my agility sharp.”
Garrison’s training schedule varies depending on whether he is training for an Ironman, marathon, or something shorter.
“I’m a big believer in plyometrics and agility drills,” he said. “I train about two hours a day, but mental therapy miles are always in the woods. My favorite run when things are stressful is to leave everything behind and just take off. No pacing, no watch, no route. Just getting lost in the woods. These moments are what I use to recharge my batteries and get a fresh perspective.”
Learn more about the XTERRA Georgia Trail Run Series.