On March 11th, Art DeGraw continued his winning streak in the XTERRA Arizona Trail Series by winning the XTERRA Black Canyon half-marathon in 1:31:56. Nick Coury was only about three minutes behind him and finished in 1:34:49. Adam Danks was third in 1:47:19.
“The course is just beautiful,” said DeGraw. “It’s a gradual climb and takes you out to a remote part of the desert where you can really enjoy the solitude.”
The runners had to deal with rain and mud, which is unusual in Arizona.
“The course had some muddy sections but it’s not every day that we have the opportunity to run in the rain around Phoenix,” continued DeGraw. “I had planned to try for a fast time as this course lends itself to that, but I definitely lost a few minutes to the mud.”
In the women’s race, Kristi Garcia won in 1:59:05, about five minutes ahead of Jennifer Barcellona, who crossed the line in 2:04:03. Faith Chamas was third in 2:11:15.
The point-to-point half marathon started on Table Mesa Road in Black Canyon City and followed the Black Canyon Trail to Rock Springs Café. The recent rain made for a wet and muddy course, but as always, the XTERRA Tribe embraced the experience.
“The Black Canyon Trail isn’t widely known, despite being just outside Phoenix,” said Adam Danks, who finished third at XTERRA Black Canyon and is the 2018 XTERRA Arizona Regional Champ in the 40-44 age group. “It’s a hidden gem.”
Danks added that the course is mostly uphill because it heads North towards the mountains in Flagstaff.
“It’s a beautiful high desert trail with cactus and chaparral. It’s very runnable with some technical sections. Although it’s mostly uphill, towards the end, there are some screaming downhills through washes and canyons.”
Some runners competed in the race for what was just past the finish line.
“XTERRA Black Canyon is my favorite race in the series,” said Mandi Nilsen, who won her 30-34 age group. “It is a point to point race and it ends at the most delicious pie place in Arizona! I’m motivated to run as fast as possible so I can get myself a pie!”
XTERRA Black Canyon also included a 10K race, which was won by Nick Veglia in 45:11. Jaime Cordova was second in 46:47 and Anthony Santa Cruz was third in 48:35. Jennifer Faraone won for the women with a time of 49:02, about three minutes ahead of Elaina Biechler who finished in 52:12. Danica Patrick was third in 53:16.
This was the fifth and final race in the XTERRA Arizona Trail Series which kicked off the season last October with the XTERRA Estrella Mountain Trail Run.
View the complete results for the XTERRA Black Canyon Trail Run at www.4peaksracing.com.
More information on the XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series.
Photos courtesy of Action Media Photography