Last weekend, XTERRA stopped in Connecticut and Delaware with races from 5K in distance all the way up to 80K. Both the XTERRA Shepaug Run Raiser and XTERRA Brandywine Creek were season openers for the XTERRA Northeast and XTERRA Atlantic Series.
XTERRA Shepaug Run Raiser – 10/25/50/80K
On March 24th, racers were greeted with snow, but the winter has been so harsh that a few inches of white stuff on the course didn’t bother these New Englanders.
“The forecaster for a Noreaster was a bust,” said race director Austin Planz. “But the good fortunes of spring came with a heavy price. Runners had to endure a waterlogged 10K nightmare. Briars tricked competitors as they tried to find reprieve from the mud along the edge of the tight, winding trails. The soggy fields were as devastating mentally as they were physically.”
Planz gave a special congratulations to Jason Leonard for his win in the 80K – about 50 miles – race, which took just over nine hours. He was the only runner who did the longest course.
Greg Stewart, 42, won the 50K race with a time of 5:15:50. Eli Chamberlain, 41, was second in 5:26:51, and Judd Lorson, 34, was third in 5:26:52. No women participated in the 50K.
Cooper Knoulth, 32, won the 25K in 2:14:13 while Ryan Hall, 36, was second in 2:15:39. Patrick O’Brien, 25, was third in 2:20:17.
Laura Blais, 44, was Saturday’s leader in the 25K. She won with a time of 3:09:24, about three minutes ahead of Kim Jerome, 25, who was second in 3:12:21. Karen Clark, 29, was third in 3:23:27.
The race directors were impressed with the stewardship of the runners who left no trace of their efforts on the trails.
“Spirits were high as runners stuck around for food and conversation,” said Planz. “The true mark of how good of a group it was, is the fact that I did not find a single piece of garbage on the entire course. This keeps trails open for our use.”
View complete results at http://iresultslive.com.
XTERRA Brandywine Creek 5/12K
Several states south, in Delaware, runners also had to scrape snow from the starting line for the first race of the XTERRA Atlantic Series on March 25th.
“It was 33 degrees at the start, which was better than last year’s 13 degrees,” said race director Kristen Nicholson. “The runners who were brave enough to show up had a great time though.”
“The course was extremely challenging with the recent snow in the area causing it to be wet and slippery out there,” said the women’s 12K champ, Jessica Riggs, who has competed in both XTERRA Oak Mountain and the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. “The biggest challenge for me was the creek crossing. I avoided getting wet while other brave souls trudged right through the freezing water. After the creek crossing slowed me down, I knew I had to run the hills as hard as I could to win. I didn’t pass Lyndsey until the last mile, where it was a finish in the snow and wind.”
The first three male finishers made quick time on the snowy trails and all ran sub-seven minute pace for the 12K course. Jacob Capin, 29, was the champ with a time of 50:10 while Collin Lenoir, 23, was behind in 51:05, just 16 seconds ahead of Taylor Shoulders, 30, who finished in 51:21.
Capin admitted he was surprised to find he was the first to cross the finish line, as during the race, he watched Eric Barton pull ahead of him. Unfortunately, Eric ran off course and finished fourth.
“I feel like Eric was the strongest runner out there,” said Capin graciously. “Eric was a great sport about it too and told me after the race he was pleased with his pace. Collin and Taylor ran solid times and pushed me to run faster.”
Capin has been training intensely for his upcoming triathlon season. He typically logs about 29-32 miles a week running, bikes about 130-150 miles a week, and swims 12 -13K, in addition to strength training.
“I have many athletic goals this year, including being the XTERRA Atlantic Series Regional Champ, but I know there will be many talented, hard-working runners gunning for that title too. I would love to represent our region at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. I would also love to do the XTERRA Oak Mountain triathlon and the trail run the next day. While I consider myself more of a triathlete than a trail runner, I absolutely love trail running. I always do my weekly long run on the trails and do most of my easy and recovery runs on the trails as well. As a physical therapist and biomechanist, I appreciate the varied terrain and surfaces that make each stride unique.”
For the women, Jessica Riggs, 41, finished in 1:05 flat, which was about 8:43 pace. Lyndsey Fraser, 24, was second in 1:05:40, and Christa Venturini, 50, was third in 1:08:54.
In the 5K, DeAndre Pierce, 20, took the race in 21:55. Jeremy Adams, 39, was second in 21:57 while Deandre Dawkins, 21, was third in 22:32. For the women, Kathy Nguyen, 43, won the 5K in 27:43. Maria Dziembowska, 41, was second in 28:28 while Judy Head, 57, was third in 29:49.
View complete results at https://runsignup.com.
Photos courtesy of Tobias Ginsberg and Jefferson Nicholson