Last weekend, the XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series wrapped up its 2018 season, which began with the XTERRA Estrella Mountain 20K on October 8th and finished with the XTERRA Black Canyon 21K on March 11th.
With the end of the season comes the recognition of the XTERRA Arizona Regional Champs who earned the most points in their age groups. The winners receive free entry into the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Ogden Utah on September 16th, 2018.
Art DeGraw, Mandi Nilsen (pictured above), and Adam Danks plan to continue on to XTERRA Nationals and hopefully to the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Oahu this December.
DeGraw not only won his 35-39 age group in every race in the series, he was the overall champ in every race in the XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Series.
“Art was absolutely excellent,” said race director Shannon Lindner. “He dominated every race.”
DeGraw runs for Araviapa Racing and will continue to race in the Arizona region.
“I’ve started to think about plans for XTERRA Nationals and XTERRA Worlds,” he said after last weekend’s race. “Racing the course in Hawaii would be a dream.”
“I will be making the trip to Utah for sure!” said Mandi Nilsen, 30-34 age group champ. “I love running in the mountains and challenging myself against others.”
Currently, Nilsen runs about 25-30 miles a week depending on what races are coming up. In the XTERRA Arizona Trail Series, she won her age group at XTERRA McDowell Mountain and placed second at XTERRA Black Canyon and XTERRA White Tanks. Nilsen runs for the sheer joy of it.
“Running is my favorite,” she said. “I love being outside, pounding the pavement or tearing up the trails. When I am out for a run I have no cares in the world and I live in the moment. All I am thinking about is where my feet are landing and how lucky I am to be able to do something I love so much.”
“I’m absolutely planning on being at XTERRA Nationals,” said Danks, the 40-44 regional champ. “And I would love to run at XTERRA Worlds in Hawaii.” Danks currently runs about 60 miles a week and won his age group at the XTERRA San Tan Trail Run, the XTERRA White Tanks Trail Run, and at XTERRA Black Canyon.
One of the benefits of determining regional champs by points is that the system rewards consistency as well as speed – two qualities important for both fitness and success.
Jaclyn Brown was third in her age group at XTERRA Black Canyon and fourth in her age group at the XTERRA McDowell Mountain and XTERRA White Tanks Trail Runs.
“Shannon and her crew always put on amazing events,” said the 35-39 age group champ. “She makes the courses scenic and challenging and I always enjoy the variety and the opportunity to explore local trails and parks. I also love that there is an option for a long run or a shorter course.”
Brown is a family and sports medicine physician and she runs for run, fitness, and a way to relieve stress.
“I like to practice what I preach,” she said. “Oddly enough I’m probably one of the least regimented runners when it comes to training plans and race schedules. I basically stay fit and sign up for races as I go. Yet, I do like to be competitive and push myself. A mentor once pointed out that I must always be high on endorphins. Well, maybe I am.”
That’s not a bad way to be at all.
XTERRA Arizona Trail Run Regional Champs
|25-29||Megan Kupres (2)||Phoenix, AZ||200|
|30-34||Mandi Nilsen||Tempe, AZ||280|
|35-39||Jaclyn Brown||Gilbert, AZ||232|
|40-44||Erin Kennedy (2)||Scottsdale, AZ||380|
|45-49||Micaela Leighton||Buckeye, AZ||390|
|50-54||Jan Howard||Phoenix, AZ||200|
|55-59||Barb Dow (2)||Phoenix, AZ||172|
|60-64||Denise Carol||Phoenix, AZ||370|
|20-24||Hunter Rickert||Scottsdale, AZ||172|
|25-29||James Bayes||Phoenix, AZ||180|
|30-34||Bryan McLaren||Phoenix, AZ||346|
|35-39||Arthur DeGraw||Flagstaff, AZ||400|
|40-44||Adam Danks||Glendale, AZ||300|
|45-49||Mark LaBelle||Gilbert, AZ||328|
|50-54||Blake Sacha (3)||Gilbert, AZ||380|
|55-59||Ron Girard||Goodyear, AZ||290|
|60-64||Melvin Betani (3)||Peoria, AZ||382|
|70-74||Ron Harding, Jr. (5)||Chandler, AZ||300|
Learn more about the XTERRA Trail Run Series.
Photos courtesy of Action Media Photography