Further west, in San Diego, in a wild canyon nestled smack dap in suburbia, XTERRA Black Mountain had cool fog and dry conditions for the XTERRA Black Mountain trail races. Held at the small but magnificent Black Mountain Regional Park, just east of Del Mar, the course delivered on gentle but lightning fast downhills, wide single track, and challenging climbs.
Ryan Maize, former 1500 and 3000-meter steeplechaser won handily in his first ever trail race. He enjoyed the downhills but admitted he paid the price for speed.
“The downhills made the race feel easier, but my body was worked for the next two days,” said Maize, who trains about 40 miles per week, including a long run of about 100 minutes. “I also try to get a track workout in once every week or two, but I don’t force myself. I’m trying to rebuild a healthier relationship with running instead of being obsessive and overly competitive. My goals for the year are to learn to enjoy running for myself.”
Eighteen-year old El Segundo High School standout, Elliott Bijlsma was second in 1:02:18, and Gerardo Alvarez was third in 1:02:57.
In the women’s race, XTERRA’s own story-teller extraordinaire Pamela Hunt (who writes the vast majority of XTERRA articles for the Trail Mix and Tribe Newsletters) won in 1:14:48, Zephyr Fletcher was second in 1:16:15, and Renee Hiras was third in 1:20:47.
Parking near the start of the race was limited, but the course was extremely well-organized with shuttle buses making continuous runs to take athletes back and forth. Additionally, the course markings were clear at every turn, water and Gatorade were plentiful, and the fruit and donuts after the race were appreciated and quickly inhaled.
“You guys always do a stellar job putting on races,” said Tiffany Brenner Guerrero, who ran the 15K. “I loved, loved, loved it and the announcer was terrific.”
Some runners got a laugh from the way the course was described, which was a bit different than the actual course map. Athletes were promised a “flat and fast course,” but some runners were surprised by the long downhills and steep 200 meter climbs out of the canyon.
“We all know I can’t write for s*$!,” joked Hunt. “But I think I could have come up with a more accurate course description.”
In the 5K, Moses Baek was the day’s champ in 25:12, followed by Todd Lauby in 26:36, and Griffin Lermaster in 27:14. For the women, Sierra Bowers was first in 32:31, crossing the finish with her husband Marek. Jewell Anderson was runner up in 32:40, and Kaelee Pearson was third in 32:48.
The next and final race in the XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Series is the XTERRA Malibu Creek 6/11/22K on May 19th.
Learn more about the XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Series.