Mauricio Mendez and Lesley Paterson captured the tenth annual XTERRA Beaver Creek 19-kilometer trail race in Avon, Colorado this morning with winning times of 1:13:07 and 1:28:28, respectively. Both athletes also won the XTERRA Beaver Creek off-road triathlon titles the previous day.
“That was harder than I expected,” said Mendez. “I thought it would be a good hard effort just to keep the training going, but after the first lap, I was like, oh my God, this course is really hard. I pushed harder than I wanted to, but that’s a great thing.”
Oeyvind Heiberg Sundby and Joshua Merrick, who ultimately finished second and third in 1:16:02 and 1:18:25, pushed the pace up front over the first two miles of the course.
“Those guys were running hard at the start of the first lap and I wasn’t finding a rhythm,” said Mendez. “I thought, these guys are strong and it’s going to be a good suffer fest and a real race. I don’t know how to take it easy. It’s my instinct to race. The last kilometer I saw some friends who were doing the 10K and 5K and that gave me a boost.”
Mendez passed Merrick and Sundby at about the second mile at the top of Corkscrew. Mendez was the only runner to go under a seven-minute pace over the grueling course, which climbs up to about 9,400-feet in altitude.
“You go to hell two times on the course,” said Mendez with a laugh. “The first loop of the course includes two miles of climbing really hard. Then you have time to catch your breath and enjoy yourself. Then you push hard again.”
Lukus Klawitter – who also raced in XTERRA Beaver Creek the previous day – was fourth in 1:20:04.
Also of note in the men’s race, Craig Vogtsberger, the most decorated physically challenged athlete in XTERRA America Tour off-road triathlon history, took his talents to the trails today.
“It was rough out of the start, but after 4K it was smooth sailing until about 13K,” said Vogtsberger, who suffers from dysautonomia as a result of being crushed between two Army Humvees in 2001. The accident induced massive trauma to his entire body, including significant head and neck injuries. He was told he would never do much with his body again.
Flash forward to today, when Vogtsberger covered the tough XTERRA Beaver Creek Trail Run course at altitude.
“When it got tough, I just told myself that I’ve done this before and I could do it again. And that really, all I had to do was finish.”
Vogtsberger attributes his great race to the fact that he radically changed his diet, sleep habits, and daily schedule this year.
“I was always this close in paratriathlon and XTERRA,” said Vogtsberger. “This year I revamped everything. Now I eat every two hours and I no longer eat big meals. I feel amazing and don’t have the lethargy I used to. I also participated in the VA Sleep Clinic and learned how to wind down at the end of the day and get better sleep. As a result, I kind of fly through the day now.”
While Vogtsberger is always positive, he is in constant pain, measured as 5-10 on a 1-10 scale. It is not unusual for him to be curled into a ball, sweating, because the pain from his accident is so severe.
“That’s the benefit of exercise,” said Vogtsberger after today’s race. “Right now, my body is so confused that I experience a kind of euphoria.”
In the beginning of the year, Vogtsberger focused on paratriathlon, and now he is focused on trail running. This summer and fall, Vogtsberger will be running at XTERRA Castle Rock, XTERRA Golden Gate Canyon, and the XTERRA Marathon of Races.
The women’s race followed a similar pattern as the men’s. Paterson was challenged in the first mile but quickly made her move and sailed easily into the lead. She came through the first 10K of the race more than two minutes faster than she ran the same course during her triathlon the day before.
“That’s just silly,” she said, “But I actually enjoyed today’s race today and felt much better. For the first 10 minutes, the girls out there were really competitive. It took me about six minutes to get out of the pack, because you really have to pace yourself on this course.”
Mary Kate McGuire finished second in 1:31:21 while former XTERRA elite triathlete Sara Schuler finished third in 1:34:43.
“I thought for a hot second I could run with Lesley, but that was a mistake,” said Schuler, who took a break from XTERRA with the arrival of her children, now ages five and almost one. “I haven’t been racing for a few years and it’s great to be back on this course and with the XTERRA Tribe.”
British elite triathlete Leanda Cave won the women’s 40-44 age group with a time of 1:42:42. In 2002, Cave was the World Triathlon Champion, and in 2012, she won both the Ironman Kona and 70.3 World Championship crowns.
Of note, Mendez will team up with Paterson to host The Braveheart Sufferfest Four-Day triathlon training camp in Cozumel from August 16-19th.
“This is a great hot weather training camp,” said Paterson. “We will train the body and the brain to deal with the heat and humidity you will find at the XTERRA World Championship in Maui. It’s four days of hardcore training as well as talks with sports psychologist Simon Marshall.”
XTERRA Beaver Creek 10K and 5K
Annie Bersagel was the overall winner and first female at the XTERRA Beaver Creek 10K. She covered the distance in 10:55, or 7:27 pace per mile. Sierra Willis was second in 43:31 and Ellie Smith was third in 46:20.
For the men, Josh Lee was first in 42:35, or 7:45 pace per mile. Josh Anderson was second in 42:42 while Nat Harward was third in 47:31.
In the 5K, Jack Van Nuys won in 24:32 while Christian Alvarez was second in 26:53. Zenon Reece – only 13 – was third in 27:10. For the women, Ellie Dunlap won in 27:55 and Calla Dexheimer was second in 28:30. Zoe Silver – only 10 – was third in 29:43.
There were also free kids races for toddlers to 10-year-olds that delighted parents, kids, and the crowd gathered ‘round.
The XTERRA Beaver Creek Trail Runs was the fourth of five races in the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series.
The top runners in every age group for the 19K course of the Beaver Creek Trail Run received points toward the XTERRA Colorado Trail Run Series standings and each division champion was awarded a complimentary entry into the 2018 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship to be held December at Kualoa Ranch on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu.
Here’s a look at all the winners from today’s 19K:
Female Age Group Champions
|20 - 24||Mary Kate McGuire||1:31:20||Providence, UT|
|25 - 29||Hannah Osowski||1:35:22||Colorado Springs, CO|
|30 - 34||Megan Broderick||1:42:36||Fort Lauderdale, FL|
|35 - 39||Lesley Paterson||1:28:27||Stirling, Scotland|
|40 - 44||Leanda Cave||1:42:41||Miami Beach, FL|
|45 - 49||Erica Ruge||1:48:12||Longmont, CO|
|50 - 54||Sharon Colburn||2:29:31||Parker, CO|
|60 - 64||Andrea Morgan||2:32:51||Atlanta, GA|
|70 - 74||Jo May||3:07:55||Houston, TX|
Male Age Group Champions
|20 - 24||Mauricio Mendez||1:13:06||Mexico City, Mexico|
|25 - 29||Lukus Klawitter||1:20:03||Alamosa, CO|
|30 - 34||Oeyvind Heiberg Sundby||1:16:02||Eagle, CO|
|35 - 39||Joshua Merrick||1:18:24||Fraser, CO|
|40 - 44||Jeremy Johnson||1:32:24||Denver, CO|
|45 - 49||Gerald Romero||1:28:31||Colorado Springs, CO|
|50 - 54||Ryan Brackley||1:40:18||Boulder, CO|
|55 - 59||Reid Allan||1:53:36||Hesperus, CO|
|60 - 64||Dave Morgan||2:03:14||Atlanta, GA|
|65 - 69||Doug Beagle||2:14:23||Houston, TX|
|PC||Craig Vogtsberger||2:05:51||Aurora, CO|
Next up is the XTERRA Castle Rock Trail Run 5/10/20K in Castle Rock, Colorado on August 5th. Current standings, schedule, and information can be viewed at
The 2018 XTERRA Beaver Creek Championship was presented by Paul Mitchell and Beaver Creek Resorts. Sponsors include the Utah Sports Commission, Gatorade Endurance, Suunto, XTERRA Wetsuits, XTERRA Fitness, XTERRA Boards, Oofos, City of Avon, Michelob Ultra, and Beaver Creek mountain lodging. Special thanks to all the great locals, volunteers, mountain ops, and medical staff for an amazing job. This great event would not be possible without their generous support.