Hales, Paterson Win XTERRA Trail Run National Championship

Sep. 16, 2018

Brett Hales from Layton, Utah and Lesley Paterson from Scotland won the 14th annual XTERRA Trail Run National Championship half-marathon at Snowbasin Resort this morning.

It’s the third win on this course in as many tries for Hales, who won the 2014 and 2017 races; and the second win in a row for Paterson, who also won the XTERRA Pan American Championship off-road triathlon at Snowbasin yesterday for the second straight year.

Hales took command of the race about a mile from the start and never gave up the lead. He crossed the finish line in 1:22:26, about 30 seconds in front of Mauricio Mendez, who finished in 1:22:59. David Roche was third in 1:24:21.

The race included a lap around the Snowbasin area before it headed up the mountain and onto single track. During this first lap, most of the lead men and women stayed together.

“During that first ‘glory loop,’ I was feeling out the field because I knew that Mauricio was in the race and David Roche was in it and there were some good trail guys out today,” said Hales. “When we got to the second climb, I threw in a surge and pulled a four to five second gap. From there, I just started increasing it, knowing that if I got daylight between me and them then I could inch away. On the trails, if you can’t see the person ahead of you then you don’t know if they are five seconds or five minutes ahead of you. I knew that if I could get out of eyesight I would be OK.”

Hales was referring to the switchbacks that wind up and down the mountains at Snowbasin, which make it difficult to judge how far a competitor is in front of you. By the time Hales made it to the top of Sardine Peak, he had a 30 second gap on Mendez and Roche, but he wasn’t comfortable with that lead.

“Once I got to the top of Sardine Peak, I started feeling the fatigue set in,” said Hales. “There were a lot of things going through my mind at that point because I didn’t know what Mauricio and David were going to do. That’s when I decided to open up and use the downhill.”

Mendez and Roche were close enough to witness Hales’ talent.

“Brett was such a downhill runner,” said Roche. “His descents are like a work of art. He was monstrous on the last downhill.”

Next up for Hales is the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship on December 2nd on Oahu, where he will toe the line with three-time XTERRA Trail Run World Champion Joe Gray and last year’s third-place finisher, Andy Wacker.

For most of the race, Roche was in second and Mendez was third. Between mile seven and eight, at the top of Sardine Peak (7300 feet, elevation), Mendez made his move and passed Roche. The two of them stayed together for the descent, and then at the fire road, Mendez put in a surge.

“David and I ran down the hill together,” said Mendez. “He was a really good downhill runner. At the fire road, I had to do an attack to get rid of him.”

Mendez was one of the favorites to win the XTERRA National Championship the day before but had to drop out during the mountain bike section due to a broken saddle on his bike that couldn’t be repaired.

“After some frustrations yesterday, it was perfect to shake out the legs today,” said Mendez. “I was looking forward to seeing where my run fitness was and the pleasure of racing against this caliber of guys. I felt good and did what I wanted to do which was to build my confidence on the run. I’m really happy with my race today.”

David Roche, who coaches many trail runners and triathletes, stayed with Mendez as long as he could.

“Mau passed me at the top of Sardine Peak and he’s just a beautiful runner,” said Roche. “I thought I could get him on the descent, and I got a bit of a gap, but as soon as we started the final climb to the finish, he made it up like that.”

Former Weber State cross-country standout, Kurt Ward, finished fourth and XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Regional Champ Elliott Bijlsma was fifth.

Paterson Never Looked Back

Lesley Paterson XTERRA

In the women’s race, Lesley Paterson led from the instant the cannon went off. She finished the race in 1:37:22, over a minute and a half in front of Misikir Demessie who came through in 1:38:59. David Roche’s wife Megan was third in 1:39:25.

“My goal was to maintain the lead the whole race,” said Paterson. “I knew there were a couple of quick girls here, and since I’m stronger on the uphills, I wanted to see if I could gap them. I kind of just went for it and made a surge on the first climb. All of a sudden, I had a gap of ten meters, so I kept pushing.”

Both Demessie and Roche are talented women runners in their own right. Roche is the 2016 USATF Ultrarunner and Sub-Ultrarunner of the Year, a four-time national ultrarunning champion, and six-time member of the U.S. National Ultrarunning Team.

Demessie, from Ethiopia, is a road runner, who has clocked a 1:09 half marathon and a 2:25 marathon. In April, Demessie won the Illinois Marathon and broke the course record.

Like Mendez and David Roche, Demessie and Megan Roche spent some of the race together, swapping second and third places.

“Misikir and I were together until the descent at about mile four,” said Roche. “She stayed about 15 seconds ahead of me, which doesn’t sound like much, but it feels like a lot out there."

Roche moved from northern California to Colorado this year and is still getting used to racing at altitude.

“It kind of feels like you are dying,” admitted Roche, who wasn’t going to let a little bit of elevation spoil her day. She has been keeping a hip injury at bay and was relieved that it was still feeling good after today’s race.

“I ran with so much joy today because whenever you feel like you’re going to have an injury and you don’t, it’s like this overwhelming sense of joy,” said Roche. “Even though the race was tough in terms of being at altitude and pushing those climbs, it was really fun out there. I left if all out on the course and that’s all I can ask for.”

Today’s race was Demessie’s first race on the trails. She decided to try XTERRA in order to get stronger for her upcoming road races. However, her husband made the mistake of thinking that Snowbasin was the same elevation as Salt Lake City.

“My husband said this race was close to sea level,” said Demessie with a big laugh. “I kept telling him that I felt so heavy out there, like I was running at altitude.”

After two miles, Demessie began suffering from stomach problems, but stayed with it and maintained second place. “I don’t quit,” she said.

Kevin Tuck Wins 10th XTERRA Trail Run National Title

Kevin Tuck won his 10th XTERRA Trail Run National age group title (60-64) and was 15th overall with a time of 1:40:25. To honor his accomplishments over the past decade, he was given the number “1” on his bib.

Tammy Tabeek is approaching Tuck’s success and won her 55-59 age group for the sixth straight time this year.

Andy Lee, who won the 45-49 age group at the XTERRA National Championship on Saturday, won his age group today for the fourth time. Lee, originally from England, is a firefighter in Texas, where he is often the overall winner in his local XTERRA races.

Adrian Wolford from Oklahoma also won for the fourth time, this time in the 80 plus age group.

XTERRA Trail Run Start

Here's a look at all of today's age group winners...

XTERRA Trail Run National Champs (Male)





10 - 14

Noah Kilgore (2)

Jonesboro, GA



Elliott Bijlsma

El Segundo, CA


20 - 24

Mauricio Mendez

Mexico City, Mexico


25 - 29

Kurt Ward

Ogden, UT


30 - 34

Brett Hales (3)

Layton, UT


35 - 39

Joshua Merrick (2)

Fraser, CO


40 - 44

Corbin Talley

Layton, UT


45 - 49

Andy Lee (4)

Austin, TX


50 - 54

Edwin Johnson

Sandy, UT


55 - 59

Samuel Shusterman

Aurora, CO


60 - 64

Kevin Tuck (10)

Tucson, AZ


65 - 69

Doug Beagle (2)

Houston, TX


70 - 74

Fred Hauptmann

Joseph, OR


75 - 79

Thomas Miller (2)

Park City, UT



Adrian Wolford (4)

Mustang, OK



Craig Vogtsberger (2)

Aurora, CO


XTERRA Trail Run National Champs (Female)





10 - 14

Eowyn Dalbec

Peyton, CO


15 - 19

Natasha Preece

San Diego, CA


20 - 24

Louise Mercer

Salt Lake City, UT


25 - 29

Megan Roche

Boulder, CO


30 - 34

Misiker Demessie



35 - 39

Lesley Paterson

Stirling, Scotland


40 - 44

Karie Underwood

Salt Lake City, UT


45 - 49

Anna Judd

Ogden, UT


50 - 54

Jan Howard

Phoenix, AZ


55 - 59

Tamara Tabeek (6)

Ramona, CA


65 - 69

Deborah Wagner (3)

Park City, UT


70 - 74

Dianne Rindt (2)

Ridgecrest, CA


XTERRA Utah 10km

XTERRA 10K/5.8K Races

In addition to the championship 21K race, the day included 10K and 5.8K races as well as kids’ races.

Rylan Schadegg won the 10K for the men in 44:46 and Samuel Boehm was second in 47:59. Kirk Harger – who competed in yesterday’s XTERRA National Championship – was third in 54:42.

Angela Turmel won the 10K for the women in 1:02:33 and Jennifer Ondrus was second in 1:03:28. Cassie Ashton was third in 1:03:31.

Fifteen-year old Tate Beasley was first in the 5K while Emily Campbell was second in 34:23. Elisa Boehm was third in 40:44. Tate Beasley wasn’t just first overall – she was also first in her family. Today, all three Beasley kids competed in the 5K, including her sister Berlin who finished fourth and her brother Seven who finished third.

In the men’s 5K, Todd Preece was first over the line in 33:25. Brandon Wright was second in 36:17 and Seven Beasley was third in 37:45.

Preece came to Snowbasin with his 15-year old daughter and XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Regional Champ, Natasha, who finished first in her age group today.

“This is the second time we did Nationals with her and as a dad it’s the greatest experience because you get to see your kid accomplish something really phenomenal. We just love it.”

Everyone who raced today felt embraced by the XTERRA Tribe.

“Not only was this the most beautiful course I’ve ever seen,” said David Roche, “But there was a true sense of community out there from the runners to the volunteers. We will be back next year for sure.” 

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