On Sunday, September 9, Tyler Harwood and Kandace Gonzalez captured the titles at the XTERRA Laguna Beach 13K. Harwood finished the course in 49:26 – which is about 6 minutes per mile - while 2018 XTERRA Regional Trail Run Champ, Elliott Bijlsma was second in 52:06 and Jacob Ford was third in 53:49.
Bijlsma will head to the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship in Ogden, Utah on September 16.
For the women, Gonzalez ran 7:40 pace and finished in 1:02:09 while Silke Eiserbeck was second in 1:02:44. Carrie Nofziger was third in 1:09:58.
Gonzalez, 24, finished right behind her husband, Charlie. The two have only been married for four months and have a strong connection through their healthy lifestyle.
“We are both really busy,” said Kandace, who was a standout middle distance runner in high school and college. “Charlie and I have different work schedules and family obligations so we value the quality time we spend together running or at the gym working out. It’s our foundation. I love it. And I love him.”
The XTERRA Laguna Beach event also included a 6K race. Asaad Bhamia just outleaned Brennan Cochran to win, 31:33:00 to 31:33:06. Alex Hensley was third in 32:01.
On the women’s side, Kelly Lewis was first in 37:47. Debora Crockett was second in 38:44 while Samantha Leyesa was third in 39:06.
The trails at XTERRA Laguna Beach are often a surprise for those who only associate Southern California with beautiful beaches, quaint towns, and traffic. Laguna Beach is surrounded by more than twenty-thousand acres of pristine state parks, and designated county wilderness areas, all of which are connected by an incredible network of hundreds of miles of hiking, biking, and running trails.
Crystal Cove State Park, where the race was held, includes over 2400 acres of rocky, sandy trails with plenty of hills and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean. The XTERRA Laguna Beach 13K was the first race of the 2019 XTERRA Trail Run Series. Next up is the XTERRA Topanga Turkey Trot 5/10/15K on Thanksgiving Day.