Nathan Peters from Salt Lake City, Utah and Giselle Slotboom from the Netherlands won the 15th XTERRA Trail Run National Championship half-marathon at Snowbasin Resort with winning times of 1:26:33 and 1:33:26, respectively, on Sunday, September 26, 2021.
The course, which starts at 6400-feet in the Wasatch Mountains above Ogden, Utah, features 2,200-feet of gut-wrenching climbs. Shortly after mile five, the route takes runners up to Sardine Peak for one of the most epic vistas imaginable.
In the men’s race Nathan Peters led from wire-to-wire. He took off in a sprint, built his lead with every stride, and by mile five he was one-minute ahead of Jonathan Harper and Slotboom, with Albert Wint and Benjamin Townsend in fourth and fifth.
“I actually went kind of easy the first six miles or so because I know how tough the Sardine Peak climb is, and wanted to make sure I had something in the tank for that,” said Peters, who has done this race four times before and placed as high as third in 2014. “The strategy worked out nice, and I was able to enjoy this race a little more this time around. And it’s so nice up here, you almost forget you’re racing.”
In the chase for second-place, 17-year-old Benjamin Townsend overcame adversity with the help of classic advice from his Mom.
“That was one of the hardest races I’ve ever done, and right when I hit the bottom of Sardine and we started climbing it took everything I had to keep running,” said Townsend, a senior on the cross country team at Liberty High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
“My Mom always told me to think about the ‘Little Engine that Could’ but I never believed in it until today, when I used it and just kept saying to myself, ‘I think I can, I think I can.”
It worked! Townsend got past Albert Wint and Slotbloom on the climb, and caught Jonathan Harper on the downhill to run his way into second-place in 1:31:00, 26-seconds ahead of Harper in third.
“It’s my first time coming up to the half-marathon distance and that last 5K hurt a lot, but I loved it so much, this is what I want to do for a living, and today was one of the best races of my life,” said Townsend, who added he can’t wait to buy a new pair of running shoes with the prize money.
Top 5 Men
Pl - Name (Hometown) Time
1 – Nathan Peters (Salt Lake City, UT) 1:26:33
2 – Benjamin Townsend (Colorado Springs, CO) 1:31:00
3 – Jonathan Harper (Salt Lake City, UT) 1:31:26
4 – Albert Wint (Sandy, UT) 1:32:16
5 – Gerald Romero (Colorado Springs, CO) 1:37:27
In the women’s race, Slotboom got off to a fast start to pull away from all the other elite women and was running in third place with the men at the five-mile mark.
“It’s the last race of the season for me, so I took it out quite hard, and it was cool to be up there with the guys,” said Slotboom, a former NCAA all-region cross country standout at the University of Utah.
“I wanted to run a strong race, and I recognized a couple of the names on the start list, but hadn’t raced any of them before so wanted to start strong. I paid for it on the second climb, took a spill on the Sardine downhill about mile nine and was struggling a little. It was rough getting back up and going, but I just tried to finish as well as I could.”
Slotboom, who won the 20-24 division XTERRA Trail Run National Title on this course in 2017 and finished as the runner-up at XTERRA Trail Run Worlds that same year, ended up placing fifth overall.
Another XTERRA running legend, Kimber Mattox – the 2014 XTERRA Trail Run World Champion, had a strong race to cross the line in sixth overall, and second female.
“My very first trail race ever was this one in 2014, and this year the leaves are just incredible, the trees and fall colors, I kept looking up and thinking, wow,” said Mattox, who finished second behind Liz Stephen here back in 2014. “As for today’s race, Giselle dropped us from the beginning. She’s amazing, so Courtney and I went back and forth a bit and she was encouraging me.”
Courtney Barnes was running in second at the start of the Sardine Peak climb before Mattox leaped in front.
“I kind of locked up on the climbs but held on during the downs, but overall a good day and I can’t complain because look how beautiful it is here,” said Barnes, who finished third and 10th overall.
“The atmosphere and the course were spot-on so that was a win, and I’ve always wanted to try an XTERRA. I was a former professional track athlete so I’m just experimenting with off-road races and heard a lot of great things about XTERRA,” said Barnes, who came up from Flagstaff, Arizona.
Former U.S. Mountain Running team member Nicole Murray placed fourth, and Megan Flanagan came in fifth.
Top 5 Women
Pl - Name (Hometown) Time
1 – Giselle Slotboom (Holladay, UT via Netherlands) 1:33:26
2 – Kimber Mattox (Bend, OR) 1:36:20
3 – Courtney Barnes (Flagstaff, AZ) 1:38:52
4 – Nicole Murray (Whitehall, MT) 1:45:52
5 – Megan Flanagan (Portland, OR) 1:46:29
Although the elite runners chase the overall crown and their share of $5,000 in prize money at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship, the event remains an age-group race.
Twenty-five runners representing 10 different states and the Netherlands took home age-group titles at the 2021 XTERRA Trail Run Nationals.
The home-state Utah runners led the way with 10 champions. Tamara Tabeek won her seventh title this year and Andy Lee won his fourth. Making those accomplishments even more impressive, both of those two also raced in yesterday’s XTERRA USA Championship duathlon.
Debbie Wagner and Albert Wint (pictured) won their fourth national titles; Doug Beagle, Thomas Miller, Craig Vogtsberger picked up their third championship, and Peters and Slotbloom each won their second division title in addition to their overall wins today.
All of the age-group champions received a free entry to participate in the 2021 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, which is scheduled for December 4 at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui.
Below is a look at the champs, and for full results visit:
2021 XTERRA Trail Run National Champions
|15-19||Abbi Boucher||Hill AFB, UT||2:15:18|
|20-24||Aubrie Aagard||Highland, UT||1:58:41|
|25-29||Giselle Slotboom (2)||Holladay, UT||1:33:26|
|30-34||Kimber Mattox||Bend, OR||1:36:20|
|35-39||Cheryl Bayart||Cincinnati, OH||1:59:39|
|40-44||Emma Garrard||Park City, UT||1:54:07|
|45-49||Stacey Hendry||Arvada, CO||2:07:08|
|50-54||Nicole Murray||Whitehall, MT||1:45:52|
|55-59||Janet Soule||Davis, CA||2:12:38|
|60-64||Tamara Tabeek (7)||Ramona, CA||2:28:59|
|70-74||Debbie Wagner (4)||Park City, UT||3:07:24|
|15-19||Benjamin Townsend||Colorado Springs, CO||1:31:00|
|20-24||Matthew Mcgoey||New Windsor, MD||1:56:18|
|25-29||Jonathan Harper||Salt Lake City, UT||1:31:26|
|30-34||Nathan Peters (2)||Salt Lake City, UT||1:26:33|
|35-39||David Brewster||Layton, UT||1:43:53|
|40-44||Albert Wint (4)||Sandy, UT||1:32:16|
|45-49||Andy Lee (5)||Lakeway, TX||1:42:02|
|50-54||Gerald Romero||Colorado Spgs, CO||1:37:27|
|55-59||Edwin Johnson||Sandy, UT||1:50:39|
|60-64||Samuel Shusterman||Centennial, CO||1:38:42|
|65-69||Steve Parker||Denver, CO||2:13:28|
|70-74||Doug Beagle (3)||Houston, TX||3:14:31|
|75-79||Thomas Miller (3)||Park City, UT||3:25:22|
|PC||Craig Vogtsberger (3)||Highlands Ranch, CO||2:33:1|