A Truly National Field at XTERRA Trail Run Nationals
The 2010 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Bend, Oregon, featured the most diverse field in the four-year history of the event.
This year's XTERRA Nationals was completed on Saturday, Sept. 18, with a field of more than 400 runners, including 234 competing in the elite 21-kilometer championship race.
Max King of Bend and Lauren Fleshman of Eugene defended their respective overall titles. King took the men's title for the third consecutive year, and Fleshman won the women's championship for the second straight year.
While the elite runners took most of the spotlight, there were 24 age-group runners who can also be called national champions. And they came from various backgrounds.
One look at the list of 2010 age-group national champions is enough proof. For starters, 7-year-old Zoe Allen of Hillsboro, Ore., became the youngest runner to ever compete in the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. As the only runner in the 9-younger age group, Zoe also became a national champion.
She ran the course alongside her mother, Tara. They crossed the finish line together after spending more than 3 hours enjoying the trails along the Deschutes River.
"It was super fun," Zoe declared after being awarded her first-place medal.
At the other end of the age spectrum, 78-year-old Don Hildebrand of Sisters, Ore., won his third consecutive age-group national championship.
Unlike in past years, when runners from Oregon and California dominated the first-place medals, the 2010 list of national champions featured eight different states. Four states - Arizona, Hawaii, Texas and Vermont - had runners win a national title for the first time.
Jaxon Rickel of Tucson, Ariz., turned in one of the most impressive performances of the day, finishing 13th overall and first in the male 15-19 age group. What makes it impressive is Rickel is just 16 and a junior in high school.
"Everything just went well for me," he said. "It was a great race."
Derick Williamson of Texas and Tim Van Orden of Vermont also had great races. They both stayed near the lead pack for the entire course to become the first XTERRA national champions from their respective states. Williamson placed fifth overall and won the men's 25-29 division; Van Orden was eighth overall and first in the men's 40-44 division.
Lee Saltonstall made the trip to Bend all the way from Kailua, Hawaii, and became the Aloha State's first XTERRA national champion. She won the women's 60-64 division, finishing more than 20 minutes ahead of the runner-up.
"Just being there to experience Bend with all those great runners was so much fun," Saltonstall said. "Winning was a bonus."
The state of Ohio was also well represented. Joan Cottrill and Kenneth Harrison entered the XTERRA Nationals as regional champions from the Buckeye State and they both proved their worth. Cottrill won the women's 45-49 division, and Harrison dominated the men's 70-74 division (he finished more than 30 minutes ahead of the runner-up).
Oregon had the most national champions with 12: King, Fleshman, Zoe Allen, Hildebrand, Greg Mitchell, Scott Frey, Steve Giardini, Skip Brown, Lawrence Dunlap, Katie Caba, Kami Semick and Cecilia Kirk.
California had five (Mario Mendoza, Jim Bendis, Mary Colburn, Sooki Raphael and Jessie Stratton. Washington had one - Hannah Schultz.
All told, runners from 23 different states and five countries participated in the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship.
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