XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series Champion: Richard Burgunder
Richard Burgunder loves to run, and he'll go anywhere to prove it.
He already has one XTERRA Trail Run Regional championship to show for it, and he's chasing after another.
Burgunder recently won the regional title for his age group (men 30-34) in the XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series. It was the first year for the Pocono Series, and Burgunder said it was everything he expected it to be.
"When you think about running in the Poconos, you expect mountains with technical trails and rugged terrain, and they didn't disappoint at all," said Burgunder, 31. "It was really exhilarating. Very beautiful courses. I had a lot of fun doing that series."
His Pocono Series championship was also a reward for his dedication. Burgunder lives in Pittsburgh, Pa., which is about a five-hour drive from the Pocono region.
The day before a Pocono Series race, Burgunder would leave his Pittsburgh home around 8 p.m. so that he could get to Pocono by 1 a.m. He would then sleep in his car for a few hours before waking up for the race.
"That's probably not the best way to do it - my legs don't feel too great after sleeping in the car," he said. "But it worked out."
To maximize his time in the Pocono area, Burgunder would often go on a training run after the XTERRA race, and then make the five-hour drive back to Pittsburgh.
"Five hours is a long drive, but for people who live one or two hours away, it's definitely worth it," Burgunder said of the Pocono races. "There are a lot of really nice trails over there."
With the Pocono Series championship accomplished, Burgunder is now progressing toward another goal - the XTERRA Northern Ohio Trail Run Series. He is currently in third place in the men's 30-34 age division of the Northern Ohio Series, despite missing one of the races early in the season.
"When the schedules came out, I saw the new Pocono Series and definitely wanted to do that," Burgunder said. "But then I saw that I might be able to do a lot of races in the Ohio Series, too, so I said why not?"
Just like with the Pocono Series, Burgunder has to make quite a commitment to get to the Northern Ohio races on time.
"It's not as bad - Pittsburgh is closer to North Ohio than it is to the Poconos," he said with a laugh. "But I still drive two-and-a-half hours late at night, then sleep in the car for a little bit before the race."
Burgunder is no stranger to success - or traveling - in XTERRA races. He has competed in XTERRA Trail Runs in New York, Hawaii, Oregon, Nevada, and even Japan, in recent years.
In September, he will add Utah to that list, as he plans to race in the 2011 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Ogden, Utah, on Sept. 25. This is the first year that Utah is hosting the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship.
"I'm excited to see what it's like over there," he said. "I've never run in Utah before and I always look forward to new and exciting challenges."
The XTERRA Pocono Trail Run Series will also return in 2012. To learn more about it, please visit www.wilkesbarreracing.com/PoconoXterraSeries.
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