Former Olympic Skiers to Run in XTERRA Nationals
Arritola and Stephen are top contenders in women's field
The place is called Snowbasin Resort, and it is known as one of the best skiing destinations in the country. Naturally, you would expect it to attract world-class skiers.
Morgan Arritola and Liz Stephen - both members of the USA's cross country ski team at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver -- are in that category, and they will be competing at Snowbasin Resort this weekend.
But there are some twists. First, the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship will take place for the first time at Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah, on Sunday, Sept. 25. Second, the slopes at Snowbasin Resort have not had any snowfall recently.
Still, Arritola and Stephen are considered two of the leading contenders in the women's field for the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. Apparently, they are as good in trail-running shoes as they are with skis.
"My primary sport is cross country skiing, and yes, trail running is a big part of my training," said Stephen. "But it is also a huge passion of mine, and so this race is certainly done for the pure enjoyment I get from it."
There is good reason to consider them leading contenders in the women's field.
Stephen was the top female at the 2010 XTERRA Wheeler Canyon Trail Run, which was held near Snowbasin Resort last September. She placed fourth overall, beating many of the elite men, and was nearly five minutes ahead of the other women.
Stephen, 24, resides in Vermont, but spends several months of the year training in Park City, Utah, so she is familiar with the climate and conditions.
Arritola made a name for herself in the trail running world earlier this summer when she won the USA Half Marathon Trail Championship at Bend, Ore. That field featured some of the top trail runners in the country (Max King won the men's race), including many of the home-state Oregon elites.
Arritola, 25, resides in Idaho, and this will be her first trail race in Utah.
"I haven't been to Snowbasin, so this will be a new venue for me," she said. "I don't really have any concerns other than not really knowing the course. I am just coming down to run and see what happens."
There is actually another former Olympic cross country skier in the field. Kelly Milligan represented the United States at the 1984 Winter Olympics, and has also proved her worth as a runner over the years. She won an XTERRA 10K Trail Run in Nevada in 2007, and is expected to be one of the fastest masters (40 and older) runners in the field on Sunday.
The XTERRA Trail Run National Championship will feature a 21-kilometer course at the picturesque Snowbasin Resort. The elite runners will vie for the overall national titles, but hundreds of other runners will compete for age-group national championships.
In addition, there will be separate 10-kilometer and 5-kilometer courses for less-experienced runners. All three courses are open to runners of all ages and skill levels, and online registration is still open.REGISTER HERE
2011 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship
Where: Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah
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