XTERRA Florida Series is Underway for 2011-12 Season
Sun, fun and Dunn prevail at the XTERRA Wildhorse Trail Runs
The XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series opened its 2011-12 season in "epic" fashion as more than 350 runners participated in the XTERRA Wildhorse Trail Runs on Sunday, November 6, at Dover, Fla.
The event featured something for every runner, as there were four separate courses - a half-marathon, 10 miles, 10 kilometer and 4 miles.
Most of the elite runners chose the half-marathon course, and Alan Buckingham of Bath, United Kingdom, prevailed. He completed the 13.1-mile course in 1 hour, 35 minutes, 24 seconds. Buckingham, 41, ran away from the field, finishing nearly a mile ahead of the other runners.
Rick Brown of Valrico, Fla., was second in 1:40:24, and Dane Simmons of Jacksonville, Fla., was third in 1:44:01.
In the women's division, Kandis Dunn of Odessa, Fla., relied on her childhood memories to run to the victory. She completed the course in 1:50:50 for the first XTERRA victory of her career.
"As a child I grew up sliding down clay banks of creeks, swinging on vines, running through the woods, and camping on Florida's west coast barrier islands," Dunn said. So, what do I like about these races and what brings me back? My childhood memories, how often do we adults get to play like we did as children? I quite simply love playing in the woods."
But it wasn't all fun and games. Dunn noted that the course was challenging, and included steep sections that required ropes for assistance.
"The course was 'epic' as my teenage daughter would put it," said Dunn, 43. "I thrive on technical trails and this was the most technical course I have ever run. The trail traded back and forth between moguls and narrow single track paths, twisting through Florida pine trees and live oaks with plenty of root action.
"Nobody will forget the rope areas on the steeper moguls. They were an added challenge to the course that gave us an opportunity to climb with both hands and feet."
Dunn said she took the lead about halfway through the course and never relented. Dunn's time was good for fifth place overall, meaning only four men were able to beat her to the finish.
Katalin Nagy of Sarasota, Fla., was second among the women with a time of 1:53:16, and Jessica Wagner of Kissimmee, Fla., was third in 1:57:09.
Other course winners: Will Shillito (men's 10K), Fabiana Stewart (women's 10K), Raymond Smith (men's 10 mile), Carrie Chin (women's 10 mile), Nathan Ambrose (men's 4 mile) and Rae Ann Darling-Reed (women's 4 mile).
The XTERRA Wildhorse Trail Runs was the first of three events in the 2011-12 XTERRA Florida Trail Run Series. The next event in the series will be the XTERRA Trout Creek Trail Run on March 25, 2012.
At the end of the series, the top runners from each respective age group will receive a free entry to represent Florida at the 2012 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. Florida is one of 12 regions hosting an XTERRA Trail Run Series during the 2011-12 season. The others are Alabama, Arizona, Southern California, Colorado, Georgia, North Carolina, Southern Ohio, Pocono, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.
For more information on the XTERRA Florida Series, or to register for a race, please visit www.tamparaces.com.
(Race photos courtesy www.tamparaces.com)
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