Meyerhoff Still Making a Difference
Runners from Arizona traveled to Hawaii in honor of former world champ
The 2011 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship was dedicated to former XTERRA Trail Run world champion Sally Meyerhoff. For some runners, that had an especially deep meaning.
More than 2,000 runners from around the world participated in the event at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, and all runners in the 21.9-kilometer championship course wore a special race bib with "Sally" in the background. Meyerhoff won the women's division of the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, and then was tragically killed in a cycling accident three months later in her home state of Arizona.
"I basically came to Hawaii to do this race because of Sally," said Megan Powers, who made the trip to Kualoa Ranch from Phoenix. "I know that most of the people there didn't know Sally, but this really meant a lot to me. She wasn't just an amazing runner, she was an amazing person."
(Powers pictured, courtesy www.brightroom.com)
Powers and her boyfriend, Joe Galope, both ran in the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship for the first time this year in honor of Meyerhoff, and said it is a trip they will never forget.
A moment of silence for Meyerhoff was observed before the race, and then Hawaiian cultural advisor Clifford Naeole performed a Hawaiian chant in honor of Meyerhoff. "That was really moving, and I'm glad (XTERRA) did that for Sally," Powers said.
Powers and Meyerhoff were both members of the Arizona Road Racers, and despite their speed discrepancy, they would often swap race stories.
"She was an elite runner and I'm not," Powers said. "But she never put herself above anybody. She always took the time to talk whenever I saw her at a race. She even did a relay race with a bunch of us from the club who are nowhere near her level. That's just the kind of person she was."
Meyerhoff was renowned for wearing flashy outfits during races, and Powers did the same as an added tribute for the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship.
"She was big into leopard prints, so I bought a leopard print skirt for the race," Powers said. "And she always wore the big bright pink socks, so I wore that, too."
Keith Rieger, an elite runner from Surprise, Arizona, said he also entered the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship for the first time mainly because of Meyerhoff.
(Rieger pictured, courtesy Eric Wynn/XTERRA Photos)
"I wouldn't say I was close buddies with her, but I knew her and raced with her a few times, and was friends with her on Facebook," Rieger said. "And being from Arizona, she's a significant racing figure in Arizona, so a lot of people became aware of this XTERRA race because of her, including myself."
Rieger placed ninth overall, and first in the men's 40-44 age division.
Morgan Arritola of Ketchum, Idaho, won the women's division of the 2011 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, earning a place alongside Meyerhoff on the list of champions. "I never met her, never raced against her," Arritola said. "But the endurance community is small and so you know of people. It definitely made this race special to be a part of."
For complete results from the 2011 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, CLICK HERE.
In Arizona, the first Sally Meyerhoff Memorial 5K race is scheduled for December 10 at Tempe. The race will serve as a benefit for the new Sally Meyerhoff Foundation. For more information, please visit www.sallymeyerhofffoundation.com.
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