Hesch, Colburn Prevail at XTERRA Boney Mountain Trail Run
SoCal Series race draws more than 550 runners
Christian Hesch proved his worth as a marathon road runner and one-mile track runner in 2011. In his first race of 2012, he proved that he is quite a trail runner as well.
Hesch won the XTERRA Boney Mountain Trail Run on Sunday, January 8, at Point Mugu State Park in Newbury, Calif. More than 550 runners of various ages participated in the event.
"I've never run so hard in my life," said Hesch, who is 32 and resides in North Hollywood, Calif. "It gives me a whole new respect for what those trail racers go through."
Hesch completed the half-marathon (21 kilometers) course in 1 hour, 33 minutes, 1 second. It was his first XTERRA Trail Run experience, and one he said he will never forget.
"Did I mention it was insane?" he said with a laugh. "Turning onto the last minor road portion with less than one mile to go … into 30 mph headwind! Who forgot that one in the course description?"
(Christian Hesch pictured, courtesy www.SuperSportsPhoto.com)
Hesch and Patrick Baldwin broke ahead of the field early in the race, and stayed with each other for most of the course. Hesch took the lead in the final mile and held off Baldwin for the victory. Baldwin, who is from Encinitas, Calif., placed second with a time of 1:33:13. Jonathan Toker from Malibu, Calif., was third in 1:35:16.
Although trail running is new to Hesch, running fast is not. In 2011, he qualified for the USA Olympic Marathon Trials. A month after that, he ran a sub-four minute mile.
"I'm afraid I'll stick to the roads," Hesch said. "If I do another XTERRA, it will be for the fun of it, not the win."
In the women's division, Mary Colburn made a victorious return to trail running after missing all of 2011 due to injuries. She completed the course in 1:44:41, which was topped only by 10 other men. Colburn, who is from Culver City, Calif., dominated the women's field, finishing more than nine minutes ahead of the other females.
(Mary Colburn pictured, courtesy www.SuperSportsPhoto.com)
"It's so great to be back!" Colburn said. "The course was breathtaking, strategic, and mostly single track -- my favorite! I had little to no idea where others were on the course, and being my first race back in over 14 months, I was really only focused on not getting injured, taking it easy, and on the course."
Colburn placed third at the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. She is hoping to return to a full-time racing schedule in 2012.
"I hope to be recovered from all of my injuries from last year and my goal is to finish out all of the XTERRA races for the rest of the year," she said.
Kate Freeman of Los Angeles was the second female with a time of 1:53:53, and Erin Gunn of San Diego was third in 1:57:14.
For complete results, please CLICK HERE. To view more photos from the race, please visit www.Supersportsphoto.com.
The XTERRA Boney Mountain Trail Run was the fourth of seven races in the 2011-12 XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Series. The top 15 runners in each age group received points toward the overall series standings.
At the conclusion of the series in April, each age group champion will earn a free entry to represent Southern California at the 2012 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship.
The next race in the XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Series will be the XTERRA Mission Gorge Trail Run at San Diego on Feb. 5. To register for a race in the SoCal Series or to learn more about it, please visit www.trailrace.com.
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