Spooner and LaBrie Share Top Honors at Muleshoe
Veterans prevail in latest XTERRA Texas Series race
Claudia Spooner made a triumphant return to the XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series with an impressive victory at the XTERRA Muleshoe Trail Run last weekend.
Spooner was not just the top female at the 16-kilometer race, she was the first overall finisher, beating all the elite male entries.
Dozens of runners endured the 95-degree weather for the race, which was completed on Sunday, June 17, at Muleshoe Bend Park in Spicewood, Texas.
Spooner, 42, completed the course in 1 hour, 28 minutes, 37 seconds, and described the course as: "Yes, it was hot! Thankfully a lot of the course is under trees, so there is shade for approximately the first 10 kilometers. Then you head into the second section, which is under the full sun, and uphill, and hot!"
Spooner was the top female runner in the XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series in 2010 and 2011, but this was her first XTERRA race of 2012 due to scheduling conflicts. She is currently trying to qualify for the Ironman World Championship.
Although pleased with her overall victory at Muleshoe, Spooner sportingly admitted that it may have to come with an asterisk. She said a male runner - Sam LaBrie - was in front of her for most of the course, and she does not know how or where she might have passed him.
"I still don't know where the screw-up happened," Spooner said. "I should have been second if you want my honest opinion. He had a solid lead and it just fell the way it did. I just want to always be honest. Trail racing has course challenges and sometimes we can get off course. Sam was the faster runner, he just ran longer."
Officially, Spooner was credited with first place and Meredith Leva - another female - was credited with second place with a time of 1:29:17.
Spooner said she was aware that Leva was close behind her, and that helped her kick into another gear as she approached the finish line. "I really didn't want her to pass me at this point, so I really ran fast and furious into the finish," Spooner said. "Being familiar with the finish of this course helped. I know how much I had to dig in to the finish."
LaBrie was credited with third place and a time of 1:30:29, and was a gentleman about the possibility of him missing a turn along the course that may have allowed the two females to pass him.
"I either missed a turn and ran too far or she missed a turn and ran too short," LaBrie said. "My GPS had the route at 10.8 miles, longer than 16K, so it's certainly possible that I did some extra running. At any rate, she never passed me going the same direction. I was still the first male finisher, so it didn't matter for the results."
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LaBrie trains with the Rogue Running club in Austin, Texas, and said the course at Muleshoe was beautiful, despite the heat. "The setting is on the hills and bluffs overlooking Lake Travis, and we still have green grasses and wildflowers, so it was a beautiful place to run," he said.
LaBrie, 46, is fast becoming the runner to catch in the XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series. This was the second race this season that LaBrie was the first overall male finisher.
The XTERRA Muleshoe Trail Run was the third of five races in the 2012 XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series. The next race in the series will be the XTERRA Magnolia Hill Trail Run, which is scheduled for July 8 at Navasota, Texas. That event is open to runners of all ages and skill levels, and will feature two course options - a 16K long course and a 6K course.
To register for a race in the Texas Series, or to learn more about it, please visit www.racerevolutions.com.
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