Hutson Runs into XTERRA Trail Run History
He is the first to win three regional titles in the same year
If you need inspiration to "Live More" in an XTERRA Trail Run Series, meet Thomas Hutson.
The 61-year-old from Houston, Texas, recently capped an amazing year on the XTERRA Trail Run circuit - and in his personal life. He made XTERRA Trail Run history by winning his age division in three different regions in the same year: Texas, Florida and South Carolina.
Several runners have won two regional titles in the same year, but Hutson raised the bar a notch with his extended travel to compete in three different regions.
"My wife (Lisa) and I both won our age groups in Texas in 2012, and we travel to Florida several times a year to visit friends and family," Hutson said. "After winning Texas last year … I decided to try to win Florida and Texas in 2013."
When it became apparent that he was going to clinch both the Florida and Texas age-group titles for 2013, he checked the XTERRA schedule and found that the South Carolina Series still had races available, so he decided to chase down that title as well. All told, he competed in 11 different races - six in Texas, three in Florida, and two in South Carolina.
His wife accompanied him to the various races, although she did not always compete due to injury.
"We love running trail runs in the different states and venues," Hutson said. "They all offer different challenges. Florida races are surprisingly tough technically, and this last South Carolina race was the most technical race we have run so far, but the Texas Series is the best run and offers the most variety of all the series we have done so far."
As amazing as his record run to three titles was, that was only part of his story, and perhaps not even the best part.
In January of 2012 - just 19 months ago - Hutson was diagnosed with bladder cancer. It required surgery and several months of recovery. He and his wife started participating in the XTERRA Texas Trail Run Series as a way to get back in shape.
"Lisa signed us both up for the first race of the XTERRA Texas Series as a way to get me off the couch and out of a minor bit of post-surgery depression," he said. "It worked."
It also served as his incentive to chase the races in Florida and South Carolina for this year.
"The older I get, the harder it is to find new challenges and opportunities to compete against runners my own age, and the XTERRA Series is one of the few that does that," said Hutson, who is a retired human resources leader.
He said his most memorable race of the year was the Florida Series finale, when he got lost off the course two separate times, and had to rally to overtake the other runners in the 60-64 age group and clinch the series title.
Adding to the busy 2013 schedule of races, the Hutsons moved from Houston, Texas, to Freeland, Michigan, last month. "The logistics got complicated, but we managed to get it done," he said. Because of the move to Michigan, Hutson said he is unsure what his running schedule will be like in 2014. The only thing for sure is that he wants to fulfill the XTERRA motto and "Live More."
"We live in Michigan now, so will have to travel a long distance to participate in any series next year," he said. "But we love trail running so will definitely pick an XTERRA Series that we haven't run before."
Hutson was one of 11 runners to earn enough points to win an age division for the XTERRA South Carolina Trail Run Series. Here is the list of South Carolina champions for 2013:
* Repeat champion from 2012
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