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Max King, Morgan Arritola Take XTERRA Trail Titles

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Sep. 27, 2011
  • Updated Sep. 27, 2011 at 10:54 AM UTC

It was the fourth consecutive XTERRA National Championship for King.

From: Running USA

Max King wins his fourth XTERRA Trail Run national championship. Photo: XTERRA

OGDEN, Utah — The trail running kingdom of Max King continues to expand.

King completed an amazing weekend of racing by winning the 2011 XTERRA Trail Run National Championship on Sunday at Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah.

Photo Gallery: 2011 XTERRA Trail Run Nationals

It was the fourth consecutive XTERRA National Championship for King. His previous three titles came when the event was held in his hometown of Bend, Ore.

The recent World Mountain Running champion covered the 21K trail course in 1 hour, 17 minutes, 59 seconds. King, 31, once again dominated the field, beating the other runners by nearly four minutes.

“I love my hometown of Bend, but this was, I gotta say, a great course,” said King. “It was a lot more climbing than we get in Bend, so this was tough.”

Making it even tougher, King was running on tired legs. Less than 24 hours before the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship, King was competing in even longer state –and in a different time zone.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, King won the USA 50K Trail Championship in Bend, Ore. In essence, the XTERRA Trail Run victory gave him two national titles in less than 24 hours in two different states.

“You always have to think positive when you’re an athlete, so I was thinking positive that I could do it,” King said. “It was a matter of how your body holds up and how you feel after the first (race).”

Fellow Oregon runner Mario Mendoza and Salt Lake City runner B.J. Christenson pushed King for the first half of the race.

King and Christenson were side-by-side for the first 10 kilometers, but King pulled ahead on the rugged uphill climb to “Sardine Peak,” which tops out at an elevation of 7,300 feet.

“We let B.J. get a lead on us and I was getting a little nervous so I had to make sure we caught up,” King said. “We caught him at the bottom of the hill, and then going up I was able to get ahead and then pull away.”

Mendoza also passed Christenson on the climb to claim second place with a time of 1:21:51. Christenson took third with a time of 1:22:25.

Mendoza, 25, who placed third at last year’s XTERRA Trail Run National Championship, trains with King in Oregon.

“I didn’t think I was going to beat Max, but I was hoping to get a little bit closer,” said Mendoza. “He’s built for the trails. He’s an incredible downhill runner … he’s definitely shown he’s the best trail runner in the U.S. and in the world, too.”

OLYMPIC SKIERS TOP WOMEN’S FIELD
In the women’s division, Olympic cross country skiers Morgan Arritola and Liz Stephen showed that they are just as fast in trail running shoes.

Arritola, 25, who is from Ketchum, Idaho, captured first place, finishing in 1:29:09. She took the lead early in the course and maintained it the rest of the way.

“I kind of figured that climbing is my strength, and not so much the foot speed so I thought that I’d kind of make some people hurt right off the bat on the (first) uphill and see what happened,” said Arritola. “But I still had no idea.”

It was the first XTERRA Trail Run for Arritola, but not her first experience with trail running. She won another national title this summer in Oregon.

Stephen, who is from East Montepelier, Vermont, made a late surge and finished runner-up in 1:30:54. Arritola and Stephen were teammates for the United States cross country ski team at the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Rachael Cuellar of New Mexico placed third with a time of 1:32:50, while Lesley Paterson was fourth in 1:33:48. Paterson placed second in the XTERRA USA Championship off-road triathlon on Saturday, Sept. 24, also at Snowbasin.

This was the first year that XTERRA held its national championship triathlon and trail run in the same city, and on the same weekend.

HILDEBRAND & STRATTON CONTINUE STREAKS
Max King was not the only runner to win a fourth consecutive XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. In addition to the overall national champions, there were 24 runners who won age group national titles.

Don Hildebrand of Sisters, Ore. and Jessie Stratton from Redding, Calif. won their respective age groups for the fourth consecutive year. Hildebrand took top honors in the men’s 75-79 division, while Stratton won the women’s 65-69 division.

King (men 30-34), Hildebrand and Stratton are the only runners in XTERRA Trail Run history with four consecutive national titles. The only other repeat age-group winner form last year was Mario Mendoza (men 25-29), who now has two consecutive age-group titles.

Kevin Tuck of Salt Lake City won the men’s 55-59 division for his third XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. However, it was his first title since 2008. He skipped the last two events in Bend. Tuck, 55, also finished an impressive 19th overall. He was the only runner over the age of 50 to place among the top 40 (let alone the top 20).

The list of age group national champions from the 2011 event also reflected the national reach of the race. Runners from 13 different states won national titles.

In addition to the 21K national championship race, there were also separate 10K and 5K races staged at Snowbasin Resort.

Adam Zimmerman of Highland Ranch, Colo. placed first in the 10K race with a time of 44:31. The runner-up overall was also the first female - Zoe Roy of Salt Lake City; she clocked a 46:22.

In the 5K race, Ross Marabella of Brigham City, Utah placed first in 26:13, while Theresa Wageman of Silt, Colo. was the top female with a time of 33:21.

More than 450 runners representing 30 states participated in the race. The 2011-12 XTERRA Trail Run season has already started, and races will be held throughout the country. To find a race, go to: www.xterratrailrun.com

7th XTERRA Trail Running National Championship
Ogden, UT, Sunday, September 25, 2011

MEN
1) Max King (OR), 1:17:59, $1000
2) Mario Mendoza (OR), 1:21:51, $600
3) B.J. Christenson (UT), 1:22:25, $400
4) Brad Mitchell (ID), 1:26:37, $300
5) Jeffrey Moreland (NV), 1:26:56, $200

WOMEN
1) Morgan Arritola (ID), 1:29:09, $1000
2) Liz Stephen (VT), 1:30:54, $600
3) Rachael Cuellar (NM), 1:32:50, $400
4) Lesley Paterson (CA), 1:33:48, $300
5) Sariah Long (UT), 1:35:00, $200

For full results and more, go to: www.xterratrailrun.com

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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