Stoltz, Vanlandingham take home Southeast Championship at XTerra

More than 100 athletes from all over the world competed with each other and the stifiling mid-June heat to finish the XTerra Southeast Championship triathlon at Oak Mountain State Park Sunday June 13.

Conrad Stoltz of Stellenbosch, South Africa, and Shonny Vanlandingham of Durango, Colo., were able to pull out the men’s and women’s divisions with times of 2:21:27 and 2:38:02, respectively.

Stoltz, a two-time Olympian and three-time world chamion, called the Oak Mountain BUMP bike course his favorite in the world, saying “This course suits me better than any course ever made.”

The run, however, was more of a challenege for Stoltz.

“The run is probably the hardest I’ve ever done,” he said. “Halfway through I was thinking ‘I don’t care where I finish, I just don’t want to die.”

Vanlandingham, who won the BUMP & Grind race a week earlier, also said the bike course is the best in the country. “It’s fast and flowing, with plenty of hard parts, but it’s still fun,” she said.

Both winners also praised the South and Alabama in particular, with Vanlandingham saying she especially enjoyed the “Southern hospitality.”

“I’m from Texas,” she said. “So this feels a lot like home.”

The Southeast championship run is one of five qualifying rounds to send runners to the USA championship in September at Ogden & Snowbasin Resort in Utah. Winners also qualify for several prizes and a pro-purse worth thousands of dollars.

Trey Garman, vice president of Team Unlimited, which produces XTerra, said he’s pleased with the turnout of more than 600 athletes for the entire weekend.

“We’d always like to see more athletes but our numbers were up from last year so that was great,” he said.

For more information and full race results, visit Xterraplanet.com.