XTERRA Trail Run registration open

FROM STAFF REPORTS

There are less than two weeks remaining to register for the XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Runs at the nationally-recognized Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham.

This year’s event is scheduled for May 20, and online registration is available at Xterraplanet.com/xduro/oakmtn.html.

The event is open to runners of all ages and skill levels, and there are four courses available to accommodate the various levels of runners: a 42-kilometer full-marathon, a 21-kilometer half-marathon, and 10K and 5K “mud runs.”

Most XTERRA Trail Run events feature a 21K trail as the long course, but the expansive and picturesque Oak Mountain State Park is one of the few venues in America that can accommodate a full-marathon trail race.

“I would say the course is a very well-rounded course with a little bit of everything,” said David Wall, a Columbiana native who won last year’s full-marathon race at Oak Mountain. “Lots of hills, some flat and fast fire roads, fast single track, lots of turns and rocks. But I would say there is probably only a mile of really technical trail. The rest has great footing.”

Wall completed the 42K course last year in 3 hours, 2 minutes, 42 seconds, and finished nearly 10 minutes ahead of the rest of the field. He said the key for runners is to keep in mind that a trail marathon is completely different from a road marathon.

“I believe any marathon runner can do this course,” he said. “But they can’t expect to set a (personal best time). They are going to have to walk a bit, too, just because it’s on a mountain trail and not a flat road. But if they want a scenic run through the woods, then this is a great race.”

For those looking for a shorter course, the 21K half-marathon will offer plenty of its own challenges, as well as a large field of runners. The 10K and 5K “mud runs” are called such because they feature a fun section through a large mud pit.

The trails at Oak Mountain State Park were ranked by Trail Runner magazine as one of the top 25 “Crown Jewels” of running trails across America in 2011.

All age-group winners from the 42K and 21K courses will receive a free entry to represent Alabama at the 2012 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, in December.
Register online and learn more about the event at Xterraplanet.com/xduro/oakmtn.html.

The XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Runs will also serve as the final event in the 2012 XTERRA Alabama Trail Run Series, so it will be the last chance for runners to earn points toward the overall series standings. The top 15 runners in each age group for both the 42K and 21K will receive points toward the series standings. It is important to note that runners who have not previously participated in the Alabama Series are still eligible to enter this race.

The XTERRA Oak Mountain Trail Runs are being held in conjunction with the Shelby County ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships / XTERRA Southeast Championship. The triathlons will be held at the same location on May 19, followed by the trail runs the following day.