He set the pace early and let people know it was going to be on from the start of the race. I respect him for that. He ran a great race. —Joseph Gray
SNOWBASIN — Despite living less than an hour from Snowbasin, Patrick Smyth had never run at Snowbasin until Sunday’s XTERRA Trail Run National Championship.
Turns out, he likes the ski resort’s picturesque trail system.
The 27-year-old, who ran track and cross country at Notre Dame, took the lead Sunday morning and never looked back. He finished the 21-kilometer course in 1:16:38, setting a record in the event since it moved to Snowbasin in 2011.
“I’ve been running 10K and 5Ks most of this summer, so I didn’t know how long I could hold on,” the Salt Lake resident said. “I kind of wanted to go out hard and see if I could break some people early.”
At the halfway point, Smyth had a 30-second lead over the second-place finisher, Joseph Gray, Lakewood, Wash.
“He set the pace early and let people know it was going to be on from the start of the race,” said Gray, who finished with a time of 1:18:01. “I respect him for that. He ran a great race.” Smyth continued to build that lead, despite suffering a fall in the final two miles of the course.
“I didn’t know who was behind me, but I kept looking behind me, expecting guys to come up,” Smyth said. “Around mile 11 or 12, I started getting some cramps and fell and started looking back even more.” Gray was the co-winner of the XTERRA Trail Run World Championships in Hawaii in 2012, but this was his first trip to Nationals and Snowbasin.
“I’ve kind of been having some down time since the World Mountain Running Championships, so I wasn’t ready to go out super-aggressive,” Gray said. “I kind of went out a little more comfortable and let the race get away from me. It was kind of too late for me to catch up.”
Karl Remsen, Leadville, Colo., was third, finishing in 1:20:23; Mauricio Mendez from Mexico was fourth in 1:21:19, and Nathan Peters from Salt Lake City was fifth in 1:21:29.
Five-time XTERRA national champion Max King, Bend, Ore., finished 11th overall.
“It was just a rough day,” King said. “With the injury and stuff, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but man, I’m just out of shape. I had no climbing legs. It happens sometimes. You can’t win everything.” In the women’s race, Lindsey Anderson repeated as XTERRA National champ, finishing in 1:27:46 and making her the second woman to earn back-to-back titles.
She ran close to second-place finisher Liz Stephen for most of the race. Stephen finished at 1:28:12.
“I was a little bit hoping we wouldn’t have to go out as hard,” said Anderson, 28. “But (Stephen) pushed it and took it out hard, and she’s a really good downhill runner. She would gap me by about 10 meters on the downhill, then I’d catch up on the uphills.” Both women have represented the U.S. at the Olympics, with Anderson participating in the steeplechase in the 2008 Olympics and Stephen competing in cross-country skiing in the 2010 Winter Games.
Anderson is a Weber State alum and current assistant coach for the Wildcats.
“It was really fun to be back here,” said Stephen, 26. “It was really nice to have another woman to run with, but it was a tough race, for sure.”
LOCALS WIN 5K AND 10K CHAMPIONSHIPS
Four Utah runners took the top honors in the 10K and 5K races, which were also staged at Snowbasin Resort on Sunday.
Henry Gorman, who is actually a Nordic skier, placed first in the 10K with a time of 43:38.
“I never actually ran a 10K before this, so it was a new experience for me,” he said. “I don’t even do running races, so it was pretty surprising that I won. It was a lot of fun.”
Gorman is 18 and resides in Salt Lake City. James Stull from Anchorage, Alaska, placed second in 45:09.
Meghan Sheridan from Salt Lake City was an impressive third overall and the first female for the 10K. She finished in 46:01, just one day after placing second in the 30-34 age division at the XTERRA USA Championship triathlon.
“I got second place in the triathlon and wanted a chance at a gold medal,” she said. “I live right in Salt Lake and never did this race before so I said why not.”
Sheridan said she was surprised to finish first overall, although she was familiar with the course because it followed much of the same trails during the triathlon.
“I was surprised I had it in me,” she said. “I could barely do the run (for the triathlon). It was really, really painful. But I usually have a little bit of energy the next day, so I kept going.”
Chris Parker from Ogden took top honors in the 5K, finishing in 26:50 – which was more than a minute ahead of the rest of the field. Hannah Ross from Sandy was the top female in the 5K, and fourth overall in 29:29.
For complete results from all divisions, please visit http://jtltiming.com/running.htm