SNOWBASIN — Max King had an unusual pre-race prep in defending his XTERRA trail run national title on Sunday morning at Snowbasin.
The 31-year-old ran — and won — the USATF 50-kilometer National Championship on Saturday.
"It was in my hometown of Bend, Oregon, so I didn't have to drive very far for that one," said King, who won his fourth consecutive XTERRA national trail run title by scorching the tough, new 21 kilometer course at Snowbasin in 1:17:59. "I was just going to see who showed up and what would happen. I felt pretty good about it."
King said two things gave him confidence — back-to-back races are something he trains for and he's won in Utah the last three years.
"Sometimes I'll do a long run and then a workout the next day," said King, who has always trained on trails as he grew up in Bend. "So it's not too far out of the norm to do something like this. It's just the long run yesterday was a little longer and a little harder than it usually is, and today's race is a race so it's obviously a little longer and harder than a workout would be."
The worst aspect of two races in two different states was that he didn't get much sleep.
"Part of it is taking care of yourself after one race and making sure you're ready for the next day," he said, noting that he used a friend's recovery pump to squeeze the metabolic waste from his muscles and then wore compression tights until Sunday morning's race. "I felt great. My legs felt good. I didn't feel the altitude too much. I didn't feel any fatigue in the legs."
His schedule doesn't get any easier, as he will compete in a 10-mile championship in Minnesota next weekend.
The victory means King wins a trip to Hawaii to compete in another XTERRA trail event, as does Sunday's female winner, Olympic cross country skier Morgan Arritola. She won the women's 21K race with a time of 1:29:09.
"I don't really consider myself a runner," she said with a slight laugh. "I started running more when I started cross country skiing. I've always liked to run, and my dad is a really good runner. It's kind of just slowly evolved. I live in Ketchum, Idaho, and there are amazing trails there. I like the mental aspect of going out and not being around anyone and just smelling the trees. It's just nice, a good escape."
She said she entered the XTERRA national trail championship after running several half marathons this summer.
"I've always wanted to do an XTERRA race," she said. "They looked really fun and so I just found this one and entered. …It's beautiful up here. I've never been up here."
She said any pressure she felt Sunday was self-imposed.
"I enter races because I want to win," said the 25-year-old who represented the U.S. in Vancouver in 2010. "You always want to win, even when you have no chance of winning. ...It's hard, it's a hard course."
Finishing second in the men's division was Mario Mendoza, also from Bend, Oregon, who ran the course in 1:21:51; and in third place was BJ Christensen of Salt Lake City, who finished in 1:22:25.
Arritola's Olympic teammate, Liz Stephen, Vermont, took second in the women's division with a time of 1:30:54. In third place was Rachael Cuellar, New Mexico, with a time of 1:32:50.
The day's races also included a 10K and 5K trail run that had more participants than expected thanks to last-minute signups.
In the 10K, Adam Zimmerman, California, won with a time of 44:31; Brad Marshall, Sandy, was second finishing in 46:50; and Art Thomas, Clinton, was fourth with a time of 48:43.
Zoe Roy, Salt Lake City, won the women's race (and placed second overall) with a time of 46:22; Jessica Noyola, California, was second with a time of 50:53; and Emily Urlacher-Kirkham, Cottonwood Heights, was third earning a time of 54:12.
In the 5K: Ross Marabella, Brigham City, won with a time of 26:13, while Chris Parker, Ogden, was second with a time of 29:26; and Matthew Sdano, SLC, was third finishing in 31:06. For the women, Teresa Wagenman, Colorado, finished first with a time of 33:21; Chrystal Christenson, North Salt Lake, was second with a time of 33:46; and Merissa Davis, Draper, was third finishing in 34:59.
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