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Trail Running

Nation’s top trail runners headed to Central Oregon

    It is no secret that Central Oregon features some of the best running trails in the country. In 2006, the editors of Outside Magazine named Bend “America’s Best Trail Running Town.”

    But is Central Oregon home to the top trail runners in the United States?

    That question could be answered in a little more than a week, when Bend will host the 2008 XTERRA Trail Running National Championship.

    The race is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 27.

    “It’s funny; I think the best runners will be coming from Bend,” said Trey Garman, vice president of XTERRA, this week from the company’s headquarters in Honolulu.

    Elite runners Max King, Damon Kluck, Kami Semick and Lisa Nye — all from Bend — will go stride for stride against members of the U.S. Mountain Running Team and some of the best trail runners and multisport athletes from across the country in a half-marathon (13.1-mile) race.

    The course starts and finishes in Bend’s Old Mill District and takes runners along the Deschutes River Trail and other trails and dirt roads southwest of Bend.

    The half-marathon race is open to anybody, and registration is open through Sept. 26.

    The event is the culmination of the yearly XTERRA U.S. Trail Run Series, which since last October included 50 races staged in 15 states. Several regional champions from the series are expected to compete in Bend. National champions will be crowned in a number of age groups, from as young as the 9-and-under class.

    XTERRA has staged a trail-running national championship race in each of the last three years, but it has been held in conjunction with the XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon National Championship at Lake Tahoe. The race in Bend marks the first time the trail-running event will stand alone at its own venue.

    “This is our fourth year hosting a trail-run national championship race,” Garman said, “but really the first legitimate one. Now it’s branched off into its own unique series.”

    Garman said he expects about 300 or more runners from 20 states to race the half-marathon and about 150 more to take part in the 10-kilometer and 5K runs, staged at the same time as the half-marathon.

    Half-marathon runners will race for a share of a $5,000 prize purse, $1,000 of which will be awarded to both the men’s and women’s winners.

    “Because it’s the last race in the series, it’s getting a lot of people from out of state,” Garman said. “They’ll get the full atmosphere, how you can get to those magnificent off-road trails in just a matter of miles.”

    From the Old Mill District, the championship course runs along the paved trail on the east side of the Deschutes River and crosses over the foot bridge from Farewell Bend Park onto west-side dirt trails. The middle portion of the course includes the dirt and gravel Haul Road. Runners then head toward the river from Entrada Lodge and turn around at Meadow Camp to run along the river. They will head back via the lodge and the Haul Road to the finish at the Old Mill District.

    — Excerpt from The Bend Bulletin, September 19, 2008


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