COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Age-group and elite off-road triathletes will take to the trails of Oak Mountain State Park in Shelby County, Alabama, on Saturday for the 2015 USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championships.
The event, which also serves as the XTERRA Southeast Championship, features a 1,500-meter swim, 30-kilometer mountain bike and 10-kilometer trail run. This year marks the 10th time the race will be held at Oak Mountain State Park.
Thirty elites will be racing as part of XTERRA Southeast Championship event, including the 2014 USA Triathlon Elite Off-Road National Champions Emma Garrard (Park City, Utah) and Josiah Middaugh (Vail, Colo.). The international elite field is highlighted by New Zealand stars Braden Currie, winner of the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship last month, and Olly Shaw, who was second at XTERRA New Zealand, as well as two-time XTERRA World Champion Lesley Paterson from Scotland, who won the West Championship last month in Nevada.
Two-time USA Triathlon Off-Road Amateur Athlete of the Year Hannah Rae Finchamp (Altadena, Calif.) will also be racing, making her XTERRA pro debut and leaving the amateur title up for grabs.
The very best amateur off-road triathletes from 40 states will be competing on Saturday, including 12 athletes who are seeking to defend their USA Triathlon Off-Road Nationals titles from 2014.
For the men’s field, those athletes are Greg Schott (15-19, Chesterfield, Va.), Justin McMurrer (25-29, Lehigh Acres, Fla), Rob Ricard (overall and 35-39, Berwick, Maine), Daryl Weaver (40-44, Lititz, Pa.), Jim Fisher (45-49, Midlothian, Va.), Ali Arasta (50-54, Asheboro, N.C.), Greg Seaman (55-59, Brighton, Mich.) and Charlie Redmond (65-69, Tenafly, N.J.).
The men’s field also includes the likes of two-time 65-69 XTERRA World Champion David Rakita (Durango, Colo.), two-time XTERRA National Champion Peter Lilley (70-74, Charlotte, N.C.), Off-Road All-American Marcus Barton (45-49, Waxhaw, N.C.) and hometown favorite and former XTERRA World Champion Casey Fannin (55-59, Birmingham, Ala.).
Reigning USA Triathlon Off-Road National Champions in the women’s race are Misty Becerra (30-34, Clermont, Fla.), Beata Wronska (35-39, Boynton Beach, Fla.), Stephanie Landy (55-59, Ballston Spa, N.Y.) and reigning XTERRA World Champion Linda Usher (65-69, West Upton, Mass.).
Also competing for national titles in the women’s field are 10-time XTERRA National Champion Cindi Toepel (60-64, Littleton, Colo.), three-time XTERRA National Champ Lucia Colbert (55-59, Cordova, Tenn.), reigning 40-44 XTERRA National Champion Kathy Waite (40-44, Lakewood, Colo.), reigning XTERRA World Champion Kelli Montgomery (40-44, Wallingford, Conn.), and former XTERRA World Champion Mimi Stockton (40-44, Stevensville, Mich.).
In addition to chasing national titles in Shelby County, amateur athletes also will be competing for prized spots on Team USA for the 2016 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships, the date and location of which will be announced later this year by ITU. The top 18 finishers (rolling down to 25th place) in each age group will qualify for a Team USA slot. Team USA is comprised of the nation’s top multisport athletes who represent the U.S. at each ITU World Championships event. Visit usatriathlon.org/teamusa for more on Team USA.
The race will also serve as a qualifier for the 2015 XTERRA World Championship. For amateurs, there will be 50 spots available leading to the XTERRA World Championship on Nov. 1 in Maui, Hawaii.
Oak Mountain State Park was honored as one of America’s best trail destinations in Runner’s Worldmagazine, where the twisting, rolling trails made the “Crown Jewels – 25 best trail runs in America” list. BUMP, the local trails advocacy group, has spent more than 100,000 hours in design and construction of new trails over the past 20 years.
To complement the races, Oak Mountain offers a wealth of family activities from fishing to horseback riding, golfing to biking. Learn more at discovershelby.com.