Coppi, Patterson Win XTERRA Trail Run World Championship Marathon; Tomajczyk, Wacker Crowned Half Marathon Champions
October 1, 2023
October 1, 2023 /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – The 14th XTERRA Trail Run World Championship was the first time individual runners earned a qualifying slot through the inaugural XTERRA Trail Run World Series. XTERRA launched its Trail Run World Series ahead of the 2023 season, spanning five continents with 38 qualifying events in 18 countries.
The series unified XTERRA’s Trail Run races culminating with the crowning of Mason Coppi (USA) and Caitlin Patterson (USA) as Trail Run World Champions in Sunday’s 42K Full Distance Marathon.
Rachel Tomajczyk (USA) and Andy Wacker (USA) also earned their World Titles in the 21K Half Marathon taking place at Sugarloaf Resort in Carrabassett Valley, Maine, USA.
Only the best trail runners in the world earned their eligibility to compete for the title of World Champion and their share of the $10,000 prize pool. This was also the first time that 2 sets of World Champions were crowned for each of the 42K and 21K distances.
Select races during the 2023 season offered coveted spots for Sunday’s XTERRA Trail Run World Championship. The event attracted more than 500 runners from 19 nationalities, including 36 states represented by the host country.
“Having all our trail runs around the world under one umbrella provided us the opportunity to connect our running community like never before,” remarked Landry Benoit, XTERRA Technical Director.
As the early morning fog lifted over Carrabassett Valley, the 7:30 local time start welcomed sunny skies at 12°C (54°F) with 7km northwesterly winds through the 42K course.
Mason Coppi from RMV, California, emerged as the champion in the Men’s World Championship Full Distance Marathon, clocking a time of 3:17:52. “I know [2nd place] Eric [Lipuma] is a really strong Ultra runner. His endurance is his strength,” Coppi began. He further detailed his strategy, “I do a lot of races up and down ski slopes, so I really thought this is my time to really make a move, take command of the race early on.” He also shared his admiration for the XTERRA legacy and his first XTERRA win, stating, “I know XTERRA has a long history and some really legit runners coming here. It’s been a long time coming, a long time working, and to pull it off, I’m pretty stoked about it.”
Eric Lipuma of Boulder, Colorado, secured the second spot with a time of 3:22:05. “Mason [Coppi] had already put an enormous gap on the field so I was thinking I’m either in bad shape or Mason is going out really fast,” Lipuma shared. He continued, “The descent was incredibly steep. Way steeper than I anticipated.” Expressing his appreciation for the course, Lipuma added, “The flatter parts were nice to hit more of a stride and actually get some fast running in. It all worked out to be a super dynamic way to race.”
Thomas Bartoli from Cap d’Ail, France, completed the top three with a time of 3:51:57. “When I went to the top and I saw the view, I just thought WOW! I’m glad that I came,” Bartoli exclaimed.
On the women’s side, Caitlin Patterson of Portland, Maine, clinched the top spot with a time of 4:02:38. Reflecting on the initial climb, Patterson said, “I think a lot of us in the field were enjoying the fact that since it was such a big climb, there was a lot of easing into it.” She further described her strategy, “I was enjoying the early morning cool temperatures. The downhill was plenty technical but I think it went fine.” Patterson also expressed her excitement about the XTERRA event being in her backyard, “I just moved to Portland, Maine a year and a half ago, I was like, how do I get in? I want to do this.”
Joanna Fortier from Richmond, Vermont, secured the second position with a time of 4:06:01. “I knew there was going to be a big climb so I was prepared,” Fortier began. She added, “I love downhill, and then I realized there was loose grass and rocks, so you just go down and hope for the best.” Reflecting on her competition with Patterson, Fortier mentioned, “Caitlin [Patterson] took off pretty good. I got her in my sight by mile 16-17 but then I fell. I told myself to just keep going.”
Rounding out the top three for the women was Britta Clark from Portland, Maine, with a time of 4:13:42. When asked about the initial 700-meter climb, Clark responded, “I enjoyed that, it was fun. The mix of single track and just straight up the ski mountain. Right after that when you’re feeling good, it was nice and cool up there. Beautiful foliage. I was having a great time.”
The 8:30 start time for the Half Marathon race saw the sun warm up the 21K course to 15°C (59°F), going up to 18°C (64°F) when Rachel Tomajczyk (USA) crossed the finish line in 1st place with a time of 1:50:38. All six top finishers in the XTERRA Women’s and Men’s Trail Run Half Marathon World Championship hailed from the USA.
Tomajczyk of Williams, Arizona, emerged as the champion in the women’s category. “I was trying to conserve my energy on the really steep climb,” she began. Tomajczyk then elaborated on her strategy, “I broke this race up into two sections: the mountain part and the flatter rolling hills.” She described the latter portion of the trail run as reminiscent of a “classic cross country race.” Moving up from her initial third position, she added, “I took the lead for good in the second mile of the downhill. That was the best part of my race.”
Boston’s Hannah Rowe clinched the second spot with a commendable time of 1:55:52. “I knew the uphill would be one of my strongest segments,” Rowe shared. Despite her strengths, she faced challenges, admitting, “The downhill is not my strong suit, and I took a big tumble.” Fortunately, she wasn’t injured and added, “Once Rachel got ahead, I had a feeling I wasn’t going to catch her.”
Completing the women’s top three was Corey Dowe from North Conway, New Hampshire, with a time of 1:56:22. Expressing her fondness for the course, Dowe said, “I love the uphill single track mountain bike.” She further added, “The descent is my favorite part.” Emphasizing the local significance of the event, she mentioned, “I’m from New Hampshire, so it was special that it was a New England event.”
On the men’s side, Boulder, Colorado’s Andy Wacker stood out, finishing with a swift time of 1:31:33. “It’s a great mountain,” Wacker noted. He further shared his excitement for the downhill segment, saying, “I loved the downhill because it was really fun for me.” Recognizing the competition, he added, “Dan Curts is one of the best runners in the country. I knew he was behind me.”
Dan Curts, hailing from Lebanon, New Hampshire, secured the second position with a time of 1:34:08. Reflecting on the race’s challenges, Curts remarked, “The first nonstop 700-meter climb was pretty hard.” He also appreciated the course’s variety, stating, “The descent was more rugged than I thought, which I was pumped about.”
Rounding out the top three in the men’s category was Phil Royer from Boston, Massachusetts, who clocked in at 1:41:41. Sharing his strategy, Royer mentioned, “I was trying to keep it a little under all out on the first nonstop 700-meter climb.” Discussing his approach to the race, he added, “Once I reached the rolling terrain, I shifted my pace and strategy.”
A heartwarming highlight of the day was the shared success of Phil Royer and his wife, Hannah Rowe, both celebrating Half Marathon podium finishes.
Sugarloaf’s landscape provided a diverse terrain for course creators with more than 100 kilometers of winding trails, stretching from a base elevation of 1,417 feet to a peak of 4,237 feet.
The 21K Half Marathon offered a demanding uphill segment, challenging runners’ stamina from the outset. Reaching the peak signified a prolonged downhill stretch. The course was crafted to be less intricate, enabling runners to sustain their pace. While the route presented consistent challenges, it was designed to let participants take in the iconic trails of Sugarloaf Mountain.
For the 42K Full Marathon, the race commenced with the same uphill battle as the Half Marathon, quickly distinguishing the frontrunners. Post the initial ascent, the path became conducive for swift running, mirroring the 21K’s design for speed across large segments.
XTERRA chose Sugarloaf Resort, Maine, as the venue for its Trail Run World Championship with its diverse topography as a challenging race environment. “Carrabassett Valley’s natural landscape makes it ideally suited to host this event,” noted Sugarloaf General Manager, Karl Strand.
“After an extensive global search, we found all the right ingredients in Maine,” said Steve Andrus, XTERRA Americas Tour Manager.
“The Maine Sports Commission is thrilled XTERRA chose Maine and showcased Maine’s epic mountain trail community,” commented Sheila Brennan Nee, Strategic Director, Maine Sports Commission.
“Maine’s mountain resorts offer exciting outdoor adventure opportunities overlooking Carrabassett Valley in the Maine Lakes and Mountains region,” stated Steve Lyons, Director, Maine Office of Tourism.
The move to Maine aligned with XTERRA’s initiative to rotate championship venues, offering new experiences to athletes and their families.
All XTERRA Trail Run Champions were presented trophies of handcrafted axes, deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of Maine. Historically, the U.S. had boasted over 200 distinct ax designs, but the Maine Wedge stands out as a design exclusive to the host state.
Relive the highlights on XTERRA Trail Run IG
The XTERRA Trail Run World Series is a comprehensive global event, spanning over 38 races in 18 countries across five continents. It awards points to participants at every race which are reflected in the Trail Run World Series Standings.
“This Series is for every runner who runs to explore, who thrives on dirt, hills, and fresh air, embraces personal challenge, and never stops asking what’s around the next corner. It’s a Series for every trail runner, amateur to elite, young and old, the sprinters, the scramblers, the climbers, and the crawlers,” says Emily McIlvaine, XTERRA Americas Event Coordinator.
This series offers both marathon (35-to-60km) and half-marathon (15-to-34km) categories, with accolades given at regional levels and culminating in the annual XTERRA Trail Run World Championship.
For more details and registration, visit XTERRAplanet.com