September 19, 2015 (Ogden, Utah) – The 15th annual XTERRA USA Championship triathlon took place at Snowbasin Resort today with more than 700 racers from 41 states taking on a grueling challenge that combined a one-mile swim in Pineview Reservoir with an 18-mile mountain bike ride that climbs 3,000-feet to Snowbasin Resort, and then a 7-mile trail run.
Josiah Middaugh of Eagle-Vail, Colorado won the men’s race for the second time in four years in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 21 seconds, edging New Zealand’s Braden Currie in a thrilling side-by-side battle by just 26-seconds at the line.
“It’s the most important race I’ve done so far this year and to have that tight of racing from start-to-finish is just really special, really magical to have that kind of authentic racing all the way through,” said Middaugh, who is now an 11-time National Champ. “Braden Currie just never gives up, and I was really wishing that every once in a while he’d just give up, but he doesn’t. It was never over, I just kept having to dig deeper and deeper.
The two traded leads on the bike and the run and it wasn’t until “about mile four” of the run that Middaugh opened a little gap, maybe 10 seconds, and held it to the line. The finish was closer than the 26-second difference as Currie walked through the finish line giving high five’s to the fans.
“I knew Josiah going to create a big challenge today, I just had to give it everything I could,” said Currie, who was able to come away victorious in a similar stride-for-stride race with Middaugh earlier this year at the XTERRA Southeast Championship. “Coming into transition I knew it was going to come down to the run and I just tried to push as much as I could. I thought I had a little more speed on the downhill but Josiah had the edge on the climbs, and somewhere in the middle there he pushed I tried to catch him at the top but he had a little too much on me.”
XTERRA veteran Brian Smith did his first XTERRA race in five years and overcome a big deficit out of the water with the third-best bike split of the day to enter T2 in fourth and get past Branden Rakita to finish third on the day. Alex Modestou posted his career-best result with a fourth-place showing and Matt Lieto finished 5th.
In the women’s race Emma Garrad from Park City, Utah at long last had her dream come true. After two years and eight straight runner-up finishes on the XTERRA America Tour she finally broke the tape with her two-year-old son Torin in her arms for her first career U.S. Championship win. The victory also secured the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series title for Garrard, with a combined payout of $12,500.
“This is the first time I’ve ever held the mic,” said an emotional Garrard at the awards ceremony, with friends and family standing all around. “I’m so happy to be on the top step. Proud to be up here with these girls who pushed me so hard not just today but for the last 10 years. It’s great to have my family here, and for XTERRA to be my family too.”
Garrard took the lead on the bike from Catherine Sterling before the top of the big climb up Sardine Peak and never looked back. Sara Schuler, who also has a two-year-old, finished in second-place more than four-minutes behind Garrard. It was her best-ever result at Nationals.
Catherine Sterling was the first out of the water and lead for the full first-half of the bike before Schuler and Garrard caught up. She held that position through the finish line while Jaime Brede placed fourth and Maia Ignatz fifth.
Below is a look at the elite race results, final XTERRA U.S. Pro Series standings, and amateur national champions. More stories, quotes, age group recaps, a full slate of photos and videos from the day will be loaded soon to XTERRA’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/XTERRAplanet.
Now that the race is over the celebration begins with a gathering for the Tribe at the Harvest Moon Celebration where all the day’s champions get recognized on-stage in front of thousands of party-goers in a massive block party on Historic 25th street in Ogden. Then, tomorrow, it’s the trail runners turn to race with the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Running National Championship half-marathon at Snowbasin Resort.
With their wins today in Utah Josiah Middaugh and Emma Garrard also secured the top spots in the XTERRA U.S. Pro Series.
Source: XTERRA Planet