Sunday, March 13, 2005

Xterra - The Next Big Name in Trail Running?

When Xterra announced the 2005 schedule for their wildly successful off-road triathlon series earlier this month, there were some new additions to the program that included team-style adventure racing, snowshoeing and winter race events, and a trail running Scramble Series. At first this wasn't a surprise - Xterra has had 5k and 10k runs on the same courses as their triathlons for the last couple of years, mostly to reach out to those who would prefer to avoid the swim and bike. But the press release had one line that indicated Xterra might have a growing appetite for trail running:

"[the 2005 schedules includes] 15 trail running races, expanding to 50-75 races in the future."

If this is true, Xterra could be bringing a point series to short course trail running similar to their wildly popular Xterra triathlon series. And with Xterra's successful sponsorship and TV coverage, it could boost the sport to a whole new level. Xterra has done a great job creating an international triathlon pro circuit chasing over $500k in prize money around the globe, and an "adventure lifestyle brand" similar to Ironman. I was excited at the possibility and thought I would dig around a bit.

After getting more info, I didn't find any indications that Xterra is creating an international point series anytime soon, but was happy to see that they will be applying their growth engine to trail running. All the facts to date indicate that Xterra is using trail running to "grow" a larger audience for their outdoor adventures, particularly as they create destination events for more of their big races. Each of the seven announced races (the other eight are yet to be announced) work with local race promoters to put on a 5k and 10k, often using the same two-lap course that will be used for the Xterra triathlons. Each race begins with a free Xterra University trail running clinic as part of the entry fee. Awards go down the the "9 and under" category, showing an interest in getting folks hooked early. And a few of them have even listed the event as "run/walks", opening up their audience to just about anyone with a pair of shoes.

A new point series in the making? Doesn't sound like it. Raising interest in trail running? Definitely. Free trail running clinics that invites kids of all ages will help encourage a healthy lifestyle and appreciation for the outdoors, and is likely to turn up the next Dean Karnazes or Monica Scholz. I will keep my fingers crossed that they might create a bigger series in the future.

- SD

P.S. - Thanks for all the e-mails welcoming me to the Catalina Marathon next Saturday. I look forward to meeting you all!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Scott--

    Crossing your fingers worked...

    The XTERRA Trail Running Championship Series has more than doubled in two years, offering 30+ races for 2007!

    This year, XTERRA has grouped their trail runs in key regions, including: Northern and Southern California, Utah, Tennessee, the Midwest and Northeast, Chicago and Georgia.

    Similar to the XTERRA multisport races, the series format encourages runners to attend several events in their area and offers a legit opportunity to sharpen their off-road skills in a fun and competitive environment.

    When the series concludes, Regional Champions will be crowned and invited to compete for the title of U.S. Champion, along with other leading runners from each region - in Lake Tahoe, NV - on September 29 at the XTERRA National Trail Running Championship.

    True to the XTERRA “Live More” motto, the XTERRA Trail Run Series strives to bring out the Champion in YOU. Whether this means crossing the finish line first, or at all – XTERRA aims to inspire individuals to move in the direction of health.

    For more info on XTERRA Trail Runs including updated schedules and race reports, tap into our world @:


I LIVE for comments! Please add your thoughts, let me know you stopped by, etc., and be thoughtful of others. Always best if you sign your name, of course.