Vail’s Middaugh third at Xterra nationals
OGDEN, Utah – Nicolas Lebrun of France used a strong run to run off with the XTERRA USA Championship on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah.
Lebrun took the lead midway through the run to take the USA Championship for the second time in three years. He also won it in 2009, and placed second last year.
“I think this is a very good race to win today,” said Lebrun, 38. “I think a lot of athletes knew that today — there was more media, a lot of people around, so I’m really happy to have my best race of the year today.”
Lebrun finished with an overall time of 2 hours, 24 minutes, 26 seconds. He was in third place after the bike, but made up more than a minute on the 6.34-mile run.
Dan Hugo of South Africa held the lead for the first half of the race, and finished second with a time of 2:24:50. It was his best showing at the USA Championship, topping his fourth place finishes in 2010 and 2008.
Josiah Middaugh of Vail also relied on a strong run to finish in third place overall and the top American with a time of 2:25:37. South Africa’s Conrad Stoltz, the 2010 USA and World Champion, placed fourth in 2:27:30.
American cycling legend Lance Armstrong placed fifth in his XTERRA debut. His presence generated additional media and fan attention and he proved that he could contend with the top XTERRA professionals.
Armstrong was in third place for much of the race, and finished with a time of 2:29:25.
Lebrun passed Armstrong late in the bike stage, and then passed Stoltz and Hugo on the run. “I caught Lance on the bike,” Lebrun said. “I said I’m passing Lance on the bike, is this a dream? That was my first victory of the day.”
Melanie McQuaid of Canada took the women’s USA Championship for the fourth consecutive year. She finished with a time of 2:43:00. It was her fifth women’s USA title. McQuaid took the lead early in the bike and maintained it the rest of the way.
Lesley Paterson of Scotland placed second for the second consecutive year. Her finishing time was 2:45:59.
Danelle Kabush was third (2:47:43), followed by Kelley Cullen (2:49:24) and Emma Garrard was fifth (2:52:01).
Ryan Ignatz of Colorado was the top age-group finisher. He placed 12th overall with a time of 2:37:56. Avon’s Tamara Donelson was the top female age-group finisher with a time of 3:04:31.