Endurance: XTERRA

Smyth, Babkina capture XTERRA trail titles

November, 25, 2013
Patrick Smyth's plan to forgo marathons and reinvent himself as a trail runner is off to a pretty good start.

The 27-year-old Salt Lake City, Utah, resident with a 2:15 marathon PR has raced just twice on the trails, but has a a national title and a world championship to his credit, won $3,000 in prize money and earned a spot on Nike's newly-formed trail-running team.

On Sunday, Smyth torched a strong field at the sixth annual XTERRA Trail Run World Championship on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. He covered the rolling 21K course over a combination of singletrack trails and dirt roads in 1:16:38.

Joe Gray (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who tied for the XTERRA win last year and placed seventh at this year’s IAAF World Mountain Running championships in Poland was second in 1:17:26. Max King (Bend, Ore.), a four-time winner at the XTERRA World Championship and 2011 World Mountain Running champion, was third in 1:20:53, while Nathan Peters of Salt Lake City (1:23:44) and Roberto Mandje of Boulder, Colo., (1:26:53) rounded out the top five.

Polina Babkina, a 26-year-old Russian who is attending graduate school in Honolulu, won the women's race in 1:37:24 with, a 31-second margin over 2012 winner Lucy Smith of Sidney, British Columbia.

Smyth and Babkina earned $2,000 apiece for their victories.

Smyth shot to the lead from the start, with Gray and King hot on his heels. In the early going, Smyth extended his lead on the climbs and flat sections, only to have King and Gray catch up on the descents and semi-technical sections. By the four-mile mark, though, Smyth had a lead he would never relinquish.

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