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Posted: September 11, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

(RWire) Athletics: XTERRA Trail Run Nationals Return to Bend, Oregon

Max King to defend national title; "Beat the King, Win a Grand" promo; world ultra champion Kami Semick top woman

XTERRA Trail Run Nationals, a half-marathon on the banks of the Deschutes River in Bend, hits the pristine Central Oregon town on Sunday, September 13th. While the race draws runners from the eight regions (SoCal, NorCal, Philly, Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Virginia and New England) that make up the 50-stop XTERRA U.S. Trail Run Series - it's a pair of Bend locals that are getting all the pre-race attention as the runners to beat.

In the men's race, it's all about Max King, the undisputed "King of XTERRA Trail Running" as the reigning national and world champ. Last year, King turned out close to five-minute miles for a winning time of 1 hour, 8 minutes, 1 second and the 29-year-old is such a clear cut favorite organizers proposed a "Beat the King, Win a Grand" promo that if anyone out there can run faster than Max they'll take home the $1000 first-place prize money.

For the women, it's Kami Semick, 43, the world's fastest ultramarathoner - a title earned by winning the World 100K crown in Belgium earlier this year. Last year, she was sick-as-a-dog and placed second to Susannah Beck (who moved to the East Coast and will not race in Bend). A week after that runner-up performance, Semick took her aggression out at the Portland Marathon, which she won.

For mere mortals "Nationals" provides an opportunity to discover Bend's epic "urban-to-wild trail system" as the race runs from the hip, upscale Old Mill District to uncluttered and clean forest single track in a matter of miles. It also gives age group runners a chance to win a national title, as age groups from 10-15 all the way to 80+ compete against others in their division for the honor and a great collection of sponsor swag.

In addition to the $5000 prize money, Hawaiian Air is giving roundtrip airfare to Hawaii for the winners, XTERRA Footwear is awarding trail running shoes, Paul Mitchell is providing care packages, and a treasure chest full of other prizes from GU Energy Gel, Blue Steel, R3 Gel, Fuel Belt and Swiftwick Socks is up for the taking.

While Nationals will feature a bunch really fast guys and gals, it's an Open race on a relatively flat and very fast course and all runners are welcome. There's also a stroller-friendly 5K along the river as well as a blazing fast 10K race. Plus, in celebrated XTERRA championship style, there will be an XTERRA K9 Challenge for owners and their dogs, a Kids Zone with free races for the young ones, Paul Mitchell stylists cutting hair for the Challenged Athletes Foundation, and two great nights of Beer with the Little Woody Beer Festival and Bend Brewing Company post-race gathering.

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