XYZ Trail Running Series Under Way

The first race of XYZ trail race series started out the New Year at Taltree Aboretum today! The 9:00am gun started the runners on their way to completing the first race of the 13 races that are on the 2014 XYZ schedule. The Ruff, Tuffand In the Buff 5k is new to the series schedule. Race Directors Heather and Todd Henderlong of T&H Timing in Valpo provided computerized timing for the race. Proceeds from the race will benefit Taltree Aboretum in Valpo.

Anicia Kosky from Taltree stated, "Proceeds are going into the general fund at Taltree. We are bringing the Taltree 10mile back and hope to add some more races here at the facility."

"Todd and I wanted to do an event in NW Indiana in January. Taltree seemed like a great location since it is protected by trees and winter running is about avoiding the elements such as the wind," stated Heather from Extra Mile Fitness Company.

Bret Pete from Valpo went out with Heather this morning around 7:00 am to get the course marked for the runners today.

"The course has 2 loops and it promises to be slippery, wet and cold," promised Bret.

Buff Neck Gators is also a sponsor of the race. The first 150 participants signing up received a neat Buff Neck Gator. The gator is great for running in the weather extremes we have been experiencing in the area! Extra Mile Fitness is a race co-sponsor. Extra Mile is a great place to go get up to date gear for running both safe and warm in NWI.

During the race one of the runners shouted out, "This is was the dumbest idea ever, doing this!"

To a chuckle from nearby runners. When asking Steve Kearney of Chesterton what brought him out here today, his reply was, "You have to get your run in sometime, somewhere!"

In 2005 the series was started when a group of fanatical trail running race directors running in the Dunes on New Year Day and decided to go ahead with their idea and the XYZ series was born. The races are off-road consisting of locations such as Imagination Glen, Sunset Hill, Miller Beach, The Dunes,Grand Mere, etc... plan to run in sand, mud, water and snow. You will run hills, ravines, dunes, and encounter temperature extremes from hot to cold. Chances are you will leave the series races sore, tired, wet, muddy, sweaty and definitely will "feel" the race, long after you have left it!

These races are for those who want a challenge and aren't looking for an everyday road race. The series has several races that are very low key and very low entry fees to match. They are fun to come out and watch... You don't need to go to Mudathalon or Warrior races to experience an extreme challenge. Signing up for an XYZ race can provide that for you.

Saturday's race held true to the XYZ reputation; sporting some extreme conditions as promised. Taltree has great trails and the cold temperatures and snow earlier in the week made everyone wonder what condition the course was going to be like. Being prepared is always key in the XYZ races and everyone was ready. The course was not disappointing. Filled with ice, slush, mud along with twists turns, hills etc... it was truly a challenge.

The winner in the Open Male Division was: Devin Clark with a time of 20:07.6Open Female Winner was Alison Mundell 22:08.9. The Male Masters Winner was John Staerk 21:44.8 and Female Winner was Chrys Davis with a time of 22:42.7. Full results are posted at

Click here to see more photos from the race!