Truckee’s Kara LaPoint earns first XTERRA pro podium | SierraSun.com

Truckee’s Kara LaPoint earns first XTERRA pro podium

Sylas Wright
swright@sierrasun.com

TRUCKEE, Calif. — Kara LaPoint wasn't about to let one little misstep spoil her efforts.

Despite spraining her ankle during a river crossing, the 29-year-old Truckee triathlete powered through the injury to earn her first podium finish as a pro in the XTERRA East Championship in Richmond, Va., on June 14.

"I was ecstatic when I crossed that finish line and knew I had accomplished what I'd set out to do, and a goal I've been striving for all season," LaPoint said. "This was a big milestone for me, and while I knew deep down that it was something I could achieve if I had a good day, it was really validating for me to actually execute that."

Competing in 95 degree weather and on a technical XTERRA course — complete with ladders, steep staircases, railroad crossings and river crossings, as well as rocky and rooty terrain — LaPoint reached the finish line in fifth place among women and 31st overall with a time of 2 hours, 54 minutes, 38 seconds.

There was a moment when she thought she might not reach the finish line at all. While crossing the James River during the 10K run, LaPoint turned her ankle on a large boulder and placed all of her weight on it.

"It was not pleasant to say the least," she said. "My initial thoughts were, 'Ouch, that really hurt,' accompanied by some four-letter words in my head, and then followed by a few moments of panic. I was not sure how bad the injury was and I did think my race might be done, or at least that I was probably going to get caught by a competitor behind me."

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Fueled by adrenaline and the fear of getting caught from behind, LaPoint continued on despite the pain.

"I knew I was not running as fast as I normally would, and I was so terrified I was going to lose it," she said. "I had to work really hard mentally to push that doubt out of my head and tell myself over and over, 'You can do this,' and just keep giving it everything I had.

"I can't tell you how eager I was to cross that finish line, and how good it felt when I made it."

Suzie Snyder of Stafford, Vt., claimed the women's victory and was 16th overall with a time of 2:43:58.

Former Sierra Sun and North Lake Tahoe Bonanza photographer Emma Garrard, who now lives in Park City, Utah, finished second in 2:45:10. She was followed by Catherine Sterling (2:50:23), Maia Ignatz (2:51:59) and LaPoint rounding out the podium, which includes the top five finishers.

Josiah Middaugh took the overall win, in 2:19:53.

For complete results, go to http://www.xterraplanet.com/races/east-championship/.