Stuart Terrill and Mary Kate McElroy Crowned Champions at the 2023 Collegiate Trail Running National Championship
Collegiate Trail Running National Championships Showcase Outstanding Student-Athletes in Strouds Run State Park
May 12, 2022 – Athens, Ohio – The Collegiate Running Association (CRA) and the Southeastern Ohio Trail Runners (SEOTR) successfully hosted the highly anticipated Collegiate Trail Running National Championship at Strouds Run State Park in Athens, Ohio with Stuart Terrill ((University of Richmond) and Mary Kate McElroy (Ohio University) claiming the titles. The event, held on May 12, 2023, attracted a field of talented athletes and featured a thrilling lineup of Thunderbunny events, including the prestigious 11K Collegiate Trail Running National Championship on Friday evening, followed by the challenging 25K and 50K events on Saturday morning.
The race witnessed extraordinary performances from Stuart Terrill of the University of Richmond and Mary Kate McElroy from Ohio University, who emerged as the national champions in their respective categories. These exceptional athletes showcased their skill, determination, and endurance as they navigated the demanding trails of Strouds Run State Park.
The 2023 Collegiate Trail Running National Championships witnessed strong competition among both male and female college-eligible runners during the 11K race. The top three finishers in each category were rewarded for their performances, with first-place winners receiving $750, second-place recipients earning $500, and third-place finishers taking home $250. In recognition of their outstanding efforts, the top five collegiate finishers were also presented with JAMBAR, the official energy bar of the association.
University of Richmond standouts Stuart Terrill and teammate Jordan Bendura, who was the runner-up in the 2022 Collegiate Championships, took the early lead as they hit the single-track trail and never looked back. By 2 miles, they had amassed a whopping one-minute lead on Cory Culbertson from Shawnee State University, Ian Switzer, and Ridge Cook from nearby Ohio University.
By 3.7 miles, Terrill had created distance between himself and Bendura, setting a course record pace. It was clearly a two-man race for the Collegiate Trail Running title, with the duo extending their lead. At 5 miles, it was all Terrill, and the only question remaining was how much he would eclipse Josh Park's course record of 44:55 set in 2022.
At the finish line, Terrill cruised in, crushing the record with his remarkable 41:26 effort to claim the 2023 Collegiate Trail Running National Championship. University of Richmond teammate Bendura placed second again this year with a time of 46:03, and Culbertson from Shawnee State University claimed third place. Ian Switzer and Ridgeway Cook, both from Ohio University, secured the fourth and fifth positions, respectively.
For the women, the 2023 Collegiate Trail Running National Championships turned into a runaway victory for Mary Kate McElroy from Ohio University, who was the runner-up last year. McElroy took an early lead and was uncontested throughout the race, building a substantial three-minute advantage by the 2-mile mark. From there, she continued to pull away, crossing the finish line with a smile on her face to claim the collegiate title with an impressive time of 51:57. Local high school teacher Laura Hibbard from Ohio secured the runner-up spot, with Prabhjot Singh from Ohio State University, Abigail Lindley and Lily Osterday from Ohio University taking the third through fifth positions, respectively.
Set against the picturesque backdrop of Strouds Run State Park, with its captivating single-track trails, vibrant wildflowers, and awe-inspiring rock formations, the championship showcased the beauty and challenges of trail running. With a total elevation gain of 1,099 feet spread across the course, participants faced exhilarating obstacles in the park's sprawling 2,600-acre expanse, which includes the scenic Dow Lake, a 160-acre gem created in 1960.
The Collegiate Running Association remains steadfast in its commitment to fostering opportunities for college students to engage in trail running and experience the sensory delights offered by the stunning wildflowers adorning the Thunderbunny course. The Thunderbunny 11K brought together a diverse group of college students hailing from Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, Michigan, and Illinois, joining local participants in this year's event.
The Collegiate Trail Running National Championships provided a platform for these college athletes to demonstrate their talent and dedication to the sport of trail running and stands as a premier platform for college students who possess a passion for trail running or seek to embrace the exhilaration of a trail race. The event not only provided an avenue for showcasing talent but also encouraged social participants to lead healthy, active lifestyles in the great outdoors. It was an extraordinary and inspiring occasion that celebrated the spirit of competition and the joy of trail running.
Collegiate Running Association President and Co-Founder
SEOTR Race Director