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Shaler native setting records in world of XTERRA racing

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Shaler's Rich Burgunder has set an XTERRA record, and he plans on keeping it for the forseeable future.

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Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
 

Athletes set goals as motivation.

As goals are set, often they fall by the wayside for many reasons, but for Shaler graduate Richard Burgunder, his goal was almost derailed by, of all things, a sunset.

Nothing has been easy in regard to the sport he loves (XTERRA racing) is an understatement for, Burgunder.

He won his first race in 2009, and then overcame some health issues to two more XTERRA Trail Run Series Races in 2011. A fourth win came in 2012, giving Burgunder four wins in three different regions.

The Shaler graduate moved out to Boulder Colorado earlier this year to compete in a new region for the XTERRA series. A win in the region would mark an XTERRA record fourth regional title and his fifth consecutive title overall.

Burgunder placed fifth in Wolf Mountain Trail Run earning him enough points to win the men's 30-34 division for the season. Burgunder had to overcome a broken foot to compete in the race.

“I came out here to compete after I won the Pocono series in the summer,” Burgunder said. “It was my goal to win five-straight and I got it.”

The extreme runner had only been in Colorado a brief time when his love of the outdoors got the better of him and he wanted to see and photograph the beautiful sunsets the area is known for.

“I was trying to get a picture of the sunset, and I was climbing up some rocks to get a good view,” he said. “Time was of the essence, so I hurried and lost my focus for a moment as I was jumping from one boulder to another.”

Burgunder landed on his foot awkwardly and suffered a break in the foot and severely strained some tendons.

“The sports medical people told me it was unlikely to compete again this year,” Burgunder said.

The injury sidelined Burgunder three months, and he was depressed and disappointed because the goal of the endeavor was to compete.

He struggled through races in April and May, but when it counted, he was able to amass enough points to win the region for the year.

The win was gratifying, but Burgunder knows that other top XTERRA runners are on his trail and chasing his record.

“I will definitely stick with XTERRA, we have a good relationship,” he said. “I also will be open to doing other races and events and be a little less specialized.

“I plan to try to win another series. I know there are people who want to tie or topple my record and I don't want to lose it.”

Burgunder said the North Carolina, Florida or mid-Atlantic are regions he is thinking about, as his move to Boulder is a temporary one.

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