Madison’s Drew Bell made another notch in his quest for a World Championship as he placed second in his age division at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championships and qualified for the World Championship set for Oct. 1 in Maine. Photo Contributed

Drew Bell Qualifies For World Championships

PELHAM- Drew Bell feels blessed he’s been able compete at a high level in 2023 as he’s won two National Championships, one national runner-up and earned 12 All-American performances. His latest blessing came at the XTERRA Half-Marathon Trail Run National Championships held at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham where the 57-year old finished second in the 55-59 age division and qualified for the 2023 World Championships scheduled for Oct. 1 at the Sugarloaf Resort in Maine.

“Just to get the opportunity to continue on my journey is incredible as I’ll be training through the summer and I will be focused for the world race,” said Bell.

The half-marathon distance is 13.1 miles and Bell posted a time of 2-hours, 27-minutes, 11-seconds to earn his place among the world’s elite in October. The Oak Mt. trail course was brutal, according to Bell, as the elevation change was 1,242 feet, most of which was a steep climb as the anticipated course had to be rerouted due to three days of rain. The change caused the participants to run more of a steep ascend through pine straw to avoid the red clay of the trail. The course was so demanding many of the runners dropped out due to injuries, dehydration or just plain mental exhaustion.

“The Alabama humidity played a big part in the race as the temperature and humidity were high and caused issues for others as they were just worn out,” added Bell. “The steep incline was very difficult and I had enough energy to get back down the mountain. Coming down the incline was tough as I focused on not falling and not reinjure myself. I truly believe the mind can override just about everything.”                                                                                                                                                                                                         During his participation on April 1 at the National Championship 10-mile race in Washington, D.C., Bell suffered a hamstring injury, which curtailed some of his preparation efforts for the XTERRA event. Bell said he fought through the struggles and his faith in Jesus did the rest.

“I met several people during my race endeavors and we have shared our faith with one another,” added Bell. “This is what this journey has been about. Sharing Jesus along with loving and serving people. I try and get people to live their dreams instead of just existing from day-to-day and year-to-year. I thought my running participation was over last year after battling COVID numerous times and battling other health issues, but God has a plan for me.”

For Bell, his next step in his journey will be July 7-14 when he will an Alabama representative at the Senior Olympics in Pittsburg. At the Senior Olympics, Bell will run in the 10K and 5K races along with the mile run and 800m event in the National Senior Track Meet.

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