XTERRA National Champions Ready to Chase World Titles
Five making trip to Hawaii for XTERRA Trail Run World Championship
After experiencing success on the national trail, several champion runners will next test their skills on the world trail.
At least five 2010 XTERRA Trail Run National Champions are entered in this week's XTERRA Trail Run World Championship race at Hawaii.
The XTERRA National Championship race was held on Sept. 18 at Bend, Ore. The XTERRA World Championship race is set for Dec. 5 at Kualoa Ranch on the island of Oahu.
Leading the way among the national champs is Oregon's Max King. He won his third consecutive XTERRA National Championship in September, and is seeking his third consecutive XTERRA World Championship this week.
King, 30, is an elite-level runner who is favored to finish first overall at Kualoa Ranch. In addition to the elite overall division, there are numerous age-group divisions that will crown world champions.
Kenneth Harrison, for example, will travel to Hawaii from Hudson, Ohio, in search of a world title in the men's 70-74 age group. He won that division at the XTERRA National Championship in September.
"I've never been to Hawaii before, so this seemed like a good opportunity," he said. "There was another runner from Ohio named Joan Cottrill who also won her division at Bend. After that race we sat down and talked about going to Hawaii to run and started planning from there."
Cottrill won the women's 45-49 age group in Bend, and will also be making her first trip to Hawaii this week.
Hannah Schultz of Seattle, Wash., won the women's 20-24 age group at the XTERRA Nationals, and will make the trip to Hawaii.
Also, Larry Dunlap of Eugene, Ore., will try to win a world title in the men's 65-69 age group after taking that division at the XTERRA Nationals. His son, Scott Dunlap, will also race at Kualoa Ranch. Scott Dunlap is a returning world champion, having won the men's 40-44 division last year.
"It will be our first world championship race together," Scott said. "He is the man who started my passion with the outdoors and it's pretty special to toe the line with him."
The competition will certainly be tough. There were around 400 runners at the XTERRA National Championship race at Bend; more than 1,500 are expected at Kualoa Ranch on Dec. 5.
The world championship course is a 21-kilometer (half-marathon) trail that will offer unique challenges - and scenery - at Kualoa Ranch.
In addition to the national champions, there are 10 age-group world champions from 2009 who will be back to defend their respective titles.
"That's a big reason why I want to do this race," Harrison said. "Of course, I want to see Hawaii, but I also want to run against the best competition."
2010 XTERRA National Champions entered in 2010 XTERRA World Championship
2009 XTERRA World Champions returning to 2010 XTERRA World Championship
XTERRA TRAIL RUN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
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