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Meet the XTERRA World Champs
Eneko Llanos and Julie Dibens may have grabbed the headlines for winning the pro races in Maui, but there were also 25 age group athletes who won the XTERRA World Championship in their respective divisions, and we’ll take a look at each of them here…
Female Division, Name (Hometown) Time
20-24, Monique Avery (Rotorua, New Zealand) 3:47:15 – In 2007 Monique won the 15-19 division, and proved on Sunday she can win in an even more competitive age group. Perhaps even more impressive was the fact she recently broke her arm, and said she felt lucky to be racing at all let alone winning her division. Monique is a student at Canterbury University and teaches kids how to swim in her spare time.
25-29, Bridget Keegan (Napier,New Zealand) 3:39:29 - Bridget qualified at XTERRA New Zealand in Rotorua, and this was her first experience at XTERRA Worlds. A physiotherapist by profession, she posted the 8th best bike split of the day and said she “loved the ride.” She already has her sights set on returning next year to defend her title.
30-34, Martina Donner (Kotschach, Austria) 3:34:33 - On her very first trip to the XTERRA World Championship Martina Donner posted the second fastest amateur time overall for the women, and was just nine seconds shy of winning the amateur title. Not only an extraordinary triathlete, she is also a policewoman in her home country. “I was very pleased with my race and hope to be back next year” she said.
35-39, Sheri Foster (Calgary, Canada) 3:38:31 - Sheri Foster proved to be a triple threat with impressive times in all three disciplines. This cancer prevention research assistant had the 7th best run split among amateur women and said … “XTERRA Rocks!”
40-44, Darrelle Parker (London, England) 3:34:24 - After a disappointing finish last year in Maui, Darrelle “Das” Parker (pictured here on the left) got serious. She called on 3-time XTERRA World Champion Julie Dibens to be her coach, trained harder than ever, and came to Maui two weeks early to acclimatize and practice her mountain biking. In the end, all her efforts paid off as she crossed the finish line as the first amateur woman overall and claimed bragging rights as the fastest amateur female runner of the day. At first, this stuntwoman (working on films such as Harry Potter, Da Vinci Code, James Bond and Dark Knight) didn’t even realize she won the amateur race but was soon seen doing cartwheels and exclaiming “This is really a dream come true.”
45-49, Kaja Polivkova (Prague, Czech Republic) 3:41:30 - Kaja Polivkova is two-time age group XTERRA World Champion (also won in 2007) and had the fastest bike split across the field of amateur women this year. She is a fitness instructor and said she really tried to watch her heart rate throughout the race to make sure she had enough strength for the run course. “This was my third time racing this event, and every time I love the bike course even more.”
50-54, Beverly Enslow (Metamora, Illinois) 3:51:15 - Beverly Enslow was already a 4-time XTERRA National Champion, and now she can boast of being a 4-time XTERRA World Champion as well. This was her first year to crash on the bike, and she thought the weather was hotter than most years but “I was very pleased with my race. I just hope I don’t have a black eye when I go back to my IT support job at the Caterpillar Co. next week.”
55-59, Sharon Prutton (Christchurch, New Zealand) 4:14:38 - Sharon Prutton, proud mom and grandma, “loved the entire race. The swim was interesting since I don’t do much swimming, but the bike is where I felt the most comfortable since I usually participate in more mountain biking races. Overall, I am very happy with my race.”
60+, Kimiko Matsuda (Osaka, Japan) 5:55:00 - Kimiko Matsuda was one of only three females to participate in the XTERRA Double competition. Just two weeks after finishing the Ironman World Championship, Kimiko traveled to Maui to dominate the XTERRA World Championship. Working as a part-time researcher when she’s not training, Kimiko very humbly said “both events were very hard and I’m glad I was able to compete.”
Physically Challenged Division, Megan Fisher (Missoula, Montana) 5:22:10 – Despite battling the swine flu in the days leading up to the race, Megan Fisher won the women’s PC division for the second straight year. “This race was particularly tough for me. The heat was more intense, and I felt really week on the run like I had nothing left. XTERRA is amazing though, and I am so glad I was able to make the trip.” After a car accident at the age of 19, Megan, also an employee at the University of Montana, has been breaking barriers as a below-the-knee-amputee athlete ever since.
Male Division, Name (Hometown) Time
20-24, Alexander Haas (Georgensgmuend, Germany) 2:56:23 - Clocking the third fastest amateur bike split of the day clinched Alexander’s 3rd place overall amateur finish as well as his division’s crown of XTERRA World Champion. The university student said the toughest part for him was the run on “Big Beach”, and that he was very happy with his race overall.
25-29, Tim Van Daele (Burcht, Belgium) 2:53:46 - Tim Van Daele, who does maintenance for a chemical plant when he’s not training, had the race of his life. Even though he claims that his swim “wasn’t great”, he was still the 6th fastest amateur out of the water and went on to post the 2nd fastest bike and 5th quickest run in the amateur division to cross the finish line first among amateurs, and 20th overall ahead of dozens of pros.
30-34, Cedric Lassonde (London, England) 2:55:20 – Cedric, who was the second amateur to finish, used to participate exclusively in running races until injuries forced him to start swimming and biking as well. His training discipline paid off as he posted top 5 splits for the amateurs in each leg of the race. “I don’t think I ever swam so fast, so I was very pleased. This is my first time here in Maui, and the race was absolutely fantastic.” Cedric, who moonlights as a DJ, is French but lives in the United Kingdom.
35-39, Thomas Vonach (Schwarzach, Austria) 3:00:49 - No one can dispute that Thomas “Tommy” Vonach certainly deserves the title. He had the 3rd fastest amateur run and was the 7th amateur overall. “This race is one of the most exciting events in any athlete’s career. I needed this win to make things right after not finishing in Kona two weeks ago. I was the 2006 Double winner, have three 3rd place finishes, two 2nd place finishes, and now I finally have a 1st place!”
40-44, Calvin Zaryski (Calgary, Canada) 2:56:32 - Calvin “Coach Cal” Zaryski “had a really good day” at this year’s race. “The swim was rough, but the bike was faster and much smoother than last year.” He clocked the fastest amateur split of the day and missed placing 3rd overall by a mere nine seconds.
45-49, Casey Fannin (Hoover, Alabama) 3:14:18 - Even though Casey Fannin has been racing with XTERRA for years, he said he was nervous before the race and “felt awesome” after it was over. Apparently all that anxiety was a recipe for success as the XTERRA Ambassador raced his way to a second XTERRA World title. “I love XTERRA! It’s so uncertain, and I never knew how I was doing along the way. I thought I was having a good day, and by the time I was on the run, I just tried to survive.”
50-54, Tom Monica (Thousand Oaks, California) 3:18:19 - Alongside his racing career, Tom Monica is also a director for AMGEN, a molecular biology research company. He was the 10th fastest amateur out of the water and held on strong to claim his second XTERRA World title. “This race was hot. I had a sketchy bike and was just hoping I didn’t crash or have a flat tire. You never know you’re going to make it until you get on the road.”
55-59, John Royson (Albany, California) 3:31:02 - Having raced every year since 1999, John Royson is certainly no stranger to the XTERRA Maui course. The full time construction manager and father of two had a strong race winning his third XTERRA World Championship, and first since winning back-to-back crowns in the 45-49 division in 2000 and 2001.
60-64, Kent Robison (Reno, Nevada) 3:46:37 - Kent Robison, a lawyer from Reno, NV and longtime friend of XTERRA, won his 6th XTERRA World Championship this year. Battling for first with friend David Rakita, Kent was able to pass David on the bike and “climbed his brains out. David was like a ghost or monster behind me the whole time, so I really had to push myself.”
65-69, Peter Wood (La Jolla, California) 4:09:25 - Also winning the XTERRA World Championship title for an incredible 6th time was CPA Peter Wood. “This was a fun race and I liked that the trails were wider and less rocky even though the dust made it almost impossible to see.”
70+, Hans Dieben (Chula Vista, California) 5:03:46 - Retired professor of exercise physiology and gym teacher Hans Dieben has been racing with XTERRA for 10 years and can now brag about being a World Champion four times over. “My hobbies are swimming, biking and running, and the XTERRA races keep getting in the way of my hobbies,” smiled Diebens.
Physically Challenged Division, Fouad Fattoumy (Honolulu, Hawaii) 3:51:33 - After a year plagued with injuries and breaking his ribs just two weeks before, Fouad “Ed” Fattoumy’s main goal was just to finish the XTERRA World Championship. “Since I was injured, the swim was very tough and I had to stand more throughout the bike section. I was very glad to finish and even happier that there was a full podium in the Physically Challenged division.” Ed was hit by a car while riding his road bike leaving him with spinal cord damage, but he has not let this stop him from claiming his third XTERRA World Champion title.
CEO, Mike Dannelley (Irvine, California) 3:47:43 – Mike placed 8th in the 50-54 division but was the first CEO across the finish line. Mike and his wife Mary, who also competed, run the American Interbanc Mortgage lending company.
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