Patrick Smyth

Honors for Trail Run Worlds

The 8th edition of the XTERRA Trail Running World Championship half-marathon staged at Kualoa Ranch on the northeastern shore of Oahu earned some well-earned heavy praise from the two leading running publications in the U.S. in the last two weeks.

Last week Trail Runner Magazine named the annual race to its prestigious bucket list of races “you’ll want to travel for.”

The article said, “The XTERRA Trail Run World Championship seems designed for runners who find themselves craving warm, sunny weather by the time December rolls around each year. The 21K (world-championship course), 10K, 5K, kids’ race and adventure walk take place amidst the dense rainforest, broad valleys, white sand beaches and verdant cliff faces of Kualao Ranch, a working, family-owned cattle ranch on Oahu Island, Hawaii, about an hour outside of Honolulu. As if the lush volcanic greenery and the consistently competitive field weren’t enough to put the XTERRA Worlds on every runner’s bucket list, movie and TV aficionados will delight in running against literally cinematic backdrops: Jurassic Park, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii Five-O, LOST and other big- and small-screen hits have filmed scenes at Kualao Ranch.”

Then on Monday Competitor Magazine released its list of “America’s 21 Most Scenic Trail Races,” and Trail Run Worlds was on it. “Run amid dramatic rock formations and dense, tropical foliage with views of the clear, blue ocean and verdant valleys,” the article said.

This year’s XTERRA Trail Run World Championship is scheduled for December 4, 2016 and from now until January 31 registration fees for the 21K are just $50 ($35 for 10K and $25 for 5K and adventure walk).

Learn more at www.xterrakualoa.com.

JP2_9410

XTERRA Nationals on TV

The hour-long feature presentation of the XTERRA USA Championship off-road triathlon, held Sept. 16, 2015 in Ogden, Utah, will air in the race venue’s home market on KSL this Sunday, Jan. 17, at 1:30pm.

No doubt women’s race winner Emma Garrard from nearby Park City, Utah, will be tuning in alongside her extended endurance sports family in northern Utah. You can also expect Ogden Mayor Mike Caldwell, who was the first-ever race director for the Ogden XTERRA race back in 2004, to take in the scenic beauty and exciting race staged in his backyard.

Last year’s USA show was seen by six million viewers and similar viewership numbers are expected for this season’s broadcast.

More than 700 racers from 41 states took part in the grueling challenge that combined a one-mile swim with an 18-mile mountain bike and 7-mile trail run.

Josiah Middaugh won the men’s race for the second time in four years in 2 hours, 21 minutes and 21 seconds, edging New Zealand’s Braden Currie in a thrilling side-by-side battle by just 26-seconds at the line.

The close race between those two, alongside some really great amateur racer interviews, made for one of the most compelling XTERRA race shows in recent memory.

For Garrard the win in Utah was her first on the America Tour after two years and eight straight runner-up finishes.

“This is the first time I’ve ever held the mic,” said an emotional Garrard at the awards ceremony that day. “I’m so happy to be on the top step.  Proud to be up here with these girls who pushed me so hard not just today but for the last 10 years.  It’s great to have my family here, and for XTERRA to be my family too.”

The broadcast in the Salt Lake City market is one of several airings for the show across the nation on Sunday. It can also be seen in the San Francisco market on FOX at 10:30am, and in Idaho Falls, Sioux City, Takima, Madison, Bowling Green, and others.  To see when it’s on in your market visit http://www.xterraplanet.com/television/broadcast-schedule/

Carla-Van-Huyssteen-XTERRA-Buffelspoort-photo-credit-Volume-Photography

South Africa XTERRA Season Starts Now

The 2016 Fedhealth XTERRA South Africa racing season kicks off this month with the much anticipated Fedhealth XTERRA Buffelspoort race in the North West Province on the weekend of January 22-24, followed by an exciting introduction to Port Elizabeth with the Fedhealth XTERRA Nelson Mandela Bay Jan. 29-31.

The 13th annual XTERRA South Africa Championship race follows Feb. 19-21 at the Grabouw Country Club, about 40 minutes outside of Cape Town.

Veteran XTERRA South Africa star Carla Van Huyssteen will kick off her racing season by partaking in all three XTERRA SA events.

“XTERRA is a challenging off road triathlon, this is what attracts me to the sport,” says Van Huyssteen. “The nature of the sport sees the events being held in uniquely beautiful parts of the country. XTERRA SA events can be likened to a well-oiled machine. The organization is very professional, you know that you won’t be disappointed from registration, to on route experience, venue set up and finish.  I cannot wait to see what Stillwater Sports has planned for us at XTERRA Nelson Mandela Bay. The more XTERRA’s the better. It’s a really nice change to once again have an ocean swim at an XTERRA SA event. The stronger swimmers will definitely have a bit of an advantage if they can read the sea conditions well. It is going to be great.”

According to Stellenbosch based trail runner/multi-sport athlete, Antoine van Heerden, in order to thrive at XTERRA one needs to be committed on many levels.  “One major difference is the technical aspect that mountain biking and trail running brings to the sport.  Every XTERRA course is different and will suit a certain athlete more than the other. I enjoy this added dimension that XTERRA racing brings. I enjoy both the mountain bike and run route of XTERRA Buffelspoort. The bike route is fairly flat and fast, with one or two short and steep climbs at the end. The run route crosses under the Buffelspoort dam wall, which is a beautiful sight. I am also excited about the introduction of the Fedhealth XTERRA Nelson Mandela Bay.  I really like the concept of combining all three races to form a series.  It’s a big step for the sport of XTERRA in South Africa.”

Learn more at www.stillwatersports.com or www.Fedhealth.co.za.

MIkeAdrian_XTERRA_2015Trail-58

2015 T’was the Night Before XTERRA

T’was the Night Before XTERRA

And all around the Ritz;

Some athletes were sleeping,

Others at the end of their wits

 

800 strong were on Maui to race

Tomorrow would go at a furious pace;

Would the surf be crashing or would it flat,

Would the bike be muddy or sticky with tack

 

They dreamed of speeding downhill like Conrad Stoltz

And hoped for no flats or broken bolts;

Could they climb like Ruzafa and drop the field,

Would the technical pieces make them yield

 

The moon on the racks of the big, bold transition

Sparkled and twinkled as the dew made them glisten;

Those looking outside saw a wonderous sight

A kindly old gent was working late at night

 

Then all of Kapalua heard a jolly old laugh,

Old St. Nicholas was there with the XTERRA staff;

“Go to sleep my family, tomorrow is near

Be rested and ready and have no fear”

 

“The surf will be fine, the trails sticky and fast

From 9 o’clock on you’ll be having a blast;

Remember blue is for bike, red is for run

Keep yourself hydrated, go out and have fun”.

 

They were suddenly gone, as quick as a flash

The fields back to pristine not one piece of trash;

But the racers all knew as they yawned with a smile

That the race would be great, mile after mile.

 

This was XTERRA and for the last twenty years

There’d been happiness and joy, and sadness and tears;

Sometimes they won and sometimes they lost

But our racers gave it all, regardless of cost.

 

It made no difference if from lands near or far

They would fight like warriors and then drink at the bar;

It’s our way to Live More, a family that is right

Brothers and Sisters who argue and fight.

 

As they all left their windows and went back to bed

The old mans words echoes inside their head

“tomorrow’s the race we’ll be ready and right

Happy XTERRA to All and to All a Goodnight”.

Beaver Creek Transition

XTERRA Early Bird Specials on Now

From now until January 31 XTERRA is offering early-bird prices on registration rates for its championship races and the trail runs held at select venues.

Rates start at just $85 for the full length off-road tris ($110 for teams), $55 for Sprint races ($70 for Sprint teams), $30 for the new “Xticer” beginner off-road tris, and $40 for 21km trail runs, $30 for 10km races, and $20 for 5km runs.

Follow the registration links below for more information:
May 21-22 – XTERRA Oak Mountain – Pelham, AL
July 16-17 – XTERRA Beaver Creek – Avon, CO
Sep 17-18 – XTERRA Pan American Championship – Ogden, UT
Oct. 22 – XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs – Kapalua, Maui
Dec. 4 – XTERRA Trail Run Worlds – Kaaawa, HI

Flora Duffy

XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour

The first race of the 2015-16 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour took place August 29, 2015 in Hokkaido, Japan with Courtney Atkinson and Mieko Carey picking up race wins and big points.

The next four majors on the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour are XTERRA Philippines on February 7 in Albay, the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship on April 23 in New South Wales, Australia, the XTERRA New Zealand Championship April 16 in Rotorua, and the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour finale in Langkawi, Malaysia on May 7.

The top 15 amateur and professional racers at each event will earn points, with double points being offered at the finale in Malaysia. Racers will count their best three scores to determine champions in each division.

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour will award a prize bonus of $10,000 USD to the top five pro men and women in the final standings ($2,000 for 1st, $1,500-2nd, $800-3rd, $400-4th, $300-5th).

XTERRA Tahiti on May 14 will mark the start of the 2016-2017 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour.

DATE XTERRA ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR
7-Feb XTERRA Philippines Championship
16-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship
23-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship
7-May XTERRA Malaysia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Championship
Start of 2016-2017 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour
14-May XTERRA Tahiti
27-Aug XTERRA Japan (Subject to Change)
3-Sep XTERRA Korea
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2016 XTERRA World Tour Preview

While there are still a few weeks left in 2015 it’s not too early to get excited about the adventure opportunities available on the 2016 XTERRA World Tour.

The XTERRA World Tour is looking stronger than ever with championship races in 27 countries and fully developed XTERRA Pan American, European, and Asia-Pacific Tours.

There are still several races yet to be announced, so check back regularly to www.xterraplanet.com.

DATE WORLD TOUR EVENT
7-Feb XTERRA Philippines Championship
21-Feb XTERRA South Africa Championship
5-Mar XTERRA Motatapu
20-Mar XTERRA Costa Rica
26-Mar XTERRA Argentina
3-Apr XTERRA Malta
16-Apr XTERRA New Zealand Championship
17-Apr XTERRA La Reunion
23-Apr XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship
7-May XTERRA Malaysia / XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Championship
7-May XTERRA Brazil Championship
7-May XTERRA Greece
14-May XTERRA Tahiti
21-May XTERRA Oak Mountain
21-May XTERRA Portugal
11-Jun XTERRA Belgium
25-Jun XTERRA Switzerland Championship
25-Jun XTERRA Mine over Matter
3-Jul XTERRA France Championship
10-Jul XTERRA Victoria
16-Jul XTERRA Beaver Creek
23-Jul XTERRA Parry Sound
31-Jul XTERRA Dominican Republic
6-Aug XTERRA Mexico
7-Aug XTERRA Poland
13-Aug XTERRA Sweden
14-Aug XTERRA Canmore
20-Aug XTERRA Germany Championship – XTERRA European Championship
27-Aug XTERRA Sleeping Giant
27-Aug XTERRA Japan (Subject to Change)
3-Sep XTERRA Korea
4-Sep XTERRA Denmark
4-Sep XTERRA Quebec
11-Sep XTERRA Woolastook
17-Sep XTERRA USA / Pan Am Championship
23-Oct XTERRA World Championship
Josiah Middaugh

Top 10 Tales of 2015

The numbers all lined up in 2015.  It was XTERRA’s 20th year, Josiah Middaugh won his first XTERRA World Championship in 15 tries, Ruben Ruzafa had his 15-race win streak snapped, and Conrad Stoltz retired after 15 years in the sport.

Those are just a few of the biggest story lines from a sensational season of XTERRA racing around the world this year.  Here we give you our top 10 tails from the trails in 2015…

  1. Josiah

This year’s top story was 15 years in the making.

Flashback to 2000 when a 21-year-old Josiah Middaugh moved from Michigan to Colorado, bought a mountain bike at a pawn shop, side-stroked his way through his first XTERRA race in Keystone and thus embarked on his childhood dream “to be great at something.”

Of course Middaugh was great long before he won XTERRA Worlds. The sports nicest guy won the overall amateur XTERRA National Championship in 2002 then went on to win 11 national titles as an elite.  He also won snowshoe titles, USAT long course tri and winter tri titles, Mt. Taylor Quadrathlon and Ultimate Mountain Challenge titles, etc, etc…

Interestingly, when Middaugh won the 20-24 national championship as an amateur in ‘02 he was quoted as saying, “excited to go pro, not sure if I can keep up with those guys now but realistically I won’t hit my peak for another 10 years.”

He hit his first “peak” a lot sooner than that, as evidenced in his third-place finish at Worlds in 2004.

“Sure, I was close that year but the sport got faster as well,” said Middaugh. “Looking back, that third-place performance in ’04 probably would’ve landed me in about 15th place this year.”

Through the years Middaugh faced all kinds of adversity and injury, and he finished 2nd more times than he’d like to remember.

“It seems like I had all these failures but I never thought about it like that,” he said.   “All those stumbles just made me want to figure out how to do better.”

Indeed Middaugh got better, and he made a lot of other people better, and it was this attitude, his relentless smile and ever-humble demeanor that endeared him to the XTERRA Tribe. Never in the 20-year history of the sport had there been such an overwhelming ground swell of support for a single racer than there was for Middaugh heading into Worlds this year.

“It was palpable,” explained Dave Nicholas. “You could feel it in the air, everybody was cheering for Josiah this year.”

Despite all the perceived pressure Middaugh pulled it off, overcoming crashes on the bike and the run to make up nearly two minutes on the two-time defending champion Ruzafa to take the title.

“They believed in me, I believed in myself and I believed in all the training I’ve done and I felt like I could do it.”

And he did.

Relive the race / Josiah on ESPN / Josiah with Babbitt

Conrad Stoltz

  1. End of an Era

The Caveman called it a career in 2015.

He was quickly inducted into the XTERRA Hall of Fame and given a standing ovation by the worldwide XTERRA Tribe in appreciation of all he has done for the sport.

The reception he received at his final stop in England, where he nearly took down Ruzafa in his last race, and his ceremonial trip to Maui – where he led course recon rides for all who were interested and did the live race commentary for the web stream – was goose-bump worthy.

“XTERRA has been an integral part of my life,” said Stoltz. “We always talk about XTERRA being family, and it is. It really is.”

Stoltz collected an unprecedented 53 career championship wins and seven world titles (4 from XTERRA and 3 from ITU) in his illustrious 15-year career but as impressive as his credentials are, he is more beloved worldwide for his warm smile and welcoming demeanor than his fearless downhill skills.

Caveman in Cranleigh Videos (scroll down) / Hall of Fame video

“Last Call for the Caveman” Tribute / Retirement Video

Alas, we’d be remised to not mention a stable of XTERRA stars that “retired” from the sport this year with Stoltz, to include Craig Evans, Dan Hugo, Christine “Big Fish” Jeffrey, Shonny Vanlandingham, and Sara Schuler. We wish you all the best of luck in your future endeavors and trust you’ll live on forever in XTERRA lore…

  1. Euphoria in Europe

XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas took in just about every European Tour race this year, and was the driving force behind its rise in prominence through the years.  Here he looks back on what he calls the best season yet…

“This year saw the European Tour enjoy its biggest year since the start of the Tour in 2003. 12 Championship races starting in Malta in March and ending in England at the end of August.

The big story has to be the first time winners and young stars making their mark on the sport.  We had Nicolas Fernandez, Kris Coddens, Sam Osborne and Arthur Forissier win their first European Tour events for the men and Brigitta Poor broke through for her first win.  Along with new winners we had new venues – the Island of Malta held its first race and Spain moved its Championship to Pasencia.

Our new Men’s European Champion is the bearded Spanish star, Roger Selgado Serrano. Rogelio became the European Champion despite not having a win, but with a great series of podiums and never finishing lower than 3rd. Helena Erbenova had a superb year with 6 wins to capture another Women’s European Championship.

While the top spots in the tour standings showed familiar names, the young twenty-somethings are coming strong. Serrano, Forissier, Bradley Weiss, Tomas Kubek, Albert Soley, Henry Sleight, Arthur Serrieres and Yeray Luxem are all in their 20’s.   Brigitta Poor, Elizabetta Curridori, Sandra Koblemuller and Jessica Roberts are all in their 20’s.  From those facts it is clear our sport is healthy and attracting some very fast young stars. Don’t rule out the “elders”.  Ruzafa is only 31 with Ben Allen and Francois Carloni at 30.

Many of the races this season had great competition with furious action.  I marveled how Brad Weiss and Ben Allen rode and ran shoulder to shoulder the whole race to the final few hundred yards in Germany. Conrad Stoltz gave Ruben all he could handle in England and if it were not for a mud bog pulling his shoe off, Stoltz may very well have won his last race.  The women’s races were just as competitive. How many times did Helena have to run like the wind to take the lead?  What a fabulous run for Les Paterson to win England and Carina in Switzerland.

2015 will go down as truly a year that has to be considered a tour for the ages.  Beyond all the new winners, new places, and great competition was the fact we had a superb, if a bit hot, summer and very little rain to challenge the athletes. A great year for racing, a great year for weather.

2015 XTERRA World Tour Highlight Video

Soule of the Sport

  1. Soule of the Sport

The spirit of XTERRA shines brightest in the smile of Janet Soule.

The 15-year veteran of the sport was honored this year, along with her husband Cliff Millemann, as Mrs. and Mr. XTERRA for their unwavering commitment to the “Live More” lifestyle (watch the video).

Soule would be the first to tell you, however, that she’s not the only one that feels this way. The amateurs of XTERRA are the foundation of the sport. This year there were literally thousands of amazing examples of awesome amateurs, but we do have a few favorites…

Clark Griffith – We crack up every time we watch it. When the XTERRA TV crew was interviewing 72-year-old Clark Griffith from Tennessee before the USA Championship in Utah this year they asked him what his doctor thought about him racing XTERRA.

“I don’t see a doctor very much, and if I do I don’t tell ‘em because they seem to frown on that,” said Griffith. “My doctor died, and he was younger than me … my wife’s doctor told me 30 or 40 years ago that if I didn’t stop doing this my knees would give out. He’s dead too.”

Deanna McCurdy – The 41-year-old mother of two and founder for Team Miles for Smiles is proof positive that attitude is everything. Her 7-year-old daughter has a rare genetic disorder called Angelman Syndrome. She can’t speak, has balance and coordination issues, and suffers from seizures and sleep disorders. It does not limit Deanna or her family, rather it empowers them to impact others and show how a disease does not have to define your life (read her story and 40 others here).

Carl and Heather Horton – A dad-and-daughter story to inspire and celebrate. Carl was falling into a mid-life sedentary lifestyle before he turned it all around to embrace the healthy, active lifestyle. His daughter Heather grew up outside, running and biking and following her Dad in active motion.                                                             She’s now a rising star, but more importantly – a happy, healthy teenager.

Daryl Weaver – It was a perfect year for Daryl Weaver.  He won his division in all seven races he entered, won the overall amateur USA Triathlon Off-Road National Championship in Alabama, finished 8th overall behind only the top seven pros in Richmond, and won the 40-44 XTERRA National Championship in Utah. For his efforts he was named the ENVE Performer of the Year.

Steve Tarpinian – Steve Tarpinian, one of the true legends of triathlon, passed away this year at the age of 54. “Tarp” was an XTERRA original. In that first race in 1996 he was one of the fastest swimmers in the field and ultimately finished on the podium in the 35-39 division, placing 36th overall.

For more than a decade Steve was the only competitor from the continental U.S. to have competed in each XTERRA World Championship, as he made the long trip to Maui every year for 17 seasons in a row. He’ll forever be part of the XTERRA Tribe.

  1. Emma

Perhaps nobody has had as consistent a rise on the XTERRA scene as Emma Garrard. She just keeps getting faster and faster.

In 2010 she jumped into the top 10 at XTERRA Worlds for the first time.   In 2011 she was 8th. In 2012 she had her boy Torin.  In 2013 she was the top American in fifth. Last year she was fourth.  This year she was third behind only World Champs Lesley Paterson and Flora Duffy.

Last year Emma got the monkey off her back by winning her first major at XTERRA England. This year she won the XTERRA USA Championship and XTERRA U.S. Pro Series outright.

  1. Amazing Streaks

Ruben Ruzafa wrapped up his second straight perfect season in Europe when he won the XTERRA European Championship in August.

The Spaniard won a record and unprecedented 15 straight XTERRA majors since winning Worlds in October of 2013.  He also won his second-straight ITU Cross Tri World title this year, and was one win short of a tying Stoltz record of four XTERRA World Championships (which he vows to come back and get next year).

Meanwhile in the women’s elite ranks Flora Duffy established herself as the dominant force in off-road racing by defending her XTERRA World Title and having a perfect season.

She won all five XTERRA races she entered this year (not including ITU Cross Tri Worlds) and since the start of 2014 Duffy has captured 12 of the 13 championship events she raced.  Her lone blemish during the stretch was at the XTERRA Germany Championship, which doubled as ITU Cross Worlds last year.

This season she won the first two XTERRA World Tour races of the year in the Philippines and at her adopted second-home in South Africa, took the prestigious XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship title in Australia in April, and avenged some demons by winning the XTERRA Mountain Championship in Colorado this July (it was at that race in 2013 she finished 6th and vowed never to do another) then took the tape in Maui to defend her title.

Duffy also had her best year yet on the ITU World Triathlon Series with podium finishes in Abu Dhabi and Edmonton, and a seventh-place ranking in the final standings that has all but assured her spot on Bermuda’s Olympic triathlon team for the third time.

  1. Braveheart Part II

Lesley Paterson made the top 10 list last year for her bravery in fighting Lyme disease.

She trumped that this year by doing more of the same all while posting dominating performances on the XTERRA scene with wins at Costa Rica, Vegas, Cali, ‘Bama, and England. Her only blemish was a runner-up showing in Maui at the hands of Flora Duffy.

She broke her shoulder, then won XTERRA Costa Rica with one-arm, beat all the boys at XTERRA Laguna Beach then broke her wrist and hand mountain biking, but followed that with a win at the June Lake tri 11 days later.

Simply amazing, and she’s leading a tight-knit group of warriors to be their very best.

  1. Amateur Greatness

Julie Baker and Liz Gruber finished 4th and 5th overall females at the XTERRA USA Championship race, and then went 1-2 in the amateur women’s field at XTERRA Worlds showing that the future of American women’s elite racing is in good hands.

Likewise the young guns in the men’s amateur division are on the rise. A pair of collegiate triathletes – Cole Bunn and Greg Schott – finished first and third overall amateurs at the USA Championship. In Maui, however, the top amateur spots belonged to Europe. In fact, the first six age groupers across the line at XTERRA Worlds were European with Christophe Betard (France), Martin Kostelnicak (Slovakia), Martin Flinta (Sweden), Thomas Kerner (Germany), Geert Lauryssen (Belgium), and Charly Sibille (France).

  1. International Trails

XTERRA off-road triathlons have made consistent progress in developing an international base over the years, and now the trail running series is following in those footsteps.

This year’s XTERRA Trail Run World Championship was truly an international event, with fast runners from six different countries landing in the top 10, and in 2016 XTERRA trail fanatics will find races on nearly every continent, all offering truly unique ways in which to explore the world.

X20

  1. X20

2015 was an unabashed, year-long celebration for the sport of XTERRA.

From a one-off race held on the most remote island chain in the world XTERRA evolved into an endurance sports lifestyle with worldwide appeal.  Online photo galleries and videos from the past 20 years filled the Tribe with fun flashbacks and memories and in Maui, old friends came back to share stories about the early days.

Thanks for being part of the Tribe, and here’s to the next 20 years!

XTERRA Time Machine Video, from 2014 to 1996

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New Date for XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champs

The 2016 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race has been moved from April 2-3 to April 23-24.

The new date offers local athletes an extended holiday on the South Coast, as it is also Anzac Day long weekend.  For those racing XTERRA New Zealand in Rotorua on April 16, XTERRA will award “The Double” to the fastest combined elite and age group men and women at both events.

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship offers $50,000 AUD in prize money to elites, and features new family friendly beginner triathlons to those just getting into the sport.

Learn more at www.xterraasiapacific.com.