Thanksgiving Day Trail Race

The field is nearly at capacity for the race on November 26. It will feature three courses – a 15K, 10K and 5K. All three courses are open to runners of all ages and skill levels.

The race starts at 8 a.m., and the course closes at 11 a.m. so that everyone can make it home in time for a Thanksgiving meal, but not until you indulge in the race’s traditional hot egg breakfast with coffee and all the fixin’s. (It also features their famous XTERRA Beer Garden).

The runs are the third of eight races in the 2015-16 season for the XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Series. To learn more about it, please visit

Be sure to put this race on your calendar next year.

Fedhealth XTERRA Kids photo credit Volume Photography

Kids Take Center Stage in New XTERRA South Africa Series

The organizers of South Africa’s leading off-road triathlon, the Fedhealth XTERRA, are excited to introduce an XTERRA Kids event to both XTERRA Buffelspoort (North West Province) and XTERRA Nelson Mandela Bay (Eastern Cape).

“Introducing an XTERRA Kids event to Buffelspoort and Nelson Mandela Bay has been long overdue,” says Michael Meyer, Managing Director of Stillwater Sports. “Each year we are overwhelmed by the support that the XTERRA Kids receives in Grabouw. We have also received a number of requests from locals to host a kids event in Buffelspoort. We value the feedback and are very happy to announce that Buffelspoort, Nelson Mandela Bay and Grabouw will now follow the exact same event schedule, with the XTERRA Kids taking place on the Friday, XTERRA Full on the Saturday, XTERRA Lite and PUMA Trail Run on the Sunday. We are really excited by this change and look forward to welcoming families to all three events.”

Says Jeremy Yatt, Principal Officer of Fedhealth: “What made XTERRA really appeal to us, is the fact that it allows the whole family to be involved, whether in a team, in the kids events, or in the Lite and Full. Family values lie close to our hearts as a Scheme.”

Junior Warriors will be able to enter one of three age categories:  6-8 years (50m Swim, 1,5km Cycle, 1km Run),9-11 years (100m Swim, 5km Cycle, 2km Run) and 12-14 years (200m Swim, 10km Cycle, 3km Run).

All Fedhealth XTERRA Kids entrants can look forward to receiving a fun goodie bag, while medals will be awarded to all finishers.

Learn more at

Amateur World Champs

Amateur Women World Champs Spotlight

We caught up with a bunch of this year’s amateur division women’s XTERRA World Champions and asked them questions like when they took the lead, how their day unfolded, and what the win meant to them.  Here is what they had to say…

Wendy Minor, 70-74, from Kamuela, Hawaii

Wendy Minor is a record-setter.  She won her first XTERRA World Championship in 1997, just a year after the sport was born, and won her 8th World Title at the 20th edition of XTERRA Worlds earlier this month.  She’s the first woman to 8, and also the first woman to win a World Title in the newly minted 70-74 division.  When asked how important that was to her, she said…

“The most important part of my racing day was in finding out that Charlotte Mahan had made the bike cut-off. That was the first thing I asked when I crossed the finish line. It was so important to me that there were TWO of us breaking in the 70-74 age group for women. In my opinion we both came in first….to be able to complete this brutal race at our age is simply a WIN. That is why I shared my first place spot on the podium with Charlotte,” said Minor.

Indeed Charlotte did make the cut-off, and finished the race, a remarkably accomplishment for both.

“I trained hard for this race, as I do for all races, because I wanted to have my A game going. I love this course, and to be able to relax half-way thru’ the bike and just enjoy the ride was a plus for all the training I had done,” said Minor.  “My thought had been to call this one my last race, as this is really tough at my age, but I’ll be back next year since I had such a good time out on the course, and I love the XTERRA family. So, I’ll see you next year!”

Cindi Toepel, 60-64, from Littleton, Colorado

Cindi Toepel is a 64-year-old superstar.  This was her 12th time in Maui and the sixth time she won an XTERRA World Championship.  Her first title came in 2005, which started a string of three straight, then she won in 2011 and again last year.

This year she had the unenviable task of going head-to-head against Hawaii great Lorenn Walker who has raced in Maui 15 times and won five times.

“We’ve been racing together for years and we are friend, but she is tough!” said Toepel.

Walker had the better swim but Toepel reeled her in on the big bike climb just before Razor Ridge and never looked back.

“I dug deep at the start of the bike and just didn’t let up till the finish line!”

Cindi said this year’s XTERRA Warrior award winner – cancer survivor David Desantis – served as her raceday inspiration, “and he came into the finish line right in front of me!”

Toepel celebrated with a glass of champagne, talked about the funny comments she got from the men she passed out on the trail “when they see my age group” and wanted to thank all the “brilliant volunteers” who make it happen.

Carol Rasmussen, 50-54, from Karlslunde, Denmark

In her second Maui attempt Carol Rasmussen took home her second Maui title.

“I did the double in 2012, and that year had to be evacuated from the hotel because of the Tsunami warning.  I slept on the backseat of our rental car the night before XTERRA Worlds.  I was pretty shaken up, and so thankful that I still was able to finish first back in 2012.  That year I shared the top step with Benoit Lalevee, same as this year,” said Rasmussen.

A teacher by trade, Rasmussen had an incredible season in 2015, two times European Champion in the OL- distance triathlon, a win in Alpe D’ Huez Triathlon in the age group +40 category, winner of XTERRA Møns Klint and 6th place at XTERRA Tisvilde.

In Maui she took the lead a few miles into the bike and never looked back.

“We are used to riding a lot of switchbacks with roots in Denmark, and I am known to be a climber, so I loved the MTB course. I felt I was passing other triathletes left and right all the time, so I actually had fun on my full suspension bike. I had a big lead before going out on the run, which was a lot slower this year with 58min compared to 53 in 2012, but it was also a lot hotter this year. I wasn’t running fast, but still passing so many who had to walk in the heat. As the course went downhill I enjoyed running the trails and passing the obstacles on the way. I had a bigger lead this year with 16min to the runner-up and was so happy about my wonderful day in Maui.  I really love to be a part of the XTERRA family and enjoy spending time with athletes from all over the world with the same passion for the sport.”

Libby Harrow, 65-69, from Fruita, Colorado

Libby stared racing XTERRA in 2001 and has competed in the World Championship 13 times. On November 1 she caught Kathy Frank at about mile two of the bike to take the lead and held it through the finish to pick up her 2nd World Title.

“XTERRA is family to me, especially, since I don’t have my own. Every time I compete in a race, I see my friends, and meet new ones. The venues are beautiful and the races are very well organized.  It has been an amazing experience watching the series grow worldwide and of course my dream would be to travel the world and race XTERRAS everywhere along the way!”

Sharon McDowell-Larsen, 55-59, from Colorado Springs, CO

Sharon McDowell-Larsen talks the talk and walks the walk. In her role as a leadership development executive with a PhD in exercise physiology she educates 3 and 4-star generals and admirals on how to be fitter and eat better.

Her performance at XTERRA Worlds this year proves she practices what she preaches – not just with words, but with her actions.

While 2015 was just her second year racing XTERRA, Sharon seemed destined for the sport…

“Back in the day I, like 30 years ago, I was pretty serious about doing road triathlons.  Then I moved to Colorado and discovered mountain biking so I focused on that for about 10 years.  I was also dabbling in trail running and adventure racing off and on.  Then I think I watched the XTERRA World Champs on TV and thought it looked like fun so I got back in the pool (that was painful) and qualified for and went to Maui in 2012 and placed 2nd.  Then I took off a year from competing to support my husband and his bid to do the Leadville 100 run, then decided to give the LV100 run a try myself the next year but it didn’t go so well (broke an ankle and just didn’t come back from that in time for the run).  So this year I decided to get back into XTERRA which I really love as I enjoy training for three things.  Luckily I hadn’t completely stopped swimming, so that wasn’t nearly as painful to get back to.  I’ve really had a good season and am very pleased with my results.  I think doing well also adds to the enjoyment!”

XTERRA: When did you take the lead?

McDowell-Larsen: I knew as soon as I got out of the water as no other bikes were out yet.  I am a pretty strong swimmer and was pretty confident that I would be in the lead out of the water.  I figured I had about a two-minute gap, which turned out to be the case. 

Did you know who your main competition would be?

I knew of most of the American women and knew that, given a good race (i.e. no flat tires or mechanicals or physical breakdowns) that I could beat them.  There were a couple women from NZ and Australia that I wasn’t sure about. 

How cool was it to race against people from all over the world who were in your age group?

Very cool.  Given how hard it can be to qualify, you know that even if the field is small (as it was in my case) that you are still racing against some of the best in the world.  It was a real honor. 

Did you ever have to really dig deep?

During the run for sure.  The run is always my weakest leg.  I am a former pro mountain biker and a good swimmer, but even though I do hard training for the run, it is hard for me to not lose time on the run.  And this run was particularly hard.  I think the heat really got to me.  I was starting to feel light headed and a bit nauseous.  My brain was telling my legs to push harder, but the message wasn’t getting through. It was like my brain and body weren’t connected.   Mostly my brain was telling me to stop and curl up in the fetal position by the side of the trail. 

I instinctively knew that if anyone in my age group passed me, I probably wouldn’t be able to respond.  So I broke the run up into segments, make it to the lake, make it to the road, make it to the tunnel and finally make it to the beach.  I kept telling myself to just go on autopilot, just do what I’ve done in training and to relax and not stress about how bad I was feeling.  That helped.  I also didn’t know what my gap was so I was running scared.  As it turned out it was bigger than I thought, even though I did lose some time on the run.  I was happy to have won, but I feel like I didn’t do a run that I was capable of….  So I think I have some unfinished business and will have to come back.  Next time I will do more run heat training.  I didn’t expect the heat to affect me like it did.  Lesson learned.  Frankly, I prefer altitude to heat and humidity.

Who or what was your inspiration?

I had just read the book Iron War about the Mark Allen and Dave Scott duel in Kona 1989.  That was inspiring to me.  It, the book, also talks a lot about the brain and how important it is to push your limits both in training and competition.  I think I am mentally pretty strong, but not like those guys. 

How did you celebrate?

Hugged my hubby… he knew how badly I wanted this.  It actually took a while to sink in that I had won.  I felt nauseous and light headed for about 30-40 minutes so I was mostly trying to get over that.  But then I was just really, really happy!

Susi Pawel, 30-34, from Dresden, Germany

Susie Pawel is a 30-year-old galvanizer from Germany racing in just her 2nd XTERRA ever.  In her first XTERRA she won the 30-34 title in her home country to qualify for Maui, as did her husband Torsten.

“It was cool to race against people from all over the world,” exclaimed Pawel.  “In my age group were people from New Zealand, USA (Maryland, California, Alaska and Washington), Sweden, France, Spain, Belgium, Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Australia and Guam…very international!”

While Pawel took the lead on the bike, she didn’t know it.  “I didn’t know anybody in my division and wasn’t sure if I was ever in the lead.  The craziest thing was, I had such a good run and caught so many men.  It was very funny when I learned I won my age group!”

She celebrated with her husband at the awards dinner, woke up early to watch the sunrise atop Haleakala, and had a champion’s barbeque back home two weeks later with all their friends and family who helped them with the travel and support to Maui.


At-Large Registration for Maui Open Dec. 1

At-large age group entry for the 2016 XTERRA World Championship will open December 1, 2015 at 11am Hawaii Time (1pm PST, 4pm EST, 7pm Brazil, 9pm in London, 8am, Dec. 2 in Sydney, 6am Dec. 2 in Tokyo and 5am Dec. 2 in Manila).  *Adjust to your time zone accordingly.

The event will be held on Sunday, October 23, 2016 at Kapalua, Maui.

To enter the at-large pool interested amateur athletes must register and pay for the race.  Slots are offered on a first-come, first-served basis until all slots have been filled.

The limited number of slots sell-out in a matter of minutes.  If the At Large entry shows full, please list yourself on the free “Waiting List” option that will also be offered.

We look forward to seeing you on Maui.  Live More!

Kimber Mattox

Smyth, Mattox Return to Defend Titles

Patrick Smyth and Kimber Mattox will return to Hawaii to defend their titles at the 8th annual Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run World Championship half-marathon at Kualoa Ranch on December 6.

Since winning Worlds in his first-year racing off-road in 2013 Smyth has become arguably America’s best trail runner, having won two XTERRA National Championships, back-to-back U.S. Trail Half-Marathon Championships, and the last two XTERRA World Titles.

“I had no idea, it was total serendipity,” said Smyth, on being asked if he knew two years ago that trail running would become such a big part of his life.  “I was just trying to get excited about running again, so I decided to give the trails a go. It was a great decision in retrospect, as the sport has really renewed my love for running.”

It turned out to be great timing as well, with trail running becoming more and more mainstream.

“Trail running seems to be thriving,” exclaimed Smyth.  “I don’t have any hard metrics, but from my experience it seems participation numbers are on the upswing and more people are getting into the sport for the first time. From an elite perspective, there are more sponsorship and racing opportunities and the level of competition has never been better. There is great racing, great drama on a weekly basis and I think this has really helped push the sport forward.  And, the U.S. Mountain Running Team is garnering more and more support from sponsors, thanks to people like Nancy Hobbs and Richard Bolt, and seems to be gaining prominence amongst the general running populace.”

As for coming back to Hawaii, Smyth says he can’t wait.

“I’m healthy, fast, and injury free so I’ll be chasing the course record at Kualoa,” said Smyth.  “It’s a challenging course, but it plays to a lot of my strengths. I can push hard early and then just hold on when the brutal climb and technical descent come later in the race. It’s also stunningly beautiful which helps when I’m hurting bad in the later stages!”

While Smyth seems the clear-cut favorite, his U.S. Mountain Running teammate David Roche has yet to concede the win…

“The secret to beating Pat is to pull a Tonya Harding on his knees pre-race, or for him to go woefully off-course!” joked Roche, who finished 10-minutes behind Smyth in third last year at Kualoa.  “To be serious, Pat is nearly unbeatable at all distances–when he is on his game, his mix of speed and technical proficiency is unmatched. However, at the U.S. 50k Championships I ended up under a minute behind him so I’m hoping the trend of getting closer continues. And, Pat is a Nike teammate (plus an awesome guy), so it’s hard not to root for him, even if he makes me look like the Washington Generals to his Harlem Globetrotters.”

For Roche, who made Team USA at the World Long Distance Mountain Championships in Switzerland, won bronze at the U.S. Trail 50k Championships, and set the course record at the Leadville Heavy Half Marathon, his primary reason to return to Hawaii is the same as many others … the course.

“It’s the most beautiful, challenging course I’ve ever raced,” he said. “I hope to run XTERRA Worlds every single year just to experience such awe-inspiring (and life-affirming) ocean views, jungle sights, and epic trails.  Last year’s race was impossibly difficult in the best way. I’m more prepared for the heat this year (sauna!) and am relishing the chance to splash in the Hawaii mud one more time.”

Like Smyth, Roche said he sees a notable up-tick in trail running nationwide.

“U.S. trail running is exploding due to the efforts of organizations like XTERRA and companies like Nike,” said Roche.  “People are realizing that trail running distills everything that is fun and fulfilling about running without the boring stuff. XTERRA, Nike, and others have created an environment where people – both pros and age-groupers – can do what they love (adventure!) without suffering through what they hate (slogging!).”

Other men’s notables include XTERRA Lake Las Vegas 21K Champion, elite XTERRA triathlete, and U.S. Mountain Running team member JP Donovan and Costa Rican stand-out Ashur Youssefi-Dizagetakieh, who finished 9th at Worlds last year.

The women’s race features a super-compelling matchup between last year’s winner Kimber Mattox of Oregon against 2013 champion Polina Carlson of Hawaii.

Mattox, who placed 2nd in her first-ever trail race at XTERRA Nationals in 2014, has been on a role ever since.  She won the XTERRA and Warrior Dash World Championships, placed 6th (top American) to help TEAM USA win the silver medal at the World Mountain Running Championship, and last month captured the USATF Trail Half Championship in Bellingham, WA.

“I’m excited to come back to Hawaii for the XTERRA Trail Run Championships because this was one of my favorite races last year,” said Mattox, who helps coach track and cross country at the University of Oregon. “I know it will be a really tough race, but I love the varying terrain, the gorgeous sites, and the overall atmosphere of the event. I learned a lot and met some great people at this race last year, and I look forward to doing the same this year.”

Mattox said she’s also looking forward to getting ‘chased by dinosaurs’ … “I think my favorite part of the race are the sections where you’re running through the lush, jungley trees because for some reason I kept picturing that I was being chased by dinosaurs!”

Note: Kualoa Ranch is famous for being the setting for both the original Jurassic Park movie as well as the recent mega-hit, Jurassic World.

This year the mighty Dino chasing Mattox will likely come in the form of Polina Carlson.

The former Hawaii Pacific University cross country standout has turned into Hawaii’s fastest distance runner.  She was 5th in the 2013 Honolulu Marathon, 1st in last year’s Great Aloha Run and in December of 2014 ran under the “A” Olympic Marathon Trials Standard by placing 6th at the California International Marathon with a time of 2:35:41

“After winning XTERRA Worlds in 2013 I decided to focus on longer distances and had my training goals set on tackling the marathon,” said Carlson.  “I can definitely say that the marathon is my favorite distance. It’s the perfect challenge for me, a race requiring both speed and endurance. Also, there is no better feeling when crossing the finish line, but, I do miss the trails!  I was extremely happy to get off road and run the 2015 XTERRA Gunstock 21K. Sometimes when I get tired of the road, I feel like running trails because it always brings me a new passion for running. I like both, and I like mixing it up.”

Other female contenders include Hawaii’s own Lauren Ho – who has placed 7th at Worlds in each of the last two years, XTERRA Lake Las Vegas 21K Champ Julie Byran, and a pair of future superstars; 12-year-olds Kasuga Watabe from Japan (who finished 8th last year) and 11-year-old Alayna Szuch, a 6th grader at Evergreen Elementary School in Colorado who most recently finished 2nd overall woman at the XTERRA Trail Running National Championships half-marathon in Utah.

Of course with registration for the race still open, there’s just no telling who might join this super-fast field.  Learn more at



Tales from the Trails: The Top 3 Amateur Women

We caught up with some of this year’s amateur division XTERRA World Champions and asked them a bunch of questions like when they took the lead, how their day unfolded, and what the win meant to them. Here’s what the top three amateur women had to say (and we’ll get deeper into the field in the weeks to come…)

Julie Baker, 35-39 and Overall Amateur Champ, from Sonora, California

Julie is a 38-year-old soil scientist currently working on mapping soils at Sequoia and Kings Canyon Nationals Parks who was racing in Maui for the first time.

“I’ve been racing XTERRA pretty consistently since 2012, except for last year (2014) when I was injured,” said Baker. “I think my introduction to XTERRA though was back in the day (2003) when a friend and I decided we wanted to try triathlon and did a sprint race at Half Moon Bay.”

She came into Maui off a remarkable performance at the XTERRA USA Championship where she finished 5th overall and top amateur, but wasn’t sure what she could expect against an all-star cast of competitors from around the world…

XTERRA: Did you know who your main competition would be?  Had you beaten them before or had they beaten you?

Baker: I didn’t really know much about my age group, especially women from other countries, but I was expecting to have a close race with Liz Gruber.  We finished 1-2 at a couple races this year, and she was right behind me at the USA champs at Snowbasin, and the previous time I raced there, in 2013, she passed me on the run to win.  She is a great runner and I kept expecting her to overtake me, but once I started downhill on the run I thought I could probably hang on.

When did you take the lead?

I think just a little way into the bike, I came around a corner and saw a girl sprawled out in the woods, picking herself back up.  I thought I was still chasing another, because someone said I was third out of the water, but by the time I got to the first climb people were saying I was in the lead, so I must have passed the other girl in transition.

How cool was it to race against people from all over the world who were in your age group?

It was amazing how far people come to do this race, and how psyched everyone was to be there!  It was also awesome and humbling to race on the same course with such great elite athletes.

Did the calm waves help you or help your competition?

Probably better for the competition.  Anything that makes the swim tougher, longer, harder is probably in my favor.

When did you have to really dig deep?

I think the whole course was very challenging, whether it was steep climbs that took their toll physically, or the twisty downhills and obstacles which required mental focus, to the hot conditions which needed planning and preparation to stay hydrated and healthy.  Great job to everyone who came out to race and push themselves and see what they can accomplish!

Anything you’d like to add?

Big thanks to all the volunteers, at this race and every race throughout the season.  Thanks for keeping us safe, pointing us in the right direction, keeping us hydrated, and seeing to all the countless details so we can get out on the trails and see what we’re made of.

Thanks to my mom and Brad for being so supportive and coming out to this race with me, and to all my friends at home who believed I could do it, and to Mike, Tim, and the gang in Sonora who pushed and encouraged me every workout.

Liz Gruber, 25-29, from Colorado Springs (Pictured Above)

Liz won Worlds for the third time this year and was also part of the notorious Ninja Turtles gang, which finished runner-up to some swim instructors from Sweden at the Halloween Costume Party.

She’s a 26-year-old nurse in the Pediatric ICU who started racing XTERRA in 2012 and has won in Maui every chance she’s had (skipped 2014 for nursing school).

XTERRA: Liz, when did you take the lead?

Gruber: I’m not sure where I took the lead for my age group; I wasn’t looking that closely for numbers on calves.  Plus it’s pretty hard to read them when you’re whipping around on the bike course!  A friend said I was 7th overall woman early on in the bike and when I came to the mud pit section on the course I jumped off and ran cyclocross-style through it.  I passed about 4 women in that short section so I believe I took the age group lead then and third overall. I ran one more woman down in the 1st mile of the run to place 2nd overall amateur woman.

Did you know who your main competition would be?

I knew that Julie Baker from California was going to be one of my main competitors; she beat me by less than a minute at the U.S. Championship and I knew she was going to bring her best to Maui.  Being the World Champs, I knew there would also be a lot of other wicked fast women out there from other countries I hadn’t competed against yet.  Last year, the top 3 overall amateur women were all in my age group, 25-29, and non-American, so I figured I’d have to get top 2 overall and really bring my A-game to hope to win my age group!

How cool was it to race against people from all over the world who were in your age group?

This is one of the biggest reasons I love to race XTERRA World Champs so much!  I made a couple amazing new friends and we are already scheming plans for epic mountain bike and adventure trips in Canada, New Zealand, the U.S., and more!

Did the calm waves help you or help your competition?

Living in Colorado Springs, I have been able to live and train at 6000+ft, so swimming at sea level with its bountiful, sweet sweet oxygen felt great!  The calm waves didn’t help or hinder me, however. I came out of the water about the same distance back from my competitors as I did at U.S. Nationals.

When did you have to really dig deep?

The bike at Worlds is just plain punishing; scorching heat, relentless hills, and a single track battlefield.  I knew that this race is often won and lost on the bike, so I definitely dug deep out there to try to stay focused, eat and drink as much as possible, and not get too dazed in the heat and humidity.

Who or what was your inspiration?

I truly love the sport, the people, and adventuring in the outdoors.  When times got hard and strained this year I would reach out to my amazing training buddies and best friends, and they would always be so incredibly encouraging and continue to believe in me.  One of my closest friends and XTERRA pro, Kara Lapoint, is one of my main supports and a huge inspiration to me this year.  She battled through breaking and having surgery on her hand, a torn ligament, sickness, crazy life/work stuff, and so much more to come out and crush it at Worlds and place in the top 5 for the U.S Pro Series!  I’m so proud of her and feel beyond pumped for next year and another great season of racing!

Craziest, weirdest, funniest thing that happened on race day?

Coming straight out of accelerated nursing school to Worlds, I’ve been pretty short on cash, so I actually slept on a friend of a friend of a friend’s couch during my trip at Worlds.  It was great because it was free housing with a great host, but less ideal because they didn’t have air conditioning.  It got hotter every night leading up to race day, and after sweating all night two nights before the race, I knew I couldn’t go into race day dehydrated.  I ended up having a place to stay that was air conditioned the night before the race, but it made for an exciting day before the race!

How did you celebrate?

Man, did we have a great time celebrating!  Not only was I celebrating the World Champ win, I was also celebrating finishing nursing school, passing my nursing state boards, and scoring my dream job as a Pediatric ICU nurse!  My closest XTERRA friends and I lived it up at the banquet dinner, dressed like crazy-awesome Ninja Turtles for the Halloween party, won 2nd place at the costume contest to win a 6ft long board, and danced our hearts out.  I was also able to stay a few extra days after the race in Hawaii and loved swimming with the sea turtles in the awesome waves, cliff jumping, and exploring Maui and Lanai with amazing friends and family.

Are you planning on coming back to defend your crown next year?

I am planning on racing Worlds next year and will be looking to cat-up to pro.  This race is one of the most epic races in the world and I wouldn’t want to miss it for anything!

Anything else??

It has been so exciting and motivating to be able to race the XTERRA American Tour over the last few years.  Since I’ve moved three times into three different XTERRA regions, I’ve been able to race my heart out over a wide variety of regional courses and terrain; from racing with swarms of stinging jellyfish in the Puget sound, to riding high above Sapphire-blue Lake Tahoe on the Flume Trail, to climbing and descending through jacked rock and aspen-painted hillsides in the Rocky Mountains.  What a great way to explore the amazing trails and countryside of the U.S.!  Keep it up, XTERRA!  You continue to inspire! 

Mimi Stockton, 40-44, from Stevensville, Michigan

Mimi is a 43-year-old stay at home mom and personal trainer that teaches all kinds of classes at a small fitness boutique called Maddog Revolutionary Fitness in her hometown.  She’s been racing XTERRA for six years now, it was her fifth try in Maui and she picked up her third World Title.

XTERRA: When did you take the lead?

Stockton: It wasn’t until I was halfway through the bike that I knew I was having the race of my life. A couple of people said, “There are only two in front of you.” I knew one of the two was Liz Gruber (who is much younger than me) but I didn’t know who the other one was, so I figured if I kept up my pace and didn’t crash, I had a chance of either coming in 1st or 2nd in my age group. I ended up passing Liz on the bike and came into T2 in second place overall. Never in my life have I come into T2 and seen no bikes on my rack!!! I was very pumped (but tired!). 

Did you know who you’re competition would be?

Yes, I knew who I thought were going to be my top 5 competitors. One of course was Kelli Montgomery, the world champ from last year, and the other three were Americans who did really well at Nationals. The last one was a woman from France (who ended up coming in 3rd in my age group this year) who beat me at the ITU Cross World championship race in Sardinia in September. I wasn’t thrilled with my results in Italy and so I felt I had a lot to prove in Maui.  But I also felt to a certain extent that I was the one to beat, I was the one with the target on my back that everybody would be chasing. I like being in that position, because it motivates me like nothing else and keeps the fire burning inside me. 

What’s it like to race against all the international competitors?

Since I typically only race in the USA (this year being the exception when I raced in Italy), it’s always special to race against people from all over the world.  For the most part, I know my competition in the US, but there are so many competitors from all over the world who are wild cards.  They definitely add an element of surprise to the race!  And of course, there’s nothing quite like meeting athletes who are just like you that live half way around the world.  

When did you have to really dig deep?

Around mile 3 of the run, just before the majority of the climbing ended, I thought I was going to lose it.  I pushed really hard (too hard) the first couple of miles and I started hallucinating and seeing things in the woods that obviously weren’t there (like bears).  I walked for a bit, grabbed a bit of water and then tried to calm down before running again.  Just those 30 seconds helped me tremendously and I was back on my way (thankfully down hill!).  I swear though, Big Foot was behind one of those trees.  I’d bet my life on it.  

What was your inspiration?

I find inspiration in all kinds of things and people.  I guess I’ve always simply taken for granted that my mind is overwhelmed with ideas, questions, possibilities and at times seemingly absurd dreams incessantly.  When I look outside, I am overtaken by the majesty of everything that I see around me. Life is about so much more than just me.  The beautiful landscape that is Maui is inspiring; the athletes from all walks of life and with all kinds of stories to tell are inspiring; the notion that my kids look up to me is inspiring.  I dream big and I go for it today, because nobody is promised tomorrow. 

Weirdest thing that happened on race day?

Definitely seeing Big Foot lurking behind the tree.  

How did you celebrate?

I went for a celebratory run of course…a run to the market to get some Kona Brewing Big Wave Ale.  And I gave myself the day off after the race.  Ha!

What’s your favorite quote?

By Mae West, “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”


Put Your Name on It!

Enter the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship 21km or the XTERRA Kualoa 5/10km trail runs by Friday, November 20 and you’ll score a personalized race bib. It’ll be a great souvenir of your adventure!  See you there!


When: Sunday, December 6, 2015 @ 9 a.m.
Where:Kaaawa Valley, Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, HI
What: 8th annual XTERRA Trail Run World Championship half-marathon, plus 5km and 10km trail runs, an adventure walk, and free kids runs.
2,000 runners from 20 countries and 40 U.S. States of all ages and skill levels from around the world.
Why: The last race in the 100-stop worldwide XTERRA Trail Run Series to determine the best-of-the-best.  Elite runners race for $10,000 in prize money, and each age division 15-19, 20-24, etc…crowns World Championship titles.
Visuals:  The race will be filmed and edited into a segment for a 2016 XTERRA Adventures TV show that will be seen by millions of viewers across the country.
Highlight Video:

Visit for more information.

Kualoa Arrow

Another Hawaiian-Style XTERRA on Horizon

Since January, thousands of runners have taken part in the worldwide Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run Series and through the trials of these 100+ races some of the world’s top trail runners have emerged and are headed to Oahu to race in the Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in one-month from now on December 6, 2015.

The main event is an adventurous half-marathon (13.1-mile/21km) that starts at the base of Kaaawa Valley at Kualoa Ranch.

Established in 1850, Kualoa Ranch is a family owned and operated 4,000 acre working cattle ranch, spread from the steep mountain cliffs to the sparkling sea on the northeastern side of Oahu in the Hawaiian countryside.

The ranch terrain varies from dense rain-forest to broad open valleys and from beautiful white sand beaches to awesome verdant cliff faces. It is truly a paradise for outdoor recreation with many places accessible only by horseback, on an all terrain vehicle or by hiking.

There are two major areas of the ranch: the northern half of the ranch including Ka’a’awa Valley which contains most of the movie locations sites, and the southern half that includes Hakipu`u Valley, the 800 year-old Moli’i fishpond, and Secret Island.

If the ranch’s views look  familiar, that’s because Kualoa Ranch has been the site of many television shows and Hollywood films such as Jurassic park, Windtalkers, Pearl Harbor, Godzilla, Tears of the Sun and 50 First Dates. TV shows include  Hawaii Five-O, Magnun P.I. and the hit show LOST.

Kualoa Ranch will be further exposed by the race itself, which is being filmed and edited into a segment for a 2016 XTERRA Adventures TV series that will be seen by millions of viewers across the country via national syndication starting in May and online at XTERRA.TV.

Watch last year’s Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run World Championship highlight video here:


One Man’s Race

In the coming weeks we’ll share the stories of how all the amateur world champions won their divisions in Maui.  This week, we wanted to share one man’s story of his race day, No. 674 – Matt Kaplan – in his own words…

“XTERRA Worlds is something I’ve kicked around for many years and am glad that I finally got the opportunity to dedicate the training time to come to the race well prepared.  It was a really incredible experience to be there and feel that I’m a part of the XTERRA family.

I finished the race but it certainly wasn’t the way I’d imagined.  Unfortunately, my body didn’t cooperate as I’d hoped and I tore my calf muscle in my right leg, only three miles into the bike ride.

It was on a slippery slope where multiple cyclists unclipped and began walking up the hill.  I did the same, and as I mounted a cyclist trying to stay on their bike rode through. I gave them a little push to keep them upright and get through the crowd.  As I did that, I pushed off my back foot (downhill foot), slipped on the mud and the sudden flexing and slipping caused a painful “pop” deep inside my calf muscle that was followed by searing pain.  Although my good karma of helping a fellow racer was well received, I knew something was quite wrong, but also thankfully knew it wasn’t my achilles.

I pulled off the course, and hobbled back to the aid station just 20 yards downhill at the junction of the upper and lower bike course where I spoke with Nicole and I think Chris (the big wave surfer who oversees the course layout).  They were awesome and were ready to support me in whatever I needed.  Nicole gave me some Advil and I talked through some options with Chris.  I really couldn’t stomach the idea of heading down the mountain and calling it a day.  This event has been a bucket list item for me for so many years and after over three months of training, dedicating the time and circling this event as “the one” … a DNF was not going to be an option.

I realized that if I kept my foot in a “tippie toe” position, always staying on the ball of my foot, I just had minimal pain.  So, I hopped back on the bike, made sure to only use the ball of my foot for the down stroke of my pedals, and then on the run I became a hobbling forefoot runner to avoid the injury and the pain.

My time was about 90 mins slower than I’d hoped for, but hell, this is XTERRA and I gutted it out and got it done!!! Plus, I’ve got a pretty badass story to tell about my adventure.

I now can proudly call myself an XTERRA World Championship FINISHER and am honored to display my finisher’s badge!

I’ve already spoken with one friend who is an orthopedic surgeon and another who is a physical therapist, both of whom assure me that the torn gastrocnemius muscle in my calf will completely mend and be back to normal strength and flexibility in the a few weeks.

Thank you again for the incredible opportunity and amazing experience!  It is one that I will always cherish and remember.  I just may need to come back some year and try to get it done at full strength. :)