Luxem, Poor win XTERRA Cyprus

Paphos, Cyprus – Yeray Luxem from Belgium and Brigitta Poor from Hungary captured the inaugural XTERRA Cyprus off-road triathlon, which turned into a duathlon, on Sunday, April 23, 2017.

It’s the second career XTERRA major win for Luxem, who won his first at XTERRA Poland last year, and the second win this season for Poor, the reigning XTERRA European Tour Champ, who also won the opener at XTERRA Malta earlier this month.

XTERRA World Tour managing director “Kahuna Dave” Nicholas was on-site to take in all the action and brings us this report…

Complete Results / Pictures

The weathermen were right.  They called for high winds and big waves and that was what we were served for breakfast this morning.  Why is it when you plan an outing because the weather is supposed to be good – it rains?

So, the first XTERRA Cyprus became a duathlon.  Not only were the waves high and the shore chop brutal, but the undercurrents were super strong.  The wave action was so severe there was no way we could keep our swimmers safe as navigating in white water was impossible.  We had to change the run as well because the waves were pounding the white cliffs we originally came down through.

XTERRA European Tour director Nico Lebrun and the crew found a passage just down the beach that connected with a more inland path and that became the final kilometer of each lap of the run.

Regardless of all these chaotic challenges, race director Sgt. Ferguson called the troops to order and we started with only a few minutes delay.  The run was one lap of our course and it was led by Belgium’s Yeray Luxem followed closely by Oivind Bjerkseth.  Who, you say?  This is a super young man from Norway whose sport is mountain biking.  He watched XTERRA Maui live on the web and said, “That is for me.”

Norwegians are not noted for being swimmers and Oivind had his first open water swim just last November.  You can see from the Malta results he had the 7th fastest bike and a swim that was 10 minutes slower than the winners.  He was a very happy man to hear he would not have to face those ferocious waves today.

Francois Carloni had a good first run and took off quickly after Luxem.  Today was not the Frenchman’s day, however, “I felt strong after the first run, got on my bike and went out quick but then my legs said no,” he explained.  He did pass Oivind quickly on the bike but soon faded.  Carloni only arrived the day before and while France is not a long way – the travel may have contributed to his lack of power.

Thomas Kerner was quickly in 4th followed by his German buddies Sebastian Neef, Hannes Wolpert and Stephan Radeck.  Julien Buffe is a strong swimmer and as such, he was not happy about the duathlon, however, he came out swinging and rode an excellent race.

The best story of the day involves our winner, Yeray Luxem.  At the pre-race briefing, one slide showed a herd of sheep grazing on one of the trails of the bike course.  The director said quickly, “They will be gone on race day.”  Luxem was riding hard trying to drop his chasers and had to slow to a crawl.

“The sheep were there in the same place as the photo, exactly the same,” laughed Luxem.  His speed had the sheep running and bleating and cleared the way for the rest of the bunch.

For the women, Brigitta Poor was simply too strong today.  It looked as if Morgane Riou would be a contender as she is not a swimmer but runs very quickly, however, Brigitta simply took off at the start and never looked back.  Riou was riding well but suffered a flat that became hard to fix and lost considerable time.  She kept at it and ran an equal final 10K to Poor but was far back because of the bike.  Sweden’s Cecilia Jessen was alone in 3rd with our bubbly Brit Daz Parker a fine 4th outrunning Marika Wagner.

At the end of the first lap we could see two riders together in the lead.  We thought it must be Carloni and Luxem but no; it was the upstart Norwegian Bjerkseth.

“I tried to pass him on the downhills but could not do it and he pulled away from me on the climbs.  These guys do a fast pace,” smiled Bjerkseth.

Luxem got passed on one downhill and said “Oh, here comes Carloni,” and looked over and saw it was not.  “It was Oivind,” he said.  “He would look at me and when I took a drink he would push hard.”

Thomas Kerner had trained hard in the off season and was easily in 4th but pushing hard as Buffe was less than one-minute behind.  On the last climb before T2 Luxem pedaled hard and created a gap between Bjerkseth.  He used his transition skills to gain another seven-seconds on the inexperienced Oivind.

“I was feeling very strong and I know I am a fast runner but I did not know what he could do so I went out at a good pace,” said Luxem.

“I tried to follow him as best I could but after the first lap I knew I could not catch him,” said Bjerkseth.

Carloni came out of T2 in 3rd but was passed first by Kerner, then Buffe, and finally Neef to finish 6th.

Pos Name, NAT Time Points Run1 Bike Run2
1 Yeray Luxem, BEL 2:32:14 75 00:17:14 01:36:11 00:37:56
2 Oivind Bjerkseth, NOR 2:35:15 67 00:17:18 01:36:30 00:40:09
3 Thomas Kerner, GER 2:42:04 61 00:17:20 01:45:18 00:38:36
4 Julien Buffe, FRA 2:44:16 56 00:18:40 01:45:04 00:39:46
5 Sebastian Neef, GER 2:45:10 51 00:23:37 01:40:19 00:40:24
6 Francois Carloni, FRA 2:46:08 47 00:17:32 01:43:28 00:44:15
7 Hannes Wolpert, BEL 2:46:22 43 00:18:26 01:44:54 00:42:10
8 Stephan Radeck, GER 2:47:46 39 00:18:11 01:48:32 00:40:10
Pos Name, NAT Time Points Run1 Bike Run2
1 Brigitta Poor, HUN 3:02:54 75 00:19:58 01:57:59 00:43:56
2 Morgane Riou, FRA 3:13:19 67 00:20:22 02:08:16 00:43:36
3 Cecila Jessen, SWE 3:23:15 61 00:21:39 02:12:33 00:47:31
4 Daz Parker, GBR 3:33:34 56 00:22:04 02:20:36 00:49:25
5 Marika Wagner, SWE 3:38:48 51 00:23:43 02:19:25 00:54:23

While a bit different than planned, XTERRA Cyprus came off fine.  The organizers did a great job; things happened on time, there was good information about the changes and our athletes enjoyed themselves.

“I’ve been to many XTERRA’s all over the world and these guys did a great job, especially for a first-time event,” said Canadian age group standout Chuck Fortier.  “The awards were wonderful handmade dishes and the booming voice of Race Director Sgt Neal Ferguson needed no microphone for the presentation.”

I have to think that once the world has seen the photos and read the reports and talked to their friends that Cyprus will triple in size for next year.  Think about it.  Take 10 days and do a fabulous Mediterranean Holiday in Cyprus and Greece and do it with your XTERRA family.

XTERRA European Tour Elite Standings

Francois Carloni and Brigitta Poor hold the early lead in the XTERRA European Tour standings after the first two of 15 events in this year’s tour.  Up next: XTERRA Greece next Sunday!

2017 XTERRA EUROPEAN TOUR PRO POINTS STANDINGS
After 2 – 4.23

Men S S
Pl Name, NAT TOTAL MLT CYP
1 Francois Carloni, FRA 108 61 47
2 Oivind Bjerkseth, NOR 100 33 67
3 Roger Serrano, ESP 75 75 DNS
4 Yeray Luxem, BEL 75 DNS 75
5 Maximilian Sasserath, GER 67 67 DNS
6 Stephan Radeck, GER 64 25 39
7 Thomas Kerner, GER 61 DNS 61
8 Jan Pyott, SUI 56 56 DNS
9 Julien Buffe, FRA 56 DNS 56
10 Jörg Scheiderbauer, GER 51 51 DNS
11 Sebastian Neef, GER 51 DNS 51
12 Tomas Kubek, SVK 47 47 DNS
13 Mark Hamersma, NED 43 43 DNS
14 Hannes Wolpert, BEL 43 DNS 43
15 Jim Thijs, BEL 39 39 DNS
16 Geert Lauryssen, BEL 36 36 DNS
17 Maxim Chane, FRA 30 30 DNS
18 Doug Hall, GBR 27 27 DNS
19 Callum Hughes, GBR 23 23 DNS
WM S S
Pl Name, NAT TOTAL MLT CYP
1 Brigitta Poor, HUN 150 75 75
2 Cecila Jessen, SWE 100 39 61
3 Helena Erbenova, CZE 67 67 DNS
4 Morgane Riou, FRA 67 DNS 67
5 Nicole Walkers, GBR 61 61 DNS
6 Maud Golsteyn, NED 56 56 DNS
7 Daz Parker, GBR 56 DNS 56
8 Carina Wasle, AUT 51 51 DNS
9 Marika Wagner, SWE 51 DNS 51
10 Kristina Lapinova, SLK 47 47 DNS
11 Louise Fox, GRB 43 43 DNS
12 Anna Pauline Sasserath, GER 36 36 DNS
13 Kathrin Mueller, GER 33 33 DNS
14 Marta Menditto, ITA 30 30 DNS

2017 XTERRA World Championship Qualifying Series Schedule

XTERRA Cyprus was the 12th of 41 events where amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 22nd annual XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 29.

Date Race Elite Winners or Location
Feb 25 XTERRA South Africa Richard Murray / Flora Duffy
Mar 4 XTERRA Motatapu Dougal Allan / Josie Wilcox
Mar 18 XTERRA Saipan + Silver Sam Osborne / Carina Wasle
Mar 25 XTERRA Argentina # Silver Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder
Apr 1 XTERRA Thailand + Silver Kieran McPherson / Renata Bucher
Apr 1 XTERRA Chile # Silver Felipe Barraza / Barbara Riveros
Apr 2 XTERRA Malta * Silver Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor
Apr 8 XTERRA New Zealand + Silver Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen
Apr 9 XTERRA Costa Rica # Silver Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder
Apr 16 XTERRA La Reunion Ruben Ruzafa / Carina Wasle
Apr 23 XTERRA Danao + GOLD Bradley Weiss / Carina Wasle
Apr 23 XTERRA Cyprus * Silver Yeray Luxem / Brigitta Poor
Apr 29 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship / Malaysia + GOLD Langkawi, Malaysia
Apr 30 XTERRA Greece * Silver Vouliagmeni
May 6 XTERRA Tahiti + Silver Moorea
May 14 XTERRA Spain * Silver Taragonna
May 14 XTERRA Brazil # Silver Ilha Bella, Sao Paolo
May 20 XTERRA Oak Mountain # GOLD Pelham, AL, USA
May 27 XTERRA Portugal * Silver Golega
Jun 10 XTERRA Belgium * Silver Namur
Jun 17 XTERRA Mine over Matter ^ Milton, Ontario, Canada
Jun 18 XTERRA Finland * Silver Imatra
Jun 24 XTERRA Switzerland * GOLD Vallee de Joux
Jul 2 XTERRA France * GOLD Xonrupt
Jul 9 XTERRA Victoria # Silver Victoria, B.C., Canada
Jul 15 XTERRA Beaver Creek # GOLD Beaver Creek, CO, USA
Jul 30 XTERRA Abruzzo * Silver Scanno, Abruzzo, Italy
Aug 5 XTERRA Mexico # GOLD Tapalpa
Aug 5 XTERRA Norway * Silver Norefjell
Aug 6 XTERRA Canmore ^ Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Aug 12 XTERRA Quebec ^ Quebec City, Canada
Aug 12 XTERRA Parry Sound ^ Ontario, Canada
Aug 13 XTERRA Dominican Republic # Silver Barahona
Aug 13 XTERRA Poland * Silver Krakow
Aug 19 XTERRA Germany * GOLD Zittau
Aug 26 XTERRA Sweden * Silver Hammarbybacken, Stockholm
Aug 26 XTERRA Sleeping Giant ^ Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
Sep 2 XTERRA Japan + Silver Hokkaido
Sep 3 XTERRA European Championship / Denmark * GOLD Mons Klint
Sep 16 XTERRA Pan American Championship / USA # D-GOLD Ogden, Utah, USA
Oct 29 XTERRA World Championship Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

* XTERRA European Tour / # XTERRA Pan American Tour / + Asia-Pacific Tour

Silver = Min. $7,500 pro purse & 75-point scale // GOLD = Min $15,000 pro purse & 100-point scale

Weiss, Wasle win XTERRA Danao

Danao, Cebu, Philippines – Bradley Weiss from South Africa and Carina Wasle from Austria captured the 7th annual XTERRA Philippines Championship elite race titles on a brutally long, hot day in Danao on Sunday, April 23, 2017.

It’s the third straight XTERRA Philippines title for Weiss and the third win this season for Wasle, who now has 16 majors in her career.

“Brutally hot race and probably the longest, hottest, and hardest race ever in my six years of racing XTERRA,” said Weiss.  “Very stoked to come out on top and winning my third race in a row here in the Philippines is the cherry on top for sure.”

As for Wasle, who won at XTERRA Saipan in March and XTERRA Reunion just last weekend, it’s amazing she was able to finish this grueling race having just broken her toe less than a week ago while entering the swim at Reunion.

“I knew I was in good shape, but I didn’t know if my toe would stop me from having a good run,” said Wasle.  “Turned out okay and it was the perfect race for me today.  I couldn’t be happier.”

Complete Results / Pictures

In the men’s race the reigning XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Champion Ben Allen was first out of the water, with Sam Osborne following steps behind into transition. Weiss was about one-minute back, followed by Kieran McPherson another minute behind, then Olly Shaw in fifth.

“I had a pretty solid swim, lost about a minute to Ben and Sam,” said Weiss.  “I closed the gap about 7km into the bike and didn’t really lose it from there. Sam pushed me hard but I got a gap at the start of the second 20km loop and opened it from there.”

As proof of how difficult the new Danao bike course was (40kms with 1,500-meters of elevation gain in searing heat and humidity) Weiss was the only racer all day to break the two-hour mark for the bike portion.  His bike split of 1:59:40 was more than six-minutes better than Osborne’s.

“Had 6mins off the bike and just survived the run, really, to make it to the finish line,” said Weiss.  “It was the most challenging bike course and I do enjoy the challenge, and I love mountain biking so I won the race through the mountain biking leg.”

Osborne, who won XTERRA New Zealand last weekend on a much cooler day in his hometown of Rotorua, said it was one of the hottest and hardest courses he’s ever done and was quick to praise Weiss on his effort, “Well done to Bradley, he was super strong today,” said Osborne.

Kieran McPherson finished third, followed by Ben Allen, who had several mechanicals on the bike, and former “Mr. XTERRA” award-winner Will Kelsay in 5th.

In the women’s race, it was Jessica Koltz was first out of the water (6th overall), followed 20-seconds later by Jacqui Allen then Wasle and Penny Slater two minutes behind.

Wasle took over on the bike, posting the fastest split by more than 13-minutes to Allen, and had the fastest run as well to take the tape in 4:07:49.

“I still don’t like the heat and humidity, but it’s the same for everyone,” said Wasle.  “What I really do enjoy is traveling a lot to new places, seeing the different cultures, and making friends.  I love racing too, it’s always a new challenge and that motivates me to do it all over again.  Here in Cebu everything is perfect. Princess and the Sunrise Events team take care of us and we have quite a lot of fun beside the training.”

Jacqui Allen looked to be comfortably in second-place following the bike leg but suffered from dehydration and had to pull out.  That left her pupil, Penny Slater in her rookie year as an elite, to take second-place followed by the American Jessica Koltz.

XTERRA Danao Elite Results

Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Bradley Weiss, RSA 3:16:00 100
2 Sam Osborne, NZL 3:23:33 90
3 Kieran McPherson, NZL 3:34:27 82
4 Ben Allen, AUS 3:44:26 75
5 Will Kelsay, USA 3:50:48 69
6 Joe Miller, PHI 3:52:04 63
7 Olly Shaw, NZL 3:53:43 58
8 Taylor Charlton, AUS 4:13:44 53
9 Alex Roberts, NZL 4:24:04 49
Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Carina Wasle, AUT 4:07:49 100
2 Penny Slater, AUS 4:36:21 90
3 Jessica Koltz, USA 5:22:53 82

All-Time XTERRA Philippines Champions

2011 – Sam Gardner, Shonny Vanlandingham

2012 – Ben Allen, Renata Bucher

2013 – Ben Allen, Lesley Paterson

2014 – Dan Hugo, Renata Bucher

2015 – Bradley Weiss, Flora Duffy

2016 – Bradley Weiss, Lizzie Orchard

2017 – Bradley Weiss, Carina Wasle

XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Standings

With his second-place finish today Sam Osborne retains his lead in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour standings after four events, followed by McPherson, Allen, Weiss, and Kelsay.

Carina Wasle leads the women’s chase having won both Saipan and the Philippines, with Penny Slater in second and Renata Bucher in third.

“I never won the APAC Tour or the European Tour,” said Wasle.  “So, it would be great to win the APAC Tour this year. I’ll certainly try my best to finish strong at all the races.”

Next up is the big one, the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race in Langkawi, Malaysia, which boasts a tour-leading $25,000 USD prize purse, and just about everyone from the Philippines will make the trip to Langkawi to take a shot at the title.

2017 XTERRA ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR POINT STANDINGS
After 4 (As of 4.22.17)

S S S G
PL NAME, NAT TOT SPN THA NZL PHI
1 Sam Osborne, NZL 240 75 DNS 75 90
2 Kieran McPherson, NZL 213 56 75 DNS 82
3 Ben Allen, AUS 203 61 67 DNS 75
4 Bradley Weiss, RSA 167 67 DNS DNS 100
5 Will Kelsay, USA 163 47 47 DNS 69
6 Brodie Gardner, AUS 147 39 61 47 DNS
7 Olly Shaw, NZL 109 DNS DNS 51 58
8 Markus Benesch, AUT 102 51 51 DNS DNS
9 David Ballesteros, ESP 99 DNS 56 43 DNS
10 Taylor Charlton, AUS 96 DNS 43 DNS 53
11 Joe Miller, PHI 93 30 DNS DNS 63
12 Alex Roberts, NZL 85 DNS DNS 36 49
13 Aleksandr Dorovskikh, RUS 72 36 36 DNS DNS
14 Hayden Wilde, NZL 67 DNS DNS 67 DNS
15 Kyle Smith, NZL 61 DNS DNS 61 DNS
16 Fynn Thompson, NZL 56 DNS DNS 56 DNS
17 Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN 51 21 30 DNS DNF
18 Yuichi Hosoda, JPN 43 43 DNS DNS DNS
19 Jacob Storey 39 DNS 39 DNS DNS
20 John Mering, NZL 39 DNS DNS 39 DNS
21 Dominik Wychera, AUT 33 33 DNS DNS DNS
22 Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA 33 DNS 33 DNS DNS
23 Cedric Wane, FRA 33 DNS DNS 33 DNS
24 Emil Duraj, SVK 27 27 DNS DNS DNS
25 Akihiko Maeda, JPN 25 25 DNS DNS DNS
26 Michal Bucek, SVK 23 23 DNF DNS DNS
S S S G
PL NAME, NAT TOT SPN THA NZL PHI
1 Carina Wasle, AUT 175 75 DNS DNS 100
2 Penny Slater, AUS 141 DNS DNS 51 90
7 Renata Bucher, SUI 131 DNS 75 56 DNS
3 Jessica Koltz, USA 82 DNS DNS DNS 82
4 Jacqui Allen, GBR 75 DNS DNS 75 DNF
8 Kelli Montgomery, USA 67 DNS 67 DNS DNS
5 Mieko Carey, JPN 67 67 DNS DNS DNS
9 Hannah Wells, NZL 67 DNS DNS 67 DNS
6 Marika Wagner, SWE 61 DNS 61 DNS DNS
10 Josie Wilcox, NZL 61 DNS DNS 61 DNS
11 Belinda Hadden, AUS 56 DNS 56 DNS DNS
12 Rebecca Clarke, NZL 47 DNS DNS 47 DNS
13 Lizzy Bunckenburg, NZL 43 DNS DNS 43 DNS

2017 XTERRA World Championship Qualifying Series Schedule

XTERRA Danao was the 11th of 41 events where amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 22nd annual XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 29.

Date Race Elite Winners or Location
Feb 25 XTERRA South Africa Richard Murray / Flora Duffy
Mar 4 XTERRA Motatapu Dougal Allan / Josie Wilcox
Mar 18 XTERRA Saipan + Silver Sam Osborne / Carina Wasle
Mar 25 XTERRA Argentina # Silver Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder
Apr 1 XTERRA Thailand + Silver Kieran McPherson / Renata Bucher
Apr 1 XTERRA Chile # Silver Felipe Barraza / Barbara Riveros
Apr 2 XTERRA Malta * Silver Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor
Apr 8 XTERRA New Zealand + Silver Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen
Apr 9 XTERRA Costa Rica # Silver Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder
Apr 16 XTERRA La Reunion Ruben Ruzafa / Carina Wasle
Apr 23 XTERRA Danao + GOLD Bradley Weiss / Carina Wasle
Apr 23 XTERRA Cyprus * Silver Yeray Luxem / Brigitta Poor
Apr 29 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship / Malaysia + GOLD Langkawi, Malaysia
Apr 30 XTERRA Greece * Silver Vouliagmeni
May 6 XTERRA Tahiti + Silver Moorea
May 14 XTERRA Spain * Silver Taragonna
May 14 XTERRA Brazil # Silver Ilha Bella, Sao Paolo
May 20 XTERRA Oak Mountain # GOLD Pelham, AL, USA
May 27 XTERRA Portugal * Silver Golega
Jun 10 XTERRA Belgium * Silver Namur
Jun 17 XTERRA Mine over Matter ^ Milton, Ontario, Canada
Jun 18 XTERRA Finland * Silver Imatra
Jun 24 XTERRA Switzerland * GOLD Vallee de Joux
Jul 2 XTERRA France * GOLD Xonrupt
Jul 9 XTERRA Victoria # Silver Victoria, B.C., Canada
Jul 15 XTERRA Beaver Creek # GOLD Beaver Creek, CO, USA
Jul 30 XTERRA Abruzzo * Silver Scanno, Abruzzo, Italy
Aug 5 XTERRA Mexico # GOLD Tapalpa
Aug 5 XTERRA Norway * Silver Norefjell
Aug 6 XTERRA Canmore ^ Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Aug 12 XTERRA Quebec ^ Quebec City, Canada
Aug 12 XTERRA Parry Sound ^ Ontario, Canada
Aug 13 XTERRA Dominican Republic # Silver Barahona
Aug 13 XTERRA Poland * Silver Krakow
Aug 19 XTERRA Germany * GOLD Zittau
Aug 26 XTERRA Sweden * Silver Hammarbybacken, Stockholm
Aug 26 XTERRA Sleeping Giant ^ Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
Sep 2 XTERRA Japan + Silver Hokkaido
Sep 3 XTERRA European Championship / Denmark * GOLD Mons Klint
Sep 16 XTERRA Pan American Championship / USA # D-GOLD Ogden, Utah, USA
Oct 29 XTERRA World Championship Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

* XTERRA European Tour / # XTERRA Pan American Tour / + Asia-Pacific Tour

Silver = Min. $7,500 pro purse & 75-point scale // GOLD = Min $15,000 pro purse & 100-point scale

Weldemariam Runs Like the Wind at XTERRA Cheyenne Mountain

The 7th annual XTERRA Cheyenne Mountain Trail Run 5K/12K/24K on April 9th had its share of surprises.

For one, there was the wind, which was so strong that race organizers couldn’t set up a tent or keep the arch up over the finish line. “It was an amazingly beautiful spring day for a run,” said race director, Victoria Seahorn. “And it was also outrageously windy. Some gusts were 70 miles an hour. On the course, wind at your back is a treat, but running into it is an endurance event like no other.”

Conditions like this don’t usually result in fast times. The 64 runners in this year’s 24K race completed the course in an average time of 2:48. However, this year’s champ, Azerya Weldemariam, stunned almost everyone.

“Weldemariam was incredible with a winning time of 1:34 over the almost 15 mile course,” said Seahorn. “And this is at altitude, with high winds, and on a challenging trail. It’s pretty unbelievable. 

To put this in perspective, Weldemariam came in about 13 minutes ahead of runner up, Kyle Anabas. Travis Lavin came in about 90 seconds later in 1:49:48. On the women’s side, Maija Zimmerman was the leader in 2:04, followed by Abby Haughness and Caitlin Felder.

Weldemariam originally hails from Eritrea, which is the same East African country where Meb Keflezighi was born. Meb is the 2004 Olympic silver medalist in the marathon and finished 4th in the 2012 games. He won the Boston Marathon in 2009 and again in 2014 when he was 39 years old.

Weldemariam was introduced to running relatively late in life when he began his mandatory service in the Eritrean military. “We had many conditioning activities and I discovered I loved the sport,” he said. “I was encouraged to start training and shortly after, I was asked to join the Eritrean National Team.”

As part of the Eritrean National Team, Weldemariam traveled throughout Europe and Africa. He placed 2nd overall in four World Mountain Races and was 1st two years in a row in the World Mountain Running Grand Prix.

After training with the team for seven years, Weldemariam’s coach encouraged him to come to America to try to secure a safer place for his family to live.

Eritrea is located in the Horn of Africa and is bordered by Sudan, Ethiopia, and Djibouti. In 1947, the United Nations called for Eritrea to be federated with Ethiopia and ruled by the Ethiopian Emperor. This resolution was unpopular with the Eritreans, and in 1958, the Eritrean Liberation Movement began a war for independence with Ethiopia that would last for over 30 years.

Finally, in 1993, Eritrea declared its independence and the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front  (EPLF) seized power. No other elections have been held since then and no other political groups are allowed to organize. Hostility between Djibouti and Ethiopia still exist, and according to Human Rights Watch, the Eritrean government’s human rights record is among the worst in the world. In 2016, Reporters Without Borders ranked 180 countries from greatest freedom of the press to least, and Eritrea came in last.

Since coming to America, Weldemariam has been trying to outrun his country’s brutal history. In 2016, he was 2nd in the Pikes Peak Marathon and 1st in the National Trail Running Championship in Moab, Utah in the marathon distance.

“I’m working hard,” said Weldemariam, who works full-time at Great Wolf Lodge. He is trying to make enough money for his family – still in Eritrea – to join him. “I run for freedom,” said Weldemariam. “But also, I run so my family can come here and be safe.”

View race results here

Ruzafa, Wasle win XTERRA Reunion

La Saline les Bains (Trou d’eau) – Reunion Island – Ruben Ruzafa from Spain and Carina Wasle of Austria captured the third-annual XTERRA Reunion off-road triathlon elite titles for the second year in a row on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2017.

It’s the 24th career XTERRA major win for Ruzafa and the 15th for Wasle.

Ruzafa’s winning time of 2:18:50 was more than two-minutes ahead of Frenchman Brice Daubord and four-minutes in front of 2015 Reunion Champ Bradley Weiss.  “It was a great victory, but it was hard-earned,” posted Ruzafa to his twitter account.

In the women’s race Wasle, who won XTERRA Saipan earlier this year, led from wire-to-wire with the fastest swim, bike, and run times.

“Last year I raced XTERRA Reunion the first time. I was very impressed from the beautiful island, the friendly people and the perfect organized raced. It was clear for me that I have to come back and race in this scenic location again,” said Wasle.  “I trained a lot swimming this year and could improve a lot. It’s a great feeling to exit the water first and have already the lead at the start of the bike. I tried to get through the bike course in a steady base, always in my mind not to risk a crash or get a flat tire. I just never knew how big my lead was. Running is normally my strengh and once on the run I already could smell the finish. Only on the last km the heat was very tough, but all the pain was worth when I ran in first place through the finish. So happy to defend my titel from last year.”

Complete Results / Pictures

In the men’s race Daubord was first out of the water in 20:18 followed closely by Weiss then Ruzafa 38-seconds later.

“It was one of my best swims in recent memory,” said Weiss, who broke his wrist in a mountain bike accident in December. “It’s been a rocky road back to full fitness since my injury and I’m happy with a solid swim after months of hard work. My injuries are now a thing of the past.”

Daubord’s lead didn’t last long as the four-time champion of France’s cross-country triathlon championship suffered a brief mechanical issue, giving way to Ruzafa and Weiss.

From there Ruzafa posted the fastest split of the day in 1:11:23, more than two-minutes quicker than Weiss, and took a lead into the run he would not relinquish.

“Having Ruben in a race always changes the dynamics, including my race tactics, and I was determined to give him everything I had on the bike,” said Weiss.

Ruzafa’s lead grew to about 40-seconds on Weiss after a technical single-track section, and Ruzafa began the run with a two-minute lead.

Daubord had the fastest run split of the day and passed Weiss halfway to the finish to move into second-place. “Brice is a phenomenal runner,” said Weiss. “When I saw him on the run, I knew I was in trouble. He came past me at the 5K mark. I hung in for a while but he broke the elastic first.”

Nico Sterk finished eight-minutes behind Weiss in fourth, with Dominik Wychera in 5th.

As for Wasle, she went relatively unchallenged as South African Vicky Van Der Merwe, who placed 4th at XTERRA South Africa in February, had a tough fall on the bike that made for a long day.

“Yesterday was the deepest I’ve had to dig to finish a race,” she posted to her FB page. “After a bad crash on the bike I ran the last 5km of the bike leg with a fractured wrist. The 10km run after that was purely on adrenaline! Silly mistake but happy just to have finished.”

Truly a gutsy performance for Van Der Merwe, who basically ran nine miles with a broken wrist, “and massive thanks to organizers and doctors for looking after me so well,” she added.

Organizer Yannick Desfarges called the event a huge success.  “Everyone I spoke with said it was a magnificent race with beautiful trails.  We are proud to provide this unique experience in the Indian Ocean, on the island of Reunion we call the ‘intense island!”

More than 500 participants took part in the weekend events, include 180 kids on Saturday.

All-Time XTERRA Reunion Champions

2015 – Bradley Weiss/Carla Van Huyssteen

2016 – Ruben Ruzafa/Carina Wasle

2017 – Ruben Ruzafa/Carina Wasle

XTERRA Reunion Elite Results

Pl Name, NAT Time Swim Bike Run
1 Ruben Ruzafa, ESP 02:18:50 00:21:22 01:11:23 00:44:41
2 Brice Daubord, FRA 02:21:33 00:20:18 01:16:14 00:43:58
3 Bradley Weiss, RSA 02:22:59 00:20:44 01:13:41 00:47:12
4 Nico Sterk, RSA 02:30:32 00:21:27 01:17:53 00:49:51
5 Dominik Wychera, AUT 02:31:23 00:23:11 01:17:11 00:49:43
6 Christophe Betard, FRA 02:33:16 00:24:39 01:16:42 00:50:17
7 Aidan Nugent, RSA 02:34:38 00:21:29 01:20:47 00:51:09
8 Darryn Purtell, RSA 02:42:33 00:22:32 01:26:14 00:52:06
Elite Women
Pl Name, NAT Time Swim Bike Run
1 Carina Wasle, AUT 02:51:02 00:22:51 01:28:30 00:57:49
2 Vicky Van Der Merwe, RSA 03:28:25 00:23:13 02:01:40 00:59:46

2017 XTERRA World Championship Qualifying Series Schedule

XTERRA Reunion was the 10th of 41 events where amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 22nd annual XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 29.

Date Race Elite Winners or Location
Feb 25 XTERRA South Africa Richard Murray / Flora Duffy
Mar 4 XTERRA Motatapu Dougal Allan / Josie Wilcox
Mar 18 XTERRA Saipan + Silver Sam Osborne / Carina Wasle
Mar 25 XTERRA Argentina # Silver Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder
Apr 1 XTERRA Thailand + Silver Kieran McPherson / Renata Bucher
Apr 1 XTERRA Chile # Silver Felipe Barraza / Barbara Riveros
Apr 2 XTERRA Malta * Silver Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor
Apr 8 XTERRA New Zealand + Silver Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen
Apr 9 XTERRA Costa Rica # Silver Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder
Apr 16 XTERRA La Reunion Ruben Ruzafa / Carina Wasle
Apr 23 XTERRA Cyprus * Silver Lara Beach/Akamas, Paphos
Apr 23 XTERRA Cebu + GOLD Danao, Cebu, Philippines
Apr 29 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship / Malaysia + GOLD Langkawi, Malaysia
Apr 30 XTERRA Greece * Silver Vouliagmeni
May 6 XTERRA Tahiti + Silver Moorea
May 14 XTERRA Spain * Silver Taragonna
May 14 XTERRA Brazil # Silver Ilha Bella, Sao Paolo
May 20 XTERRA Oak Mountain # GOLD Pelham, AL, USA
May 27 XTERRA Portugal * Silver Golega
Jun 10 XTERRA Belgium * Silver Namur
Jun 17 XTERRA Mine over Matter ^ Milton, Ontario, Canada
Jun 18 XTERRA Finland * Silver Imatra
Jun 24 XTERRA Switzerland * GOLD Vallee de Joux
Jul 2 XTERRA France * GOLD Xonrupt
Jul 9 XTERRA Victoria # Silver Victoria, B.C., Canada
Jul 15 XTERRA Beaver Creek # GOLD Beaver Creek, CO, USA
Jul 30 XTERRA Abruzzo * Silver Scanno, Abruzzo, Italy
Aug 5 XTERRA Mexico # GOLD Tapalpa
Aug 5 XTERRA Norway * Silver Norefjell
Aug 6 XTERRA Canmore ^ Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Aug 12 XTERRA Quebec ^ Quebec City, Canada
Aug 12 XTERRA Parry Sound ^ Ontario, Canada
Aug 13 XTERRA Dominican Republic # Silver Barahona
Aug 13 XTERRA Poland * Silver Krakow
Aug 19 XTERRA Germany * GOLD Zittau
Aug 26 XTERRA Sweden * Silver Hammarbybacken, Stockholm
Aug 26 XTERRA Sleeping Giant ^ Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
Sep 2 XTERRA Japan + Silver Hokkaido
Sep 3 XTERRA European Championship / Denmark * GOLD Mons Klint
Sep 16 XTERRA Pan American Championship / USA # D-GOLD Ogden, Utah, USA
Oct 29 XTERRA World Championship Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii

* XTERRA European Tour / # XTERRA Pan American Tour / + Asia-Pacific Tour

Silver = Min. $7,500 pro purse & 75-point scale // GOLD = Min $15,000 pro purse & 100-point scale

About TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA

TEAM Unlimited LLC, founded in 1988, is the Hawaii-based television, events, and marketing company that brought off-road triathlon and trail running to the world under the brand name 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. Over the past 20 years XTERRA transcended its status as ‘just a race’ to become a bona-fide way of life for thousands of intrepid athletes as well as an emerging brand in the outdoor industry.  In 2017 XTERRA will offer more than 200 off-road triathlons and trail running events in 33+ countries worldwide and produce 10 adventure television shows for international distribution.  Learn more at xterraplanet.com.

Shepaug Runners Go the Distance

The second annual XTERRA Northeast Trail Run Series officially kicked off April 8th with the XTERRA Shepaug Run Raiser in Bridgewater, Connecticut. The day proved to be a true festival of running with 10K, 25K, 50K, and 80K courses.

“Two feet of snow melt and seemingly endless rain turned the 10K course into an energy and soul sucking mud run,” said race director, Austin Planz. “Luckily, memories of the torture were quickly replaced by smiles as runners shared stories of survival over bowls of post race grub.”

Michael Lapsa was first in the 10K with a time of 55:50. Jackie Smith came in for the women in 1:06.

The 10K has a gentle elevation gain of 634 feet, while the 25K includes over 2000 feet of uphill, metered out over the entire loop. The 50K and 80K runs are two and three laps of the 25K course, respectively.

“The end of loop one was great,” said XTERRA Ambassador Simon Edgett, who won the 50K. “I crossed the line side by side with Raphael Sarfati, who went on to win the 80K. I stopped and changed my shoes and socks before heading out onto lap two. Even though my feet were only dry for about ten minutes, it was definitely worth it for my state of mind.”

Knowing he was in the lead kept Simon Edgett going strong. “I carried pieces of paper with my goal split times on one side and my favorite quotes on the other. One of the quotes was ‘Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear–not absence of fear.’ which is attributed to Mark Twain.”

Dmitry Girgoryeu and Kira Ragazzo took the 25K in 2:10 and 2:27, respectively. Simon Edgett came through the 50K in 5:44 and Jennifer Kimpel was the women’s champ in 7:57.

Raphael Sarfati finished in 8:09:57; over two hours ahead of second place Ramon Bermo.

“I would like to thank all the runners for their wonderful spirits and upbeat attitudes under challenging trail conditions on a rescheduled date,” said Planz. “Good people make good races.”

Learn more about running your first ultra.

Complete race results can be found here.

Next up in the XTERRA Northeast Series is the XTERRA Wawayanda Trail Run on May 7th in Hewitt, NJ. Points will be given for the 25K, 50K and the 80K at the first three races and the 20K at the season finale held in Syracuse, NY on August 13th. The top athlete in each age group and the end of the series will be rewarded with free entry to the XTERRA Trail Running National Championship in Ogden, UT on September 17.

Photos courtesy of Ransom Edgett

Middaugh, Snyder win XTERRA Costa Rica

Reigning XTERRA Pan America Pro Series champions Josiah Middaugh and Suzie Snyder captured the fourth-annual XTERRA Costa Rica Championship elite titles on a mercifully overcast morning at Playa Conchal in Guanacaste today.

It’s the first win in four tries for Middaugh, who had been the runner-up at this race the past three seasons.  “Hey, that’s better than 15 tries,” he laughed, referencing the 2015 XTERRA World Championship he won on his 15th attempt.

For Snyder, the win is her second in three weeks, the seventh in two years on the XTERRA Pan America Tour, and the ninth in her career.

“As I approached the finish and heard the announcer call my name as the winner I got goosebumps and broke out in a big smile,” said Snyder.  “I’m happy that I had a good clean race without any silly mistakes, got another good hard early season race effort in the books, and was able to take home the win!”

Complete Results

MIDDAUGH WINS 25TH MAJOR

All those hours in the outdoor pool at the Westin in the off-season, even as snow fell all around, paid big dividends for Middaugh today.  The XTERRA veteran, entering his 17th season of racing, picked up his 25th career victory on a steamy day on the beach in Costa Rica thanks in large part to a solid swim.

Branden Rakita and Ian King were first out of the water, followed by Jean-Philippe Thibodeau and Panamanian newcomer Billy Gordon, but Middaugh was just one-minute off the pace.

“My off-season training has gone really well and I felt good all day today, really strong,” said Middaugh, who chased down the lead on the bike within the first two miles and never looked back.  “I also added one more day to the front end of this trip, so was able to do the pre-ride three days before instead of two days before and I think that made a big difference.”

Middaugh posted the fastest bike split of the day in 1:08:34, nearly two-minutes quicker than Kris Coddens, and pulled further away on the run to take the tape in 2:06:51, four-minutes ahead of the Belgian star.

“It’s good to win,” said Middaugh.  “I realize Leo (Chacon) and Rom (Akerson) weren’t here today but I’ll look forward to seeing those guys later this season.  And it’s been an amazing trip here with my wife Ingrid and 6yo daughter Larsen.  We’ve done some fun things, lot of pool time, beach time, some nature preserve exploring, and ziplining too.”

Coddens, who finished third on the XTERRA European Tour last season and 4th at XTERRA South Africa to start this year, overcame an early set-back coming out of the swim-to-bike transition to work his way into second where he finished comfortably.

“I had a good swim, exiting the water right behind Josiah, but made a mistake by coming out of transition on the beach,” said Coddens. “Someone fell in front of me and then I fell so lost the connection with Josiah, but he was stronger than me on the bike.”

Like Middaugh, Coddens was able to pass the faster swimmers relatively early on, and then settle into a good rhythm.

“I really enjoyed the course, especially the beginning and end that went up and down,” he said.  “The end of the bike is twisting and turning and the middle section featured flat wide roads which suited me well.  I had another mistake coming into transition by going on the wrong side of the cones, but it didn’t make a difference because Josiah was about 1:30 in front and the others more than 2-minutes back. And luckily the run is in the woods and the shade because it was balancing effort out there between speed and heat. The run course was flat too which is good for me, but catching Josiah was impossible. He took some more time on me on the run, but I finished happily in second.”

Coddens, who is a teacher by trade and has two little ones of his own, brought his wife along for the trip and said “It’s been a very nice experience.  We’ve been married 10 years now, and this race fell perfectly on school holiday. Now it’s time to enjoy Costa Rica for a few more days before going home again.”

Thibodeau finished five minutes behind Coddens in third, and took the lead in the Pan Am Tour standings as a result.  Rakita, who was also taking part in his third race in as many weeks, finished fourth and moved into the second spot in the standings.  Ryan Ignatz rounded out the top five.

Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Josiah Middaugh, USA 2:06:51 75
2 Kris Coddens, BEL 2:10:51 67
3 Jean Philippe-Thibodeau, CAN 2:15:30 61
4 Branden Rakita, USA 2:17:29 56
5 Ryan Ignatz, USA 2:18:31 51
6 Ian King, USA 2:19:44 47
7 Greg Schott, USA 2:24:01 43
8 Federico Venegas, CRC 2:24:08 39
9 Guiherme Goncalves, BRA 2:27:30 36
10 Billy Gordon, PAN 2:29:36 33
11 Micheal Nunez, USA 2:31:33 30
12 Andres Zuniga, CRC 2:31:38 27

SNYDER FROM WIRE-TO-WIRE

In the women’s race, it was all Suzie Snyder all day long, from the swim to the sand shuffle to the finish line.

“I think the weather gods were on our side today, it was overcast for most of the race which was a huge relief because the course was challenging enough,” exclaimed Snyder.  “The bike course has some steep climbs and soft dirt that can really zap your legs, unless maybe I just had tired legs from the past couple weeks?  My legs felt cooked when I began the run, so thankfully there was just one good hill right at the start, and I knew I had a 3.5-minute lead so I felt that if I focused on maintaining a smooth tempo and high cadence to regulate my effort and temperature until my legs loosened up, I should be safe. The temps were increasing but the legs started to come around on the forested single track loops so I tried to push it a little more there before hitting the soft deep sand over the last mile which I knew would be slow and tough to run hard through.”

Maia Ignatz, last year’s runner-up on the Pan Am Tour, was putting on a hard charge behind Snyder and had passed Kara LaPoint to move into the second spot and was closing in on the lead before taking a wrong turn.

“Well, today was bittersweet,” said Ignatz.  “I had an amazing day, but I missed the second small loop on the run and ended up disqualified. It would have been close, I think, and its a tough lesson learned, massively disappointing and heartbreaking. I will do better next time. Onward and upward.”

As a result of the miscue by Ignatz, Kara LaPoint, who was on her third race in as many weeks just like Snyder, finished 2nd here in Costa Rica for the second year in a row.

“I had a solid race today, and am really happy with my performance,” she said.  “Coming in my legs were a little bit tired from having raced the past two weekends, and all the travel along with that, but I ended up feeling pretty strong out there. I had a great swim, stuck with Laura, who has my “favorite feet” to hang on to (she is ALWAYS strong on the swim and always nails the sighting!), so I was really happy with that start. She, Maia and I all started the ride together. I was able to pull away fairly early and get a small gap. I never really looked back, but I had a good feeling Maia was hanging on not too far behind, as she is always a fighter and I could tell she was strong today. I really tried to keep my foot on the gas, which can be tough on this course when you’re riding alone. Came in to T2 in a solid second position, just a few minutes out of the lead, and was feeling good and ready to run! Maia came into transition as I was heading out, so I knew I had to be quick, as she’s so amazing on the run! I put it all out there and maintained 2nd for the first couple miles before she came flying by, looking super strong. I was absolutely gutted for her when I found out what had happened at the finish, and it definitely made my result much less sweet. For the rest of the run I just tried to stay relaxed and efficient. I knew I had a decent gap behind me, but you can never let up too much, as you never know what can happen out there! It was a hot run, but not nearly as bad as last year for me, where I really suffered, and I was super happy to finish strong and still feeling good.  I am especially happy to have continued to improve my performances over each of the last three weekends, and feel that I’m steadily inching my way closer to the front, which is exciting! It’s been an amazing experience here in Costa Rica, and throughout my whole travels these last three weeks. Wouldn’t trade it for anything!”

Annie Bergen from Canada finished in the third spot, Laura Mira Dias from Brazil finished fourth for the third time in four years at this race, and Liz Gruber rounded out the top five.

Pos Name, NAT Time Points
1 Suzie Snyder, USA 2:41:44 75
2 Kara LaPoint, USA 2:42:31 67
3 Annie Bergen, CAN 2:50:57 61
4 Laura Mira Dias, BRA 2:51:52 56
5 Liz Gruber, USA 2:53:43 51
6 Caroline Colonna, USA 2:56:55 47

All-Time XTERRA Costa Rica Champions

2014 – Leonardo Chacon/Shonny Vanlandingham

2015 – Rom Akerson/Lesley Paterson

2016 – Karl Shaw/Myriam Guillot-Boisset

2017 – Josiah Middaugh/Suzie Snyder

THIBODEAU, SNYDER LEAD PAN AM TOUR           

Canadian Jean-Philippe Thibodeau and American Suzie Snyder hold the top spots in the 2017 XTERRA Pan Am Pro Series following the first three races in South and Central America.  Every race counts in the Pan Am Tour, and you can read more on how the series works for elites here.

Next up: XTERRA Brazil, May 14 in Ilhabela.

Learn more about the XTERRA Pan Am Tour here.

2017 XTERRA PAN AM TOUR ELITE STANDINGS – AFTER 3

Elite Men

S S S
PL NAME, NAT TOT ARG CHI CRC
1 Jean-Philippe Thibodeau, CAN 178 61 56 61
2 Branden Rakita, USA 159 56 47 56
3 Gonzalo Tellechea, ARG 142 75 67 DNS
4 Maximiliano Morales, ARG 118 67 51 DNS
5 León Drajer, ESP 94 51 43 DNS
6 Julien Buffe, FRA 82 43 39 DNS
7 Felipe Barraza, CHI 75 DNS 75 DNS
8 Josiah Middaugh, USA 75 DNS DNS 75
9 Ian King, USA 74 DNS 27 47
10 Kris Coddens, BEL 67 DNS DNS 67
11 Felipe Moletta, BRA 61 DNS 61 DNS
12 Ryan Ignatz, USA 51 DNS DNS 51
13 Andres Darricau, ARG 47 47 DNS DNS
14 Greg Schott, USA 43 DNS DNS 43
15 Federico Venegas, CRC 39 DNS DNS 39
16 Diego Moya, CHI 36 DNS 36 DNS
17 Guiherme Goncalves, BRA 36 DNS DNS 36
18 Gaspar Riveros, CHI 33 DNS 33 DNS
19 Billy Gordon, PAN 33 DNS DNS 33
20 Benjamin Munizaga, CHI 30 DNS 30 DNS
21 Micheal Nunez, USA 30 DNS DNS 30
22 Andres Zuniga, CRC 27 DNS DNS 27

Elite Women

S S S
PL NAME, NAT TOT ARG CHI CRC
1 Suzie Snyder, USA 217 75 67 75
2 Kara LaPoint, USA 184 61 56 67
3 Laura Mira Diaz, BRA 154 51 47 56
4 Morgane Riou, FRA 128 67 61 DNS
5 Sabrina Gobbo, BRA 107 56 51 DNS
6 Barbara Riveros, CHI 75 DNS 75 DNS
7 Annie Bergen, CAN 61 DNS DNS 61
8 Liz Gruber, USA 51 DNS DNS 51
9 Caroline Colonna, USA 47 DNS DNS 47
2017 XTERRA World Championship Qualifying Series Schedule
XTERRA Costa Rica was the ninth of 41 events where amateur athletes from around the world could qualify to race at the 22nd annual XTERRA World Championship in Maui on October 29.
Date
Race
Elite Winners or Location
Feb 25
Richard Murray / Flora Duffy
Mar 4
Dougal Allan / Josie Wilcox
Mar 18
XTERRA Saipan + Silver
Sam Osborne / Carina Wasle
Mar 25
Gonzalo Tellechea / Suzie Snyder
Apr 1
Kieran McPherson / Renata Bucher
Apr 1
XTERRA Chile # Silver
Felipe Barraza / Barbara Riveros
Apr 2
XTERRA Malta * Silver
Roger Serrano / Brigitta Poor
Apr 8
Sam Osborne / Jacqui Allen
Apr 9
Josiah Middaugh / Suzie Snyder
Apr 16
La Reunion Island
Apr 23
XTERRA Cyprus * Silver
Lara Beach/Akamas, Paphos
Apr 23
Danao, Cebu, Philippines
Apr 29
Langkawi, Malaysia
Apr 30
XTERRA Greece * Silver
Vouliagmeni
May 6
Moorea
May 14
XTERRA Spain * Silver
Taragonna
May 14
XTERRA Brazil # Silver
Ilha Bella, Sao Paolo
May 20
Pelham, AL, USA
May 27
Golega
Jun 10
Namur
Jun 17
Milton, Ontario, Canada
Jun 18
Imatra
Jun 24
Vallee de Joux
Jul 2
Xonrupt
Jul 9
Victoria, B.C., Canada
Jul 15
Beaver Creek, CO, USA
Jul 30
Scanno, Abruzzo, Italy
Aug 5
Tapalpa
Aug 5
XTERRA Norway * Silver
Norefjell
Aug 6
Canmore, Alberta, Canada
Aug 12
Quebec City, Canada
Aug 12
Ontario, Canada
Aug 13
Barahona
Aug 13
XTERRA Poland * Silver
Krakow
Aug 19
Zittau
Aug 26
XTERRA Sweden * Silver
Hammarbybacken, Stockholm
Aug 26
Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
Sep 2
XTERRA Japan + Silver
Hokkaido
Sep 3
Mons Klint
Sep 16
Ogden, Utah, USA
Oct 29
Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii
* XTERRA European Tour / # XTERRA Pan American Tour / + Asia-Pacific Tour
Silver = Min. $7,500 pro purse & 75-point scale // GOLD = Min $15,000 pro purse & 100-point scale

Osborne, Allen win XTERRA New Zealand

Complete Results / Photos

Hometown hero Sam Osborne from Rotorua and the newlywed Jacqui Allen (nee Slack) from Australia (nee Great Britain) captured the 15th annual XTERRA New Zealand Championship elite titles at Lake Tikitapu on Saturday, April 8, 2017.

It’s the second win of the season for Osborne, who became the first local to win this race in 15 years, and the second XTERRA NZL crown for Allen, who last won it in 2012.

“Absolutely bloody stoked,” exclaimed Osborne. “It’s the first time both Mum & Dad have been able to watch the race here so they were just going nuts. That really makes it so magic, they only usually get to see me race once a year because of work and usually only one can watch, but to pull off today in front of both of them is just so special.”

Osborne didn’t have the fastest swim of the day, that honor went to the young Fynn Thompson, but he did have the best bike and run splits to win going away in 2:06:01, more than three-minutes ahead of two-time XTERRA 15-19 age group World Champion Hayden Wilde in his elite debut.

“I didn’t have one of best of swims but had a really good transition so got out first still,” said Osborne. “There was a group of five all together at the start of the bike and as soon as we hit the first open sections things started to go nuts. It was just attack after attack with all the ITU guys in that group and an always aggressive Braden Currie right there. The first part of the bike was fireworks.”

Currie, who has won the last two XTERRA New Zealand Championship titles, pulled out during the run due to injury, the extent of which is unknown at press time. “He did his fair share of damage to all of us on the bike before that happened,” said Osborne.

Today’s race showcased a wealth of young Kiwi speedsters who made an impact on the race.

“I took the lead in the first real downhill, Taura, and got a bit of a gap but Kyle (Smith) came back to me on the next short road section,” said Osborne. “I could hear he was redlining though and made sure I rode the next section full gas. The rubber band stretched but didn’t really snap. Into the big climb up to Frontal Lobotomy I had good legs and transitioned into an incredibly smooth run down Eagle vs Shark.”

Of course, the trail names are as fantastic as the forest they reside … Whakarewarewa.

“On the run, I had good legs and I just let them go and do their thing,” said Osborne. “The atmosphere from everyone out there that turned up was just next level. I had support 90% way round the course and that really carried me through.”

It was an all Kiwi top five, with Wilde in second, Smith in third, Thompson just five-seconds back in fourth, and Olly Shaw in fifth.

In the women’s race Rebecca Clarke took the early lead out of the water but Jacqui Allen was close behind and pounced early on the bike, taking the pole position 1km in and all the way to the tape.

“I really had no idea how it was going to go today, my numbers in training have improved but I had no idea how that would translate to an XTERRA race at full speed,” said Allen. “I got bashed around a bit in the swim but still existed in 2nd and after 1km on the bike I took over the lead.”

The former XTERRA Warrior award winner and reigning XTERRA Malaysia Champion married fellow XTERRA elite Ben Allen just a few weeks ago and apparently the two managed a wee-bit of trail time in the off-season as well.

“I was riding well and my skills on the bike have improved a lot over the summer so the XTERRA New Zealand course was right up my street,” said Allen, who posted the fastest women’s bike split of the day. “I came off the bike in the lead and ran my first lap conserving a little energy. I thought I was being chased down so with 4km to go I put the hammer down.”

Hannah Wells, who posted the fastest run split of the day, was indeed trying to chase Allen down but fell just about three-minutes shy in the runner-up position.

“I’m really happy with my form right now and it’s unbelievably nice to be back on the top step supporting Team Allen,” said Allen. “Rotorua is just the perfect location for XTERRA racing. That along with the fabulous set-up and organization from Frank Clarke and his team make this event truly world class.”

Wells finished second, XTERRA Motatapu Champ Josie Wilcox was third, recent XTERRA Thailand Champ Renata Bucher place fourth, and Penny Slater from Australia rounded out the top five.

TENTATIVE ELITE RESULTS

Pos Name, NAT Points Time
1 Sam Osborne, NZL 75 2:06:01
2 Hayden Wilde, NZL 67 2:09:11
3 Kyle Smith, NZL 61 2:12:09
4 Fynn Thompson, NZL 56 2:12:14
5 Olly Shaw, NZL 51 2:14:48
6 Brodie Gardner, AUS 47 2:18:32
7 David Ballesteros, ESP 43 2:24:06
8 John Mering, NZL 39 2:25:44
9 Alex Roberts, NZL 36 2:26:34
10 Cedric Wane, FRA 33 2:36:03
Pos Name, NAT Points Time
1 Jacqui Allen, GBR 75 2:34:58
2 Hannah Wells, NZL 67 2:37:44
3 Josie Wilcox, NZL 61 2:41:45
4 Renata Bucher, SUI 56 2:45:56
5 Penny Slater, AUS 51 2:46:20
6 Rebecca Clarke, NZL 47 3:00:37
7 Lizzy Bunckenburg, NZL 43 3:03:45

XTERRA ASIA-PACIFIC TOUR ELITE STANDINGS

With the win, Osborne took the lead in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour standings, with Aussie Brodie Gardner close behind after his sixth-place showing today, and another Kiwi, Kieran McPherson, sitting in third after his big win at XTERRA Thailand last week. On the women’s side the “Swiss Miss” Renata Bucher sits atop the standing after a win in Thailand and her fourth-place showing today. Next up on the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour is a Gold-level stop in Danao, Cebu on April 23 followed by the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race in Langkawi, Malaysia on April 29.
2017 Elite Men

S S S G G S S
PL NAME, NAT TOT SPN THA NZL PHI MAS TAH JPN
1 Sam Osborne, NZL 150 75 DNS 75
2 Brodie Gardner, AUS 147 39 61 47
3 Kieran McPherson, NZL 131 56 75 DNS
4 Ben Allen, AUS 128 61 67 DNS
5 Markus Benesch, AUT 102 51 51 DNS
6 David Ballesteros, ESP 99 DNS 56 43
7 Will Kelsay, USA 94 47 47 DNS
8 Aleksandr Dorovskikh, RUS 72 36 36 DNS
9 Bradley Weiss, RSA 67 67 DNS DNS
10 Hayden Wilde, NZL 67 DNS DNS 67
11 Kyle Smith, NZL 61 DNS DNS 61
12 Fynn Thompson, NZL 56 DNS DNS 56
13 Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN 51 21 30 DNS
14 Olly Shaw, NZL 51 DNS DNS 51
15 Yuichi Hosoda, JPN 43 43 DNS DNS
16 Taylor Charlton, AUS 43 DNS 43 DNS
17 Jacob Storey 39 DNS 39 DNS
18 John Mering, NZL 39 DNS DNS 39
19 Alex Roberts, NZL 36 DNS DNS 36
20 Dominik Wychera, AUT 33 33 DNS DNS
21 Fabrizio Bartoli, ITA 33 DNS 33 DNS
22 Cedric Wane, FRA 33 DNS DNS 33
23 Joe Miller, PHI 30 30 DNS DNS
24 Emil Duraj, SVK 27 27 DNS DNS
25 Akihiko Maeda, JPN 25 25 DNS DNS
26 Michal Bucek, SVK 23 23 DNF DNS

2017 Elite Women

S S S G G S S
PL NAME, NAT TOT SPN THA NZL PHI MAS TAH JPN
1 Renata Bucher, SUI 131 DNS 75 56
2 Jacqui Allen, GBR 75 DNS DNS 75
3 Carina Wasle, AUT 75 75 DNS DNS
4 Hannah Wells, NZL 67 DNS DNS 67
5 Kelli Montgomery, USA 67 DNS 67 DNS
6 Mieko Carey, JPN 67 67 DNS DNS
7 Josie Wilcox, NZL 61 DNS DNS 61
8 Marika Wagner, SWE 61 DNS 61 DNS
9 Belinda Hadden, AUS 56 DNS 56 DNS
10 Penny Slater, AUS 51 DNS DNS 51
11 Rebecca Clarke, NZL 47 DNS DNS 47
12 Lizzy Bunckenburg, NZL 43 DNS DNS 43

Learn more about the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour here.

First Annual XTERRA Phuket Trail Run

The first annual XTERRA Phuket Trail Run event was a tremendous success. Included in the festival of races were a 30K and 12K for diehards and a 3K for children and families. The tropical paradise of Phuket offers a one of a kind course, allowing runners to run through forest and farmland as well as steep hills that overlook the crystal waters of the Andaman Sea.

“We wanted an event that was suitable for running pros as well as families,” said race director Serge Henkens. “As a result, elite athletes flew over the course and old friends had a chance to jog and run through our beautiful land.”

The course included both double and single track, rolling hills, steep climbs, and stunning views. “We selected the trails and made them a challenge, yet very scenic,” said course designer, Fausto Izquiel. “Competitors raced through rural communities of peaceful Muslim and Buddhist farmers who preserve our Thai traditions. And they also experienced our magical forests and wildlife.”

Harry Jones won the 30K in 2:12:49 with fellow Brit Jon Campbell coming in second in 2:46:42. Third place went to Carole Fuchs of France, who crossed the line in 2:48:37.  Sutinee Rasp of Thailand was second for the women in 3:30:01.

See photos of the race and view results. 

XTERRA Rotorua and Wellington Trail Runs in New Zealand

This weekend, XTERRA heads to Rotorua, New Zealand for the XTERRA Rotorua Trail Run 5.5/11/21K, at Blue Lake. The day promises to be a festival of trail running and mountain biking on beautiful and beginner-friendly courses.

Rotorua is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, and you will find evidence of volcanoes everywhere you look from the rocks to natural geysers and geothermal vents. The city is also the cultural home of the Te Arawa people, who settled in its lakeside geothermal areas more than 600 years ago.

“XTERAA Rotorua has something for everyone,” said race director Mike Thomason. “Whether you want to walk and enjoy the beautiful forests or try for a PR, you will have a great day at Rotorua.” He adds that the trail run takes place the day after the XTERRA New Zealand off-road triathlon, which brings some of the best athletes to the region.

The following day, XTERRA heads south to Wellington for the XTERRA Wellington Trail Run on April 9th. The event – one of five XTERRA Trail runs in Wellington – is held in Rimutaka Forest Park, which is a huge natural area filled with native plans and birds like kiwis, tui, kaka, and ruru as well as deer and goats, despite the fact that it’s close to the city. The compact city of Wellington, close to both the harbor and the hills, is ideal for exploring cafes, museums, and shops.

“The running is pretty technical in places and calls for a high degree of skill if you want to keep moving quickly,” said Thomason. “There is no vehicle access over much of the course so if you get injured, it’s a helicopter for you. That’s how we roll in New Zealand.”

The Long Course 21K can be broken down into four stages. The first 5K is a mix of technical and open running with a few, short climbs. The second 5K continues climbing into the forest with a gorgeous view out over the ocean on the South Island. The third 5K is great bush running, technical and fast in places, with a trick y descent. The final 5K is wide open on hard-packed trail that heads downhill. If you have anything left, this is a great place to gun it.

“XTERRA Wellington is the spiritual home of New Zealand,” said Thomason. “We ran our first ever event here. It’s just so beautiful. You get dense, thick bush, fantastic ridgelines, and some technical sections that challenge the most accomplished trail runners. Everyone comes back a little bit bruised, dirty, and tired, but with a huge smile on their face.”

You can learn more about the XTERRA Wellington Trail Run Series here. Or, contact Mike at xterrawellington@splashanddash.co.nz.