Lota Ward

XTERRA Kid with Big Heart Needs Help

One of the coolest tales from the trails we told this year revolved around the Ward kids from Layton, Utah – who at just 7, 9, and 10-years-old had taken to running half-marathons with their mom and dad.

The trio cleaned house at the XTERRA Trail Running National Championship 21K in September as Lota (7), Taimane (9), and Leilani (10) each went home with a National Championship crown.  In addition, Lota became the youngest runner to complete the grueling 21K course at Snowbasin.

What made the story truly special, however, was the insight on Lota.  He didn’t just want to run, he wanted to run to help raise money and awareness for two little boys in his neighborhood that have Spinal Muscular Atrophy.  In that effort he was a champion as well, raising nearly $2,000 to help purchase a much-needed new wheelchair for the boys.

“Lota is an incredible kid! At only 7-years-old he ran a half marathon to raise money to help with the medical needs of my boys and to raise awareness for SMA. I was so touched by his desire to serve our family. I have been so impressed by how he not only wanted to do this very cool act of service but by how kind he is to my boys every time he is around them. He has a maturity and kindness that seem well beyond his years. He is sincerely such a good kid and I am grateful that my kids have such an amazing boy to be friends with,” said Esther Jensen, the boy’s mom.

In a heartbreaking twist to the story, now it’s Lota that needs the help.  A month after XTERRA Nationals he was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor known as Teratoma, and underwent his second brain surgery just yesterday (November 12, 2014).  A family friend said the surgery went well and Lota is doing good, and even better – the tumor looks benign.

Now, the friends and family he just helped are helping him, and rallying one-and-all to “Give it Forward.”

With Thanksgiving just around the corner let us be thankful for kids with big hearts, and get Lota back to the trails he loves to run…


David Roche and Megan Deakins

Unstructured Training Leads to Adventure and Results

By DJ Quinn

David Roche has a unique approach to running: “Some days I run 10 miles at a 5:20 pace, other days its 10 miles at a 9:20 pace”(which still sounds pretty fast to me!).  This unstructured  philosophy has led to a string of impressive results: the lung-busting Hyner View 25k, and the Rothrock 30k Trail Challenge, both of which David won by 17+ minutes; and 5th place in the Montana Don’t Fence Me In race against a loaded field of competitors; and have him sitting in 5th place in this year’s Mountain Cup standings.

Of course this is not surprising for the 2012 USA track & field 10k trail champion.  David credits his fiance and unofficial coach, Megan Deakins, for much of his success.  “I used to have a general plan, with track workouts and everything, until I met Megan and saw her approach.  She just runs.”  In fact, while she doesn’t have the national championship to match David, he says Megan is actually the faster runner and the results speak for themselves.  She put nearly 18 minutes into her nearest competitor at last weekends Earth Conservancy Half in Pennsylvania, quite impressive considering the number of elite challengers.  Even more, she also raced the Montana Don’t Fence Me In alongside David, and finished 1st overall among women setting a course record along the way, to go with a growing number of course records, as well as a road half-marathon PR of 1:16.

Although they currently live on opposite sides of the country (David lives in Washington D.C; Megan in California), they still manage to run together several times a week when they can, oftentimes staying together for the warm-up and cool-down, while going their own ways for the runs themselves.  When asked how they manage workouts, David says, “I think the key for couples is to leave ego at the door.  Relationships and training runs are not competitions and its all about no-strings-attached support.”  Megan agrees, “When you are perfectly happy to run through 90+ minutes with just mutual stomach gurgle, that’s when you know you have found true love.”

While neither David nor Megan like to set concrete goals when it comes to racing, they both are high in the standings in the Mountain Cup series, and have just accomplished one major goal of qualifying for the U.S Mountain Running Team.  Which means, they will be traveling to Italy later this summer to represent Team USA.

Meanwhile, both were impressed by XTERRA Mocanaqua (Earth Conservancy Half), their most recent race.  David says, “XTERRA is amazing! Both Megan and I loved the venue, the people, and the vibe. We are hoping to compete at XTERRA Nationals, and possibly even Worlds this year!” Megan adds, “ XTERRA Poconos was my first XTERRA race. It was incredible! From the incredible volunteers, to the precise trail markings, to the combination of technical climbs mixed with runnable, flat sections, I enjoyed everything about the race.” There is some evidence however, that David and Megan may be almost human despite their near-superhuman race results.  When asked about her goals, Megan says, “I’ve decided that for myself, formal running goals are stupid.  In January, I had laid out a whole bunch of running goals complete with track PRs and the hopes of running a road marathon for an Olympic Trials Qualifier.  A week later, at 7PM, when it came time to hit 6 x 1 mile on the track after waking up at 5AM and standing in the anatomy lab all day, I instead went home, ate a pint of ice cream and crossed off every goal on the list.  I am not good enough, and my medical career and family life are too important to justify running for anything other than fun. Now my running goals are the following: adventure, go up, love the experience, celebrate with ice cream and beer. Hopefully, those informal goals will take me to some pretty amazing places.”

That, of course, is the true beauty of the unstructured running philosophy: It’s all about running for fun, and enjoying the journey.  So how do we normal humans accomplish this same goal of fun mixed with our own awesome results? David sums up his mentality: “Trail racing isn’t about competition with other people so much as it’s about competition with yourself and the terrain. XTERRA and some of the other races provide this extremely exciting opportunity for self-exploration, and exploration of amazing places.  Also, it provides an exciting opportunity for beer with friends. Which is what I’d say is what trail racing is all about.  In conclusion, my goal is to have beer with friends in really cool places!”  Sounds like more XTERRA races are in their future.

XTERRA Announces Alliance with W Partners

XTERRA Announces Alliance with W Partners

Honolulu, HI – TEAM Unlimited, owners of the XTERRA World Tour, announced a strategic and exclusive partnership with Chicago-based W Partners, to manage their sales and marketing efforts to secure a new title sponsor and other high level corporate partnerships for XTERRA.

The alliance with XTERRA grows the W Partners platform into the world of endurance sports and a $575B outdoor recreation industry.

Tom Kiely, TEAM Unlimited CEO, said “I have known, and respected, Wally Hayward for many years and it has long been my wish that we would be working together. Now that W Partners is expanding beyond their initial client with the Chicago Cubs & Hickory Street Capital, they have accepted XTERRA as the next building block of their company. By virtue of this new alliance with Wally and the W Partners team, the XTERRA star will shine brighter and we could not be happier.”

Wally Hayward, W Partner CEO, said “I have been fortunate to experience many XTERRA Championships on Maui and it’s very impressive to see the global growth of XTERRA over the last 10 years with now over 300 events in 25 countries.  We believe the XTERRA community is a great demographic for brands trying to connect and engage with lifestyle enthusiasts in the United States and around the world.  We believe W Partners can help fuel XTERRA’s growth and create winning partnerships by aligning with brands that share a similar vision and mission.”

About TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA

TEAM Unlimited is a Hawaii-based television events and marketing company, founded in 1988.  It owns and produces XTERRA and in 2014 produced more than 300 XTERRA off-road triathlon and trail running races in 25 countries worldwide.  In addition, TEAM TV has produced more than 300 adventure television shows resulting in three Emmy’s and 42 Telly Awards for production excellence since 1990.  View samples at www.xterra.tv, and learn more at xterraplanet.com and xterratrailrun.com.

About W Partners

W Partners is a Chicago-based sales and marketing company focused in the world of sports and entertainment.  Founded in 2013 as a joint-venture with the Ricketts family, W Partners has negotiated some of the leading partnerships in the marketplace.  W Partners clients include Broadway in Chicago, Chicago Cubs, Choose Chicago, Hickory Street Capital, Entertainment Cruises and the James Beard Foundation Awards.  Sam Coghill and Wally Hayward were formerly with the Chicago Cubs as Head of Corporate Partnerships and the Chief Sales & Marketing Officer respectively, before leaving to create W Partners. To request more information on W Partners or any of its clients please contact info@wpartnersus.com.

Kualoa Rope Trail

Another Hawaiian-Style XTERRA on Horizon

Since January, thousands of runners have taken part in the worldwide 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 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship.

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. Located on the northeastern side of Oahu in the Hawaiian countryside, it is less than an hour from Honolulu.

The ranch terrain varies from dense rainforest 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 2015 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.

You can check out the promo piece for worlds at www.XTERRA.TV.

Patrick Smyth

Patrick Smyth will Return to the Ranch, Defend XTERRA Trail Run World Title

Patrick Smyth will return to Kualoa Ranch to defend his XTERRA World Championship half-marathon trail run title on Dec. 7.

“The course at Kualoa Ranch is amongst the most memorable, beautiful I’ve ever run on,” said Smyth, who hails from Salt Lake City, Utah. “That played a big role in my decision to come back, but more than anything I want to repeat as World Champ!”

Since focusing his running efforts on trail races last year Smyth has quickly made a name for himself as one of – if not the best – trail runners in the U.S.

Last year he won the XTERRA Trail Running National Championship in his first-ever trail race, then backed it up with a win at XTERRA Worlds (upsetting 5x champ Max King in the process).

This year Smyth won the U.S. Trail Half-Marathon Championships in Bellingham, Washington and was the top American (10th overall) at the World Mountain Running Championships held in Cassete de Massa, Italy in September.

“Those two races have been pretty huge for me,” said Smyth, who was a 7-time All-American across cross-country, indoor and outdoor track at Notre Dame. “The international field in Italy was incredibly deep and competitive, so I was thrilled to come away with a top-American, top-10 finish.”

Smyth is also thrilled to return to Hawaii, saying XTERRA Trail Run Worlds “is the culmination of my 2014 season. I’ve been gearing all my recent training towards this race. Afterwards I’ll turn my focus towards the U.S Cross Country Championships in Boulder, CO in February.”

Smyth said what he remembers most about last year’s race was “the beautiful setting, sweating profusely, and the crazy jungle descent at around 9-miles.” And his best advice for newcomers is to “try to take advantage of the few two-track open sections. They’re good opportunities to open up the stride and run fast over what is otherwise a very technical course… But more than anything take in the views and enjoy the experience!”

Learn more from Smyth about the course and running in general at the free XTERRA University trail running clinic to be held at 2pm during registration and packet pickup on Saturday, December 6 at the Waikiki Beach Walk.


Kapalua Trail Run

Kapalua Trail Runs Draw More than 1,000 Runners


Fittingly, a Duke won the women’s title at the Duke’s Beach House XTERRA 10-kilometer trail run today.

Dimity-Lee Duke from Roelands, Australia; and Kelly Guest from Victoria, B.C., Canada captured the Duke’s Beach House XTERRA 10K; Reid Hunter from Lahaina and Kalii Caldwell from Ogden, Utah captured the Hula Grill 5K titles; and hundreds of kids took part in the Kimo’s Keiki K trail runs on a beautiful morning at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.

Both Guest and Duke are elite XTERRA triathletes, but only Duke will double up and race in tomorrow’s XTERRA World Championship.

Guest, who took the lead somewhere after the first mile, posted a winning time of 40:55 that was nearly a minute faster than that of Rod Baybayan of Waipahu, HI.

“I love it here, the atmosphere is just awesome,” said Guest, who has participated at XTERRA in Maui several times.  This year he’s in Maui primarily to be part of his friend’s wedding.  Still, he said he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get out on the trails.

“The conditions were great out there for running.  There was really just one stretch of the downhill up by the lake that was slippery, the rest of it was nice hard-packed dirt, and soft sand. Trademark grueling XTERRA stuff,” said Guest.

For Duke, the run was a great way to preview the run course for tomorrow’s triathlon, which uses the exact same course.

“I hadn’t run that course before so it was an opportunity to see what it was all about,” said Duke, who finished 18 seconds ahead of runner-up Emilie Menuet from France with a winning time of 44:12. “Not too bad, a little slippery on the downhill sections but it dried out pretty good.  I’m really enjoying my XTERRA experiences this year. I have had the opportunity to race XTERRA Philippines and the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship races; and now the opportunity to have a look at it from the World Championship perspective. The friendliness and atmosphere is second to none.”

T S Restaurants awards winners

Seven runners received gift certificates from T S Restaurants for their winning performances on Saturday.

Guest and Duke won $100 gift certificates to Duke’s Beach House for being the top overall finishers in the 10K while Chris Pierre and Angie Wideman-Powell earned $100 Duke’s certificates for being the top Maui finishers in the 10K

Hunter (who is from Maui) and Caldwell won $100 gift certificates to Hula Grill for being the fastest overall in the 5K; and Leigh Galarita earned $100 from Hula Grill for being the fastest in the 5k from Maui.

XTERRA Hawaii Series

The Duke’s Beach House XTERRA 10K was the second of four events in 2014-15 XTERRA Hawaii Trail Run Series. The top finishers in each age group received points toward the overall standings of the series. At the conclusion of the series, each age-group champion from the Hawaii Series will receive a free entry to the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship, which is held every September in Utah.

The four events in the XTERRA Hawaii Trail Run Series:
– XTERRA Gunstock Ranch Trail Run in October at Gunstock Ranch in Laie, Oahu.
– XTERRA Kapalua 5k/10k Trail Runs in Kapalua (happened today)
– XTERRA Freedom Fest 5k/10K in July at Kualoa Ranch, Oahu
– The XTERRA Adventure Fest 5K and 10K in August in Kapalua, Maui

The upcoming XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch on Oahu December 7 is not part of the Hawaii Series, but is open to runners of all ages and abilities, from around the world. To register or learn more about it, please visit www.xterrakualoa.com.

Hunter McIntyre

On the “Hunt” for Success

Hunter McIntyre is one of the top ranked Spartan Obstacle Race athletes in the world. Recently, he decided to make the transition to the XTERRA SoCal trail race series. At the Point Mugu race on October 12th Hunter dominated the race, winning by two minutes over his closest competitor. When asked what his impression was of the XTERRA community, Hunter had this to say: “I had an awesome experience at the XTERRA Point Mugu event!! I really love the running community for how supportive and friendly they are, especially the trail runners.”

Some might think that a Spartan athlete would have difficulty transitioning to trail running, but Hunter believes that the two compare nicely: “The course was very hilly, something Spartans take great pride in tackling. The single track gave the opportunity to really pick up the pace which you rarely see in a Spartan event. Without obstacles I was a bit out of my element. I just hit the gas pedal hard around mile 6 and decided it was time to try winning this thing if I could survive the pace.” Hunter admits there are some differences between training for a Spartan and training to do an XTERRA race, but he believes his Spartan training gives him a solid base of running to work off of, saying,“The training I use for Spartan includes much more strength than an average runner would need to compete at a high level. I still have a major focus on being very conditioned for high speed trail running, but if I’m going to take on some of your world champion athletes like Max King, I’m going to need to focus more on raw running. I suggest every endurance athlete have a strong strength base, but for these races hard miles are king when it comes to winning.”

When asked if he would consider doing another XTERRA race Hunter replies, “I would love to make it to your next SoCal trail event! If I’m feeling fresh after worlds toughest you can expect to see me duking it out for another podium spot with you guys.” It looks like the XTERRA SoCal series will have a two-sport star in their future.

By Donald Quinn IV
XTERRA Trail Run Intern

Coming up next in the 2015 XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Series:

11/27/14 – XTERRA Topanga Turkey Trot Trail Run – Calabasas, CA – 5/10/15km
12/7/14 – XTERRA Crystal Cove Trail Run – Newport Beach, CA – 6/16km

Learn more about the XTERRA SoCal Series

Kapalua Trail Run

XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs for Everyone

For the fourth straight year the XTERRA Kapalua 5km and 10km Trail Runs on Saturday, October 25 will provide a chance for one-and-all to get dirty and experience the challenge of XTERRA’s grueling run course.

T S Restaurants of Maui serve as the title sponsor for the events, and the races are officially called the Duke’s Beach House XTERRA 10K, the Hula Grill XTERRA 5K, and the Kimo’s XTERRA Keiki Run.

To drive home the partnership with its employees T S Restaurants created a race within a race dubbed “The T S Restaurants XTERRA Challenge.” Each of the four restaurants will field a team of five runners and the team with the fastest cumulative time in the 5K race will take home the coveted TS Trophy.

Last year Hula Grill captured the perpetual trophy, which is proudly displayed at the restaurant all year round, for the second time in a row (Duke’s Beach House won the inaugural challenge back in 2011).

Collectively there will be more than 100 restaurant employees and the teachers they support running in the two races.

“We love partnering with the local schools on healthy, active, outdoor initiatives like this,” said Anderson. “It’s been a blast to see the teachers, along with a great representation from their respective student bodies, join in the runs.”

In all, more than 1,000 runners from around the world participated in the event last year. Both courses start at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, then traverse up and down the West Maui Mountains, and then along D.T. Fleming Beach before heading back to The Ritz. They are as picturesque as they are challenging.

“As far as views go, you can’t beat this race,” said two-time 10K winner Willie Schefer.

The 10K men’s and women’s winners and the top male/female Maui residents (if different) will each receive $100 Duke’s Maui gift certificate, while the 5K winners and top Maui racers will receive $100 gift certificates to Hula Grill. There are also prizes and medals for the top 3 in each division and all keiki runners receive a medal.  Plus, Leilani’s XTERRA Run Course primes will be awarded to the competitors with the fastest run times during the XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon.

The Kimo’s XTERRA Keiki Run is for boys and girls ages 10 and younger. It is free, although parents must be present to sign a waiver form at the site of the race. Race distances will vary from 100 yards to 1-kilometer, depending on the age of the child. Parents are welcome to stay on the course as well.

In addition, a Paul Mitchell cut-a-thon will be held at the site of the race. Runners and their families can get their hair cut by professional Paul Mitchell stylists, with all donations benefitting the Challenged Athlete Foundation.

The Hula Grill XTERRA 5K Trail Run and Duke’s Beach House XTERRA 10K Trail Run are open to runners of all ages and skill levels, and registration is available on-site at the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua starting Wednesday afternoon, Oct. 22. Learn more at http://www.xterraplanet.com/maui/mauiTrailRun.html.


Matt Haley

XTERRA Trail Runner Profile: Matt Haley

By Donald Quinn
XTERRA Trail Run Intern

Matt Haley has been dominating the XTERRA Georgia trail race series for quite some time now, having finished on the podium in every race he’s entered. Says Matt, “I keep coming back to the XTERRA Georgia Series because Tim Schroer and the crew from Dirty Spokes Productions put on great races. I love the atmosphere they create, the community they have built, and the courses they design. XTERRA Georgia offers a little bit of everything and that’s a fun change from my day to day running, which is mostly done on the road. The series takes advantage of some of the best trails in the metro Atlanta and North Georgia areas.

I also really enjoy the fact that it is a series not just a single day event. It’s fun to see how everyone progresses over the course of the series and there are always some really good battles both at the front of the races and down through the age groups. I know that every time I run an XTERRA Georgia race it’s going to be on a well thought out course that’s going to be both fun and challenging.”

Despite his long streak of success, Matt is still focused on challenging himself with new goals:

“My future racing goals are to keep progressing and keep trying to test myself with different distances and different races. I want to defend my XTERRA Georgia and Dirty Spokes trail series title and I’d like to take a shot at a couple of trail races up in the Chattanooga area; they have some really cool races up there. I would also like to lower my half marathon PR; right now it’s 1:13 but I think I can get down to 1:10 or faster. And I’d like to figure out a marathon to take a shot at; I haven’t been able to put the training together to run one, but it’s something that’s always been in the back of my mind as something I’d like to do. Really I just want to keep challenging myself.”

But don’t get too confident challengers, Matt says he will still be back for the XTERRA Georgia series this year: “Yes, I am hoping to defend my series title. I’ve already got the XTERRA dates marked on my race calendar. Winning the series last year was one of my goals and I had some really good battles, some good days and some bad days, but I was really proud to be able to be at the front of every race, especially since it’s a long series, beginning in September and finishing up in May. Winning the series is definitely one of my goals for 2014/15.”

Even though he’s a high-caliber XTERRA competitor, Matt still takes time to give advice to those who are new to the sport of trail running, saying, “Ditch the GPS/watch or at least don’t worry about time/distance/pace. Just go out and run by feel and have fun. Enjoy being out on the trail and all that comes with it. If you obsess over the pace or the distance you’re not going to enjoy trail running for what it is. It’s different. Embrace that part of it.”

This philosophy of enjoying running has without a doubt contributed to Matt’s success on the trails. When asked about his favorite race in the Georgia series Matt said, “That’s a tough question. They all have parts of them that I really enjoy, but if I had to pick one race I would say Little Mulberry Park. It’s one of my favorite spots to run because it has a ton of variety. The race features a little bit of everything: it has paved paths, gravel trails, parts of the high school cross country course, and of course trails. It has a couple tough climbs, but it also has some fast sections where you can really get rolling. Now that I’m talking about it, it’s hands down my favorite race in the series. Even the weather is normally perfect for it.”

So beware challengers for the 2014/15 XTERRA Georgia series championship: Matt Haley is on the trail, and he’s loving it!