If Max King is entered in an XTERRA Trail Run race, he’s usually the man to beat.
The 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch will be no different, as King is considered the favorite to win it for the third consecutive year.
King, who is 30 and resides in Bend, Oregon, won his second consecutive XTERRA Trail Run World Championship last year, when he completed the 21-kilometer course in a record time of 1 hour, 14 minutes, 26 seconds. The runner-up, Joseph Gray, came in nearly three minutes later at 1:17:21. It was the second consecutive year that King won the world championship race by a comfortable margin.
Among last year’s top 10 overall finishers, only King and fifth-place Fujio Miyachi of Japan are back this year.
Most of the other top male contenders in 2010 are running at Kualoa Ranch for the first time, which brings an element of the unknown into the mix.
For example, William Christian from Virginia, Boone Ebel from Arizona, Brandon Mader from Alabama, and Eric Maki from Colorado are all proven winners in their respective home states, but none of them has raced against King in an XTERRA Trail Run race, let alone on the challenging course at Kualoa Ranch.
The top Hawaii contenders include Mark Speck, who placed sixth overall in the 2008 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, and Christian Friis, who placed 11th overall last year.
The women’s title appears up for grabs, as a new XTERRA Trail Run World Champion will be crowned.
The 2009 champion, Fiona Docherty of New Zealand, and the 2008 champion, Cynthia Anderson of Hawaii, are not entered this year.
Among the top 10 women from last year, No. 5 Jenny Tobin of Idaho, No. 7 Rachel Cieslewicz of Utah, No. 9 Cristina Begy from Hawaii and No. 10 Melanie McQuaid of Canada are back this year.
The female entry creating the most buzz in 2010 is Sally Meyerhoff of Arizona. She is a recognized name in the running world, and set the American record for a 10-mile road race at the 2009 Cherry Blossom 10 Miler.
It is worth noting that a record number of entries (more than 1,500) from around the world are in the field this year, so a dark horse contender could literally emerge from anywhere to challenge for a world title.
RUNNERS OF ALL AGES READY FOR KUALOA RANCH
Runners ranging in age from 12 to 75 will be competing for world titles at the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship on Sunday, Dec. 5, at Kualoa Ranch.
While the elite runners such as Oregon’s Max King – the two-time defending overall champion of the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship – get most of the publicity, most of the field will be competing for amateur age-group titles.
The youngest division is 10 to 14, and 12-year-old Michael Lazich will be the youngest runner in the championship field. He is in the seventh grade at Aliamanu Middle School in Honolulu, and is racing in an XTERRA Trail Run for the first time.
“He runs cross country for his school, but he always wants to do longer races, so he did a (road) half-marathon in August,” said his mother, Liz. “After he did that, I felt better because at least I knew he could handle the longer races.”
The oldest runner in the field is George Taylor of Canada, and he is already a two-time world champion. He won the men’s 70-74 age division in both 2008 and 2009.
Interestingly enough, Taylor discovered the 2008 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship by chance while he was on vacation in Hawaii.
“I was walking along the street there in Waikiki and saw all these people signing up for XTERRA,” he explained. “I stopped to find out what it was all about and when they told me it was a run on the other side of the island and how beautiful it was going to be, I signed up. And then I was hooked. I’ve been back every year since and hope to keep coming every year.”
ADVICE FOR RUNNING AT KUALOA RANCH
Dynamic, beautiful and technical are just some of the words that experienced runners use to describe the course at Kualoa Ranch.
The trails at Kualoa Ranch are normally closed to the public and there will be no pre-race practice runs, so the XTERRA World Championship race offers a rare opportunity to run along the pristine and picturesque course that overlooks the Pacific Ocean.
The XTERRA Trail Run World Championship will offer three separate courses. The 21-kilometer long trail will serve as the championship course; there will also be a 10-kilometer and a 5-kilometer course for less-experienced runners.
Although the course is normally closed even to the home-state Hawaii runners, a couple of them with past success at Kualoa Ranch offered some advice for the 21-kilometer course.
Mark Speck (Honolulu), winner of the men's 35-39 age group at the 2008 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship: "Kualoa offers a dynamic course. It has nicely groomed access roads as well as somewhat technical single track trails. There are several challenging grades, especially following fast flatter sections and fast descents. The mauka (mountain) side of the course is humid and wet, so I hope the runners enjoy perspiring copious amounts of fluid."
XTERRA NATIONAL AND WORLD CHAMPIONS IN THE FIELD
Several runners with past success in XTERRA Trail Run championship races are entered in this year’s field.
The XTERRA Trail Run National Championship was held on Sept. 18 at Bend, Oregon. Max King took the overall title there and is considered the favorite for the world title as well.
The runners who won national championships in Bend running at Kualoa Ranch:
Joan Cottrill (women 45-49), Ohio
Larry Dunlap (men 65-69), Oregon
Kenneth Harrison (men 70-74), Ohio
Max King (overall men), Oregon
Lee Saltonstall (women 60-64), Hawaii
Hannah Schultz (women 20-24), Washington
The runners who won world titles at Kualoa Ranch last year and are back this year:
Jarrell Hibler (male 10-14), Hawaii
Jesse Story (men 15-19), Hawaii
Max King (overall men), Oregon
Fujio Miyachi (men 30-34), Japan
Scott Dunlap (men 40-44), California
Ash Dustow (men 50-54), Hawaii
Edward Bugarin (men 55-59), Hawaii
Justin Costa (men 60-64), Hawaii
George Taylor (men 75-79), Canada
Cristina Begy (women 35-39), Hawaii
RUNNING FOR A CURE
Every runner in the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship will be making a difference.
In addition to determining the world champions of trail running, the event will benefit the Hawaii Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. A portion of every entry fee will go to JDRF-Hawaii to help in its ongoing efforts to find a cure.
"The athletes who come from around the world to participate in this spectacular event embody the kind of discipline, commitment and personal inner strength it takes to be a champion," JDRF executive director Manya Levin said. "We at JDRF see this very mix every day in our families, who demonstrate the same courage, discipline and commitment in the 24/7/365 management of their type 1 diabetes. The challenge is mighty."
More than 5,000 people in Hawaii have type 1 diabetes, and at least one of them will be competing in the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship.
Andrea Huston, 33, has been living with type 1 diabetes since 1999. Every day, she has to administer her blood sugar levels and inject insulin into her body to help control the disease.
That's never stopped her from competing. Huston has completed several triathlons in recent years, and will run the 10-kilometer course at Kualoa Ranch on Sunday.
TEAM X-T.R.E.M.E. (TRAIN, REHABILITATE, EMPOWER, MOTIVATE AND ENDURE)
Four runners from the inspirational Team X-T.R.E.M.E. will participate in the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at Kualoa Ranch for the first time.
Team X-T.R.E.M.E. is a non-profit organization designed to raise awareness and funds for military service members who were wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The four members of the team will run the entire race with gas masks secured to their faces to symbolize their initiative. Running with the mask will create 20 to 25 percent oxygen resistance, but as Team X-T.R.E.M.E. founder and president Jeremy Soles said: “not nearly as difficult as living with Traumatic Brain Injury, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, learning to walk again with prosthetics, or living the rest of your life burned over 30 percent of your body.”
Soles first ran a race with a gas mask in June 2009 as a way to honor his mother, who had just passed away from cancer. The mask drew so much attention that Soles decided to create Team X-T.R.E.M.E. shortly after.
In 2010, the team has already completed eight races around the country, and raised more than $7,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.
The four runners from Team X-T.R.E.M.E. who will be running in the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship are Soles, Colin Bunn, Rocky Motley and Jim Snyder. They will make the trip from the Virginia/North Carolina area to run in Hawaii.
They are dedicating the race to James Raffetto, a Navy Corpsman who lost both his legs (above the knees) and part of his left arm while on a recon mission in Afghanistan in October.
Team X-T.R.E.M.E. is also covering the travel costs to have Raffetto and his wife, Emily, accompany the team on the trip to Hawaii from Washington, D.C.
For more information, or to make a donation, visit www.teamxtremerunning.org.
LAST CHANCE TO REGISTER
It’s not too late to join the fun at the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship.
The final opportunity to register is on Saturday, Dec. 4. A registration tent will be set up at the Waikiki Beach Walk on Lewers Street, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
CONTACT THE XTERRA TRAIL RUN SERIES
Toll-free: 877-XTERRA-1 (877-983-7721)
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