Meet the XTERRA World Champs

Oct. 29, 2010

Conrad Stoltz and Shonny Vanlandingham grabbed the lion's share of attention for winning the pro races in Maui, but there were also 24 age group athletes who won the XTERRA World Championship in their respective divisions, and we’ll take a look at each of them here…

Female Division, Name (Hometown) Time

Hannah Rae Finchamp15-19, Hannah Rae Finchamp (Altadena, California) 3:43:10
The youngest racer in the field was also the fastest.  Hannah Rae (pictured), a freshman at Maranatha High School in Pasadena, California, posted the best swim, bike and run times in her division and her finish line time would've been good enough for top 4 in any women's division.  "I really surprised myself," said Hannah Rae after the race. "I had so much fun, I definitely want to do it again."

20-24, Bettina Uhlig (Freiburg, Germany) 3:27:55
Uhlig, a full-time student in Freiburg, posted the fastest bike and run splits in her division to win the World Title by more than 10 minutes in just her first try at the Maui XTERRA course. Only former XTERRA pro Amber Monforte posted a faster amateur time.

25-29, Luisa Bryce (Denver, Colorado) 3:29:13
Dr. Luisa Bryce (she's a bilingual doctor of psychology) had the fifth-best swim time among amateur women, and pushed hard on the run to overtake the reigning XTERRA USA Champion Jessica Noyola and win the world title.  The former tri team member at the University of Wisconsin was the third overall amateur woman.

30-34, Amber Monforte (Reno, Nevada) 3:18:52
Amber MonforteIt was an amazing day for Monforte (pictured), who won the overall amateur title (she was the 13th woman ahead of eight pros), the Hawaiian Airlines Double crown (and the airfare that goes with it), and watched her boyfriend Conrad Stoltz become the first pro to win four world titles. In essence, Amber turned a “warm up” into a victory in Maui this year. She entered the XTERRA World Championship as a form of preparation for the Ultraman World Championships – a three-day, 320-mile event. “I had no expectations going in,” said Monforte, who is 32 and works as a nurse. “I did Ironman two weeks ago and then did this as part of my training for Ultraman. I went as hard as I could because I didn’t know how I would feel after Ironman, but it went really well.”   Monforte said she asked volunteers for updates on Stoltz throughout the course, and was two miles into her run when she was told that Stoltz’s victory was official. “The funny thing is all the reaction I got,” Monforte said. “Somebody said Conrad’s doing great, but the next person would say ‘Who’s Conrad?’ … When somebody told me Conrad won by about five minutes, it made my day.”

35-39, Martina Donner (Kotschach, Austria) 3:33:13
Martina missed winning the overall amateur title last year by just nine seconds to Darrelle Parker from London.  This year, she edged Parker (who had since turned pro and finished 15th among the elites) by 16 seconds.  The victory is her second straight in Maui, as she won the 30-34 division last year.  She's also the reigning XTERRA European Champion in the 35-39 division.

40-44, Kathleen Coutinho (Fairfax Station, Virginia) 3:34:31
Now in her 10th year racing XTERRA "Dr. Kathy" not only had her best result and fastest time, she may just have saved a life with an amazing display of on-course heroics as well.  Early in the bike Coutinho heard a scream and soon after rolled up on Tamara Donelson who had a freaky crash that caused her brake lever to puncture her upper arm.  Coutinho stopped, took off her racing jersey and used it to apply a tourniquet to stop the bleeding.  She got a shirt from another racer as well to strengthen the hold.  "I looked her in the eye and could see she was o.k., just in a world of pain," said Coutinho, who then took off uphill to get medics while another racer went downhill for the same purpose. The next XTERRA staffer she came upon, about 200 yards up the mountain, had already called in an evacuation team and Donelson was taken off the mountain and treated.  Another mile later Coutinho came across a racer who popped his tube, and she gave him her only one.  Appropriately, she wouldn't need that spare, and cruised across the finish line comfortably with a seven-minute margin of victory. We are happy to report Donelson is doing just fine, and her and Coutinho were able to share a warm moment at the awards celebration after the race.

45-49, Caroline Colonna (Taos, New Mexico) 3:34:47
For Colonna, a doctor of oriental medicine and mother of four, perseverance is the key.  After six attempts in Maui and a handful of second-place finishes she finally won it all.  "What an extraordinary day," said Colonna.  "Not only did I beat my long-time rival Kaja Polivkova, with whom I've become good friends, I also set my personal best by cutting 11 minutes from my time last year."   Colonna passed Polivkova (a two-time World Champ in the 45-49 division) at mile two of the run and never looked back. "Adrenaline is still coursing through me, and I can't wait until it all starts again next year."

50-54, Beverly Enslow (Metamora, Illinois) 3:42:05
Enslow owns the 50-54 division having won the last four consecutive XTERRA World Titles.  She also won the 45-49 division in 2002 and is in an elite club of amateurs with five world titles along with Peter Wood (7), Tom Lyons (7), Kent Robison (6), Wendy Minor (6), Barbara Peterson (5), Paul Hopwood (5), Ed Fattoumy (5) and Lorenn Walker (5).  Enslow is also a 5-time XTERRA USA Champion.

55-59, Beverly Watson (Priddis, Canada) 3:56:39
At 57-years-young Beverly Watson is just getting faster.  She took nearly 25 minutes off her winning time in 2008 despite also competing at the Ironman World Champs two weeks earlier and was the "oldest" competitor to complete the Hawaiian Airlines double by more than 20 years.

60-64, Libby Harrow (Vero Beach, Florida) 5:30:09
Libby had been waiting for this day since 2001, when she captured the 50-54 XTERRA World Title.  For more than a decade Harrow has been traveling the country and racing XTERRA. And, as chairperson of her county’s Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory (BAC) committee since its inception in 1993, Harrow has volunteered thousands of hours and helped in the construction of more than 76 miles of bike lanes, 57 miles of sidewalk, as well as several miles of unpaved trails.

65-59, Charlotte Mahan (Lenoir City, Tennessee) 5:58:34
All hail Charlotte Mahan, who at 65-years-of-age was the youngest-at-heart in Maui this year.  Mahan was the first female over 65 to compete at XTERRA , and thus the pioneer in creating the 65+ division.  "I am happy to have finally finished this race," said Mahan (pictured here with 70+ men's winner Ron Hill), who in previous years had not made the cut-off at T2.  "I will see you at some races next year because I am not done, but you'll have to find me a job at Maui because I ain't racing that one again!  (Unless, of course, I change my mind : )

Male Division, Name (Hometown) Time

15-19, Michael Keith (Somerset West, South Africa) 3:03:13
In his first try at XTERRA Worlds, and just his third triathlon ever, Michael Keith posted the 8th best bike split on the day, passed all five guys in his division that beat him out of the water, and edged Oliver Shaw by more than two minutes at the finish.  "I want to come back every year, this was the best race I've ever done in 11 years of various sports," said Keith.

20-24, Jiri Klima (Osek, Czech Republic) 2:57:59
Klima posted the fastest bike and run splits in his division and finished 35th overall, and 8th fastest amateur.  He was also the fastest amateur from the Czech Republic, and second only to Pro Jan Kubicek who placed 13th overall.

25-29, Pierre-Yves Facomprez (Nevers, France) 2:49:54
Facomprez, who is the mountain bike product manager for Look Cycle in France, started doing triathlons in August (coming from mountain bike racing), qualified for Worlds at XTERRA Switzerland in September, and was racing in Maui for the first time.  He came out of the water in 170th place (11th in his division) but turned in the fastest amateur bike split of the day (1:35:24) and the quickest run in his division to edge countryman Francois Carloni (the 2008 20-24 World Champ) by less than a minute.  "I remember looking around on the bike and forgetting for a few seconds that I was even racing.  I now have this picture in my head - the view of the ocean and other islands - and can fully confirm that a picture is worth a thousand words," said Facomprez, who also came away with two keen observations, "1. For all those who have watched the videos of Maui and can't believe racers are falling off their bikes for no reason like it looks on the screen - let me tell you the rocks here are as tricky to handle as they can get, and 2. For all those people who told me when I registered for my first XTERRA two months ago that I would get the virus...well, you were right!" Facomprez placed 20th overall, and was the second amateur across the line.  He intends to race as a professional in 2011.

Tim Van Daele30-34, Tim Van Daele (Burcht, Belgium) 2:48:28
Tim Van Daele (pictured) of Belgium is the world’s best XTERRA amateur triathlete, and that’s just the way he likes it. Van Daele repeated as the overall amateur winner at the XTERRA World Championship in 2010, with a time of 2:48:28, which was five minutes better than his time of last year. “I’ve been doing triathlons since I was 16,” said Van Daele, 30. “But I did not have a goal to be pro. I wanted to do normal work and still do triathlons.” Van Daele works 40 hours per week in the chemical industry in Belgium, and used his vacation time to travel to Maui for the XTERRA World Championship. “Because of my work, it is not possible for me to be pro right now,” he said. “I enjoy what I am doing now – work and do triathlons when I can.” Van Daele placed 18th overall, ahead of more than 20 professionals.

35-39, David Ballabio (Albavilla, Italy) 2:53:35
For Ballabio, who comes from a small town of 5,000 residents in the Como area of Italy where he makes furniture, his second trip to Maui was a rewarding one.  He was the fourth amateur to finish, 27th overall, and first of 47 in his division.  Three years ago he placed 2nd in his age group, and 41st overall.  "I am very happy to go back to Italy and show the jersey of world champion, but that will not change anything from when I left two weeks ago - same friends, same job, same habits," said Ballabio.  "Well, maybe something will change.  I will rest a few weeks to relax and then start to train ... as now I have a world title to defend!"  Ballabio also commented on the pre-race festivities, saying "the ceremony on the beach with the traditional rites of priests and warriors in the minutes before the start was really exciting for me."

40-44, Calvin Zaryski (Calgary, Canada) 2:58:16
"Coach Cal" has done it again by defending his 40-44 crown and winning his third XTERRA World title overall.  He's also guaranteed some TV time as he crossed the line just seconds before women's winner Shonny Vanlandingham.  Zaryski (pictured below) didn't have the best swim or bike in his division, but he turned it on during the run and finished with the fourth fastest run split among amateurs.

45-49, Mark Geoghegan (Honolulu, Hawaii) 3:06:26
Geoghegan, an engineer from Sydney, Australia who moved to Honolulu in 2001, was the first "Hawaii guy" to win a world title since 2007.  He also finished fourth in the Hawaiian Airlines Double competition after posting a 9:43:15 at Ironman Worlds for a combined 12:49:41.  It was his fifth straight double, and he won the amateur double in 2008.  "I passed the third place finisher Andreas Graf on the wet sand of Big Beach, but did not know where I was in my age group standings until Mark Rudder (2nd in the division) came up to me at the finish area with his race card and said I was first," said Geoghegan.  "XTERRA is the most fun race out there...before, during, and afterwards and the Kona Brew at the finish line my wife brought me was sweet!"

50-54, Tom Monica (Thousand Oaks, California) 3:21:26
Monica picked up his third XTERRA World Title in four years on Sunday, edging "Mr. XTERRA" and last year's 45-49 champ Casey Fannin by one-minute, 24 seconds.  It was his sixth race on Maui, and fifth time on the podium.  The biotechnology engineer/scientist is a director of process development for Amgen.  "Can't wait to race again, and go faster next year."

55-59, Valerio Curridori (Villacidro, Italy) 3:35:40
Curridori didn't have the fastest swim, bike, or run split in his division but he was the most consistent across the board to finish first among 17 in his division.

60-64, David Rakita (Durango, Colorado) 3:45:21
Rakita knows greatness.  Not only was his son, Branden, the fastest American in Sunday's race, he also works as a physical therapist specializing in orthopedic PT in the same complex where women's champion Shonny Vanlandingham resides. After two second place finishes in Maui behind his hero Kent Robison, Rakita got everything right this time.  "I was pleased to win but more just to have a good race where pacing worked out and I wasn't in "survival shuffle" during the run."

65-59, Peter Wood (La Jolla, California) 4:06:19
With his victory on Sunday 67-year-old Peter Wood joins Tom Lyons as the only other 7-time winner at the XTERRA World Championship.  Wood has won his division in six of the last seven years, and took home his first title in 1999 when he was racing in the 55-59 division.  His winning time was a full 40 minutes ahead of runner-up Scott Sullivan and would have been fast enough for 2nd in the 60-64 division.

70+, Ron Hill (Hayden, Idaho) 5:44:54
At 73-years-of-age Ron Hill may have been the oldest racer out there, but he certainly wasn't the slowest. Hill, who is retired, was competing in Maui for the third time. “It’s terribly tough, very intimidating – so intimidating, it’s scary sometimes out on that course,” said Hill, who has two children and 7 grandchildren. “But you never know what you can do until you try, so I’ll keep trying."

Fouad FattoumyChallenged, Fouad Fattoumy (Honolulu, Hawaii) 3:44:08
Fouad "Ed" Fattoumy, who moved to Hawaii from Morocco nearly a decade ago, won the physically challenged division XTERRA World Title for the fifth time in six years but that hardly matters to him.  "We all have different challenges, and I would give my medal to another challenged athlete in a heartbeat, I am so honored to race with them," said Fattoumy, who was hit by a car while riding his bike several years that resulted in spinal cord damage and chronic fatigue.  Legally blind racer Michael Stone was 2nd in the PC division with the help of his guide, former XTERRA pro Jared Berg, while Craig Vogstberger, who is visually impaired and partially paralyzed, placed third.  Above, from left to right, Stone, Fattoumy, Vogstberger.

CEO Challenge, Stef Oud (Son, Netherlands) 5:23:07
Oud, 45, is a partner for Deloitte Consulting in the Netherlands.  This was his second year competing in Maui, and as he puts it, "I'm really just happy to finish."