(Honolulu, HI) - The International Triathlon Union (ITU) has selected TEAM Unlimited/XTERRA to produce the 2012 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama, on May 19.
"The triathlon and multisport family is extensive and far reaching and ITU is delighted to form a partnership with XTERRA for our 2012 Cross Triathlon World Championships. We are confident the strong race organization and dynamic course will continue to push Cross Triathlon to a new level," said Marisol Casado, ITU President & IOC Member.
It is the first time the event will be held in the United States. ITU hosted the inaugural Cross Tri World Championships last year in Extremadura, Spain, where four-time XTERRA World Champion Conrad Stoltz from South Africa and three-time XTERRA World Champion Melanie McQuaid from Canada won the elite titles.
The ITU Cross Tri World Championships will be held in conjunction with the seventh-annual XTERRA Southeast Championship race with local support from Shelby County, City of Pelham, City of Hoover, Oak Mountain State Park and the Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers (BUMP).
"Oak Mountain State Park is amazing, and I know I speak for all of us when I say we love racing there," said Stoltz, who has won the last five Southeast Championship races. "It's a true XTERRA course with a nice warm water swim in a beautiful lake, a real mountain biker's course with climbing, technical sections, and fun corners, and a tough but scenic run. This course is fully worthy of hosting a big international field of off-road triathletes."
The event will feature $20,000 USD in prize money for elite athletes, who will compete over a 1.5km swim, 30km mountain bike and 10km trail run. Under-23, junior, age-group and paratriathlon races will also be contested in Pelham.
"We are excited about bringing the ITU Cross Tri World Championships to the U.S.," said XTERRA managing director Dave Nicholas, who served as the Team USA Manager at the ITU Championships in Spain last year. "By combining the XTERRA series with ITU we are reaching new heights in cooperation between directors and the federations, and the venue at Oak Mountain and Shelby County are perfect for this event."
Oak Mountain State Park was honored as one of America's best trail destinations in the Spring 2011 edition of Runner's World Magazine, where the twisting, rolling trails made the "Crown Jewels - 25 best trail runs in America" list. BUMP, the local trails advocacy group, has spent more than 100,000 hours in design and construction of new trails over the past 20 years.
"Outdoor sports enthusiasts from around the world have discovered that Shelby County's Oak Mountain State Park provides unparalleled resources," said Alex Dudchock, Shelby County Manager. "Our collaborations with the State of Alabama, City of Pelham, City of Hoover, Birmingham Urban Mountain Pedalers and other organizations have made extensive improvements possible to the already top-rated course, creating a destination for the serious competitor or for those discovering the thrills of outdoor sports."
XTERRA competitors have been praising the trails at Oak Mountain since the first XTERRA staged there in 2006. Shonny Vanlandingham, the 2010 XTERRA World Champion, said "I've raced all over the world, and I just love coming back to Oak Mountain every year. It is perhaps the best course in the nation."
"We are pleased to create this regional cooperation and look forward to welcoming athletes from around the world to compete in this prestigious event," said Hoover Mayor Gary Ivey.
The unique format for the 2012 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships also provides a spectator friendly competition for the men's and women's pro-only races featuring multiple loops on the bike and run courses that will pass through the main athlete village and around scenic Double Oak Lake. The under-23, junior, age-group and paratriathlon race courses will be staged on more traditional single-loop short and long courses to allow for the larger fields.
QUALIFYING FOR TEAM USA
There are two ways to qualify for the 2012 ITU Cross (Off-Road) Triathlon World Championship:
1. 2011 Cross Triathlon World Championships: All Team USA athletes who attended or qualified for the 2011 ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship in Extremadura, Spain.
a. These athletes are granted an automatic slot on the team to race in 2012
b. The Team USA Department will be emailing these athletes on February 15, 2012 with instructions on when and how to register for the 2012 team.
2. Skills based process: Email the Team USA Department (teamusa [at] usatriathlon.org) with a link to your best race finish result from any 2011 cross (off-road) triathlon result to be considered for the team.
a. Once the Team USA Department receives your email you will receive an email back with one of two responses:
i. An acceptance email with information on how to register for team
ii. A disallowance email that states you did not qualify for the team
*Please note if you do not receive an email response back from the Team USA Department within 1 week, please re-send your email as it may have gotten lost in a spam folder.
b. The deadline to submit a race result is: April 9th, 2012
Athletes are required to register with their national federation. U.S. athletes need to qualify via the procedures described above and can find more information atwww.TeamUSATriathlon.org.
OPEN TO EVERYONE
In addition to the ITU Cross Tri World Championship races XTERRA will also host open sprint distance off-road triathlons for those that do not qualify. Plus, in addition to the triathlons on Saturday, XTERRA will host 5km and 10km mud runs as well as half-and-full trail marathon races that will twist and turn through the park's single track trails on Sunday, May 20.
To complement the races, Oak Mountain offers a wealth of family activities (wildlife center, swimming beach, fishing, horseback riding, golfing, boat rental, etc.) while lodging, eating and shopping opportunities abound right outside the park.
About the International Triathlon Union (ITU):
The International Triathlon Union is the world governing body for the Olympic sport of Triathlon and all related MultiSport disciplines including Duathlon, Aquathlon, Cross Triathlon and Winter Triathlon. ITU was founded in 1989 at the first ITU Congress in Avignon, France. It has maintained its headquarters in Vancouver, Canada since then and also has offices in Lausanne, Switzerland and Madrid, Spain. It now has over 120 affiliated National Federations on five continents and is the youngest International Federation in the Olympic Games. Triathlon was awarded Olympic Games status in 1994 and made its Olympic debut in Sydney 2000. Triathlon is also featured in the Asian Games, Pan American Games and Commonwealth Games. Paratriathlon was accepted into the Paralympic Games in 2010 and will make its Paralympic debut in Rio 2016. ITU is proudly committed to supporting the development of the sport worldwide through strong relationships with continental and national federations, working with its partners to offer a balanced sport development programme from grassroots to a high-performance level. For more information, visit: www.triathlon.org
ITU Media Contact:
Paula Kim, Senior Manager of Communications
Email: paula.kim [at] triathlon.org Tel: +1 604 904 9248 Mobile: +1 604 780 3546
Or Visit ITU Online Media Centre: media.triathlon.org
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 2011 produced more than 100 XTERRA off-road triathlon and trail running races in 15 countries worldwide. In the U.S. alone nearly 200,000 participants took part in the XTERRA lifestyle last year while XTERRA's TV, publicity, advertising, online, and grassroots marketing efforts generated more than 400 million impressions. 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 www.xterraplanet.com andwww.xterratrailrun.com.
XTERRA Media Contact:
Trey Garman, Vice President
Email: trey [at] xterraplanet.com
About Oak Mountain State Park
As Alabama's largest park, Oak Mountain provides nearly 10,000 acres of pine-studded ridges and lush green hardwood bottoms. Runner's World Magazine recently named the running trails at Oak Mountain as one of "The Crown Jewels," listing them among the Top 25 Best Trail Runs in America. The park offers vacation cottages, golf, pro shop with snack bar, improved camping, picnicking, swimming, boating, fishing, hiking, mountain bike trails, backpacking, a demonstration farm and horseback riding and equestrian campground facilities. With the largest area and variety of outdoor recreational pursuits, Oak Mountain is sure to provide excitement for every member of the family.