Ben & Jacqui: XTERRA World Tour Warriors
Last year Ben Allen, a 27-year-old surfer from the Australian Outback, turned the XTERRA mantra “Live More” into a personal challenge. To face it, he packed his bags and hit the road, competing in nearly every international XTERRA championship race on the schedule – New Zealand, Italy, Brazil, France, Czech, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, and the U.S.
An exceptional swimmer as a result of countless hours spent in the water winning Aussie surf life saving competitions, Allen was first out of the water in nearly every race he did. In the Amazon last June, he not only was first out of the water, but also first across the finish line to capture the XTERRA Brazil Championship.
While the win was his best result of a season that resulted in several podium finishes and a No. 6 ranking on the XTERRA European Tour, his biggest catch of the 2011 XTERRA World Tour came two weeks earlier on the romantic island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea. That’s where he met Jacqui Slack, a British firefighter by trade, who also loves surfing, traveling, and meeting new people. She proved to be a worthy off-road triathlete as well, having just finished fourth in the XTERRA Italy Championship behind only Euro Tour champ Marion Lorblanchet, the “Swiss Miss” of XTERRA Renata Bucher, and the up-and-coming star Carla Van Huyssteen from South Africa.
“Yup, that’s where we met,” said Allen, who finished third at XTERRA Italy last year, and today finds himself side-by-side with Slack on the shores of Guam in the far-off Western Pacific Ocean, preparing for their first of 13 XTERRA Championship events in 2012.
“It’s awesome to have someone to share the same experiences and up and downs. We are both aspiring to be winning professional athletes and hopefully we have the winning combination to take on the XTERRA World.”
Ben and Jacqui trained together in his hometown of North Wollongong in the off-season to prepare for their upcoming adventure that has them traveling more than 50,000 miles to five continents, culminating at the XTERRA World Championship in Maui.
“I love life. I love traveling around with Benny, and I love to train and race in triathlon,” said Slack, the British Cross Tri Series National Champ who is on a two-year sabbatical from her job as a fire fighter based in Staffordshire. “I did this so I could train 100% for triathlon and achieve my goal of being a World Champion. I wish to continue with my dream for as long as possible until I have fulfilled my potential.”
After the three-week XTERRA Asia swing with XTERRA Guam, Philippines and Saipan, the duo will have three-weeks to prep for XTERRA New Zealand and will then head back to Europe in April for the XTERRA European Series along with the British Elite Series of road tris for Jacqui.
Fueled by the same dream to be the best and live life to the fullest, the duo have been dubbed the XTERRA World Tour Warriors, and will most certainly “Live More” in 2012.