Defending champion offers advice for runners
A lot of trail races promise a course with a little bit of everything. The XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs actually delivers it.
Imagine a roller-coaster of a course that includes: a start alongside one of the most luxurious hotels in the world (The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua), dusty pineapple plantation fields, an evergreen forest, a "golf ball graveyard" alongside an abandoned golf course, a section of rocky dry creek bed, and a beach run on pristine white sand overlooking the sparkling blue ocean.
Runners of all ages and skill levels will get another chance to experience it for themselves on Saturday, October 27.
"The course is amazing," said Nick Walker, an elite runner from Victoria, B.C., Canada. "It is a challenging, but very rewarding course. With big climbs to amazing views, and fast and fun single track descents, the course satisfies all your racing needs."
Walker should know. He won the race last year, completing the 10-kilometer course in 40 minutes, 42 seconds.
(Nick Walker pictured, courtesy XTERRA Photos)
The XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs actually consists of two courses - the Duke's Beach House XTERRA 10K and the Hula Grill XTERRA 5K. Both courses are open to runners of all ages and skill levels.
According to Walker, the courses are moderate enough for beginners, yet challenging enough for elites. The only problem for the elite runners might be not having enough time to enjoy the variety of views.
"Some of my favorite sections of the course are the steep climb through the pineapple plantation with thousands and thousands of golf balls on the hillside," Walker said. "Next would have to be the narrow single track trail down the ridge to the rocky creek bed just before you punish us with a couple hundred meters of soft sand before we climb to finish at the amazing Ritz-Carlton."
As an added bonus, all of this takes place under the sunny blue skies and gentle breezes that only Maui can offer. "The weather is nothing short of beautiful," Walker said. "With the race right on the ocean, you get a nice cool sea breeze at the start/finish area. As you climb the hillside the temperature gets warmer and warmer, and it's important to get in fluids to stay hydrated."
(2011 XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs pictured, courtesy XTERRA Photos)
Last year was the inaugural year of the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs. In years prior, XTERRA hosted a trail run at Makena, on the other side of the island of Maui.
Walker won the last two races at Makena in 2009 and 2010, and last year's victory at Kapalua made it three in a row on the island of Maui for him. He has been able to return each year - and will be back to defend his title again this year - thanks to the first-place prize: roundtrip airfare from Hawaiian Airlines. The male and female winners of the Duke's Beach House XTERRA 10K will again receive airfare from Hawaiian Airlines.
Walker has some advice for runners who will be making their way to Kapalua for the event this year: "Do 10 minutes of slow jog or walk to get the heart rate elevated and blood pumping. With the event starting with a couple kilometers of climbing, it's good to have the heart rate already elevated before the race starts. Start the race nice and controlled. You have a long climb ahead of you and you don't want to over exert yourself in the first few kilometers. Use the climb to establish a nice steady pace and then really let yourself roll on the down hills. At the top, be sure to take a moment to capture the amazing panoramic views of Kapalua. Be careful on some of the steep descents and don't be afraid to get those hands on your knees for the few steep climbs on the course. Race this race within yourself."
Walker also has some favorite activities outside of the race. Among them: "Obviously spending time on the beach and in the water is a must! I enjoy bodysurfing at Mokuleia beach or snorkeling off Wailea and Makena. One of my favorite sites to see is the Nakalele Blow Hole just a few kilometers past Kapalua. I also recommend a sunset dinner on the beach. Leilani's On The Beach in Whalers Village at Ka'anapali is a great place to see the sun drop and enjoy a nice cold mai tai."
Online registration for the event is open at www.xterramaui.com. There is also a free kids run for boys and girls age 10 and younger, called the Kimo's Keiki K.
XTERRA KAPALUA TRAIL RUNS
When: Saturday, October 27, 9 a.m. start
Where: Start/finish on the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Maui
Who: Open to runners of all ages and skill levels
Courses: Duke's Beach House XTERRA 10K, Hula Grill XTERRA 5K, Kimo's Keiki K
Entry fees: $45 for 10K, $35 for 5K, free for Keiki K (children 10-younger)