2012 winners Auerbach and Schefer will be back for more
Running in the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs can have a profound effect. Just ask Ben Auerbach and Willie Schefer.
Auerbach and Schefer ran in the event for the first time last year, and they each walked away with first-place medals - Auerbach for the Hula Grill XTERRA 5K and Schefer for the Duke's Beach House XTERRA 10K. Since then, they can't get enough of the trails.
"I ran cross country in college, but last year at Kapalua was my first actual trail race," said Schefer, who moved to Kihei, Maui, from New York in 2012. "Ever since that experience, I've become addicted to trail running. All my training is in the mountains now."
The course at Kapalua is one of the most unique trails in the world. It starts on the pristine lawn fronting the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua resort, then takes runners into a variety of sights and terrains along the West Maui Mountains. The course then ends with a run along the beach.
"Honestly, just running with all that scenery around you is like a complete distraction from the pain of running, because it actually is a tough course," Schefer said. "It's like you're immersed in nature up on those mountain trails, and then all of a sudden you pop out on the beach and have to run in the soft sand. It's like euphoria at the end when you think back to all that scenery."
Auerbach works as a trainer / fitness instructor at One Fitness in nearby Kaanapali, and after his race experience of last year, he started taking some of his clients to run on the trails at Kapalua.
"A lot of my clients are first-timers to the area, so when we get to the top and look at the views down at the ocean, you can't beat that," Auerbach said. "It's a nice reward for running to the top."
Auerbach said his running background was in shorter distances for track, and he didn't necessarily like running in distance races … until last year's XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs.
"This race has so many twists and turns, and so many different challenges for a 5K," Auerbach said. "It's definitely unique."
The 10K and 5K races at Kapalua are open to runners of all ages and abilities. In addition to the 10K and 5K, there will be the Kimo's Keiki K, which is a free sprint race for children 10 and younger.
For the first time, the Duke's Beach House XTERRA 10K will count toward the XTERRA Hawaii Trail Run Series. The top runners in every age group will earn points toward the overall standings for the Hawaii Series, and a chance to earn a free entry to the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Utah in September 2014.