Four-time former world champ skipped last year's race
If all goes well for Max King on his trip to Hawaii later this month, it will be part reclamation, part redemption, and part vacation.
The 33-year-old is on a mission to regain the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship crown, and redeem himself for an uncharacteristic race in Utah back in September.
The XTERRA Trail Run World Championship is scheduled for November 24 at Kualoa Ranch, Hawaii, and King is returning to the 21-kilometer race this year after skipping it last year for the birth of his daughter. He won the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011.
"The scenery of the course easily stands out as one of the main draws to the Kualoa course," said King, who resides in Bend, Oregon. "Not only that, but it's a challenging half-marathon that still requires a good amount of speed training to do well. It's got everything a good trail race should have. The climb at mile 9 is the one challenge of the course that usually decides the outcome. It can make or break a race, so good hill training is essential."
King had to condense his training for this event due to a recent ankle injury. Following an atypical 11th place finish at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship at Ogden, Utah, he took some time off to allow his ankle to heal.
"It's not yet at 100 percent, but I would say 95 percent and it's feeling good," King said. "The loss in Utah definitely stung, but I had to write it off to injury and be realistic about my fitness at that point. Just turned out I was in a lot worse shape than I expected."
Regardless of how King does at Kualoa Ranch on November 24, he said he will take some time to enjoy the sights and attractions that only Hawaii can offer while on his trip.
"I absolutely take some time each trip to do a little sightseeing," he said. "I have enough to write a travel book. Last time I was there, I took a little trip up the coast from Kualoa Ranch to stop at a local shrimp truck, then ducked into a jungle trail for a second run. I've been there four years, and still finding new trails to run."
In King's absence last year, Joseph Gray from Washington and Ben Bruce from Arizona crossed the finish line simultaneously and were declared co-champions. Gray has committed to return this year, while Bruce is still trying to confirm plans to return.
Lucy Smith from Canada took last year's women's title, and she will be back to defend her title.
Several other elite runners from around the world will chase the overall title of the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, but it is also a race for the everyday runner. There is no qualifying process, and runners of all ages and abilities can enter.
XTERRA TRAIL RUN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Where: Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii
When: Sunday, November 24, 9 a.m. start
Who: More than 2,000 runners of all ages and skill levels from around the world
Distances: 21 kilometers, 10 kilometers or 5 kilometers
Entry fees: $60 for 21K, $45 for 10K, $35 for 5K
Student/Military entries: $55 for 21K, $40 for 10K, $30 for 5K
Kualoa Ranch Adventure Walk: $35
Online registration: www.xterrakualoa.com