(Anglesea, Victoria, Australia) – The power couple of XTERRA, Ben Allen from Australia and Jacqui Slack from Great Britain, captured the 2nd running of the XTERRA Great Ocean Road off-road triathlon amidst a perfect bright blue sky day in the seaside town of Anglesea, Victoria on Sunday.
Interestingly, Allen didn’t post the fastest swim, bike, or run time but still crossed the tape nearly three minutes ahead of Roger Serrano from Spain with a winning time of 1:57:14. Drew Box, an Aussie ITU racer, was first out of the water and also posted the fastest run split (just 11 seconds faster in both disciplines than Allen) while Serrano had the best bike split.
The lead Box held out of the swim-to-bike transition area at Anglesea River-mouth Park didn’t last long as Allen and Serrano sped along the early stages of the bike route that featured breathtaking views of the Surf Coast Walk before dipping into some rugged Australian bushland and single track.
Serrano, a friend of Allen who came to Australia to experience the culture and tackle the two majors (Great Ocean Road and the inaugural XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race in NSW on April 26) was in the mix on the bike all day.
“I tried hard to stay with Ben in the technical sections but he was too fast. I had a couple of close calls not to crash, but it was still great fun out there,” said Serrano.
Allen and Serrano came into the bike-to-run transition together, then Allen pulled away and put the hammer down on the 10K trail run that featured a mixture of soft sand, cliff face and headland.
“I had fun out there today,” said Allen. “I raced smart and in control. I had a plan and I executed it to perfection. I'm honored to win on home soil in front of my family and friends. A huge highlight was crossing the line with my nephew Jayden. My whole family came down to support Jacqui and I. It's the best feeling in the world to put on a good performance and show them what I can do.”
It’s Allen’s first major win of the season, coming off a 2013 career-year when he posted an unprecedented seven XTERRA World Tour race victories. Serrano held on for second and Box ran his way into third position. Dr. Mitch Anderson, a former Ironman Champion, placed fourth and Alex Hunt was fifth.
|1||Ben Allen, AUS||1:57:14|
|2||Roger Serrano, ESP||2:00:07|
|3||Drew Box, AUS||2:02:40|
|4||Mitchell Anderson, AUS||2:05:27|
|5||Alex Hunt, AUS||2:07:08|
|6||Sam Kidd, AUS||2:08:19|
|7||Jarad Kohlar, AUS||2:12:13|
|8||Eduardo Sturla, ARG||2:13:45|
|9||Ben Pattie, AUS||2:14:52|
|10||Noah Wright, USA||2:22:26|
|Also: Tim Beardall|
SLACK DOMINATES WOMEN’S RACE
In the women's race Aussie ITU and IM 70.3 great Annabel Luxford started strong in her XTERRA debut using her Aussie surf skills to lead Slack out of the water. Of note, age grouper Natalie Marshall - a champion Surf Swimmer - exited 1st ahead of both of them.
Slack showcased her XTERRA mountain bike skills right away by riding through the soft sand and into the trails in the first 200-meters, a spot where Luxford had to walk her bike through, and there was no looking back after that. Slack posted the quickest bike and run splits on the day to cross the line in 2:16:19, more than 11-minutes ahead of runner-up Deanna Blegg.
“I had a solid ride but had no idea how far ahead I was,” said Slack, winner of four XTERRA World tour races last season. “I took off on the run hard for the first 5km and once I knew I had a big lead I was able to enjoy the second half of the run and embrace the support from the crowds, family & friends that cheered me on. It's always a huge highlight sharing the top spot of the podium with Ben. We are both very grateful for the opportunity to race and all those who support us on this journey.”
Penny Hosken finished less than a minute behind Blegg in third, with local favorite Peri Gray in fourth and Luxford in fifth.
|1||Jacqui Slack, GBR||2:16:19|
|2||Deanna Blegg, AUS||2:27:49|
|3||Penny Hosken, AUS||2:28:41|
|4||Peri Gray, AUS||2:29:51|
|5||Annabel Luxford, AUS||2:31:22|
|6||Bernadette Dornom, AUS||2:34:52|
|7||Rebecca Hoschke, AUS||2:35:47|
Also on the day age-groupers lined up to race for Victorian Off-Road Championship titles and qualification spots into the XTERRA World Championships in Hawaii. Anglesea local Sam Hume won the men’s amateur title and placed 4th overall, edging Daniel Neilson by just over a minute in 2:05:14. Naantali Marshall won the women’s amateur title, placing fifth overall among women. Hundreds of other competitors took on the XTERRA Sprint Tri, 21km Trail Run and 10km Trail Run/Walk events.
Next up on the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour is XTERRA Saipan on April 5, then XTERRA New Zealand on April 12, followed by the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Jervis Bay, New South Wales on April 26.
2014 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING EVENTS
XTERRA Great Ocean Road was the sixth of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26, 2014. Up next, the XTERRA Saipan Championship on April 5.
|Date||Race||Location / Pro Winners
|23-Feb||XTERRA South Africa||Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy|
|8-Mar||XTERRA Motatapu||Braden Currie / Nicky Samuels|
|15-Mar||XTERRA Philippines Championship||Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher|
|29-Mar||XTERRA Guam Championship||Dan Hugo / Renata Bucher|
|29-Mar||XTERRA Costa Rica||Leonardo Chacon / Shonny Vanlandingham|
|30-Mar||XTERRA Great Ocean Road
||Ben Allen / Jacqui Slack|
|5-Apr||XTERRA Saipan Championship||Northern Marianas|
|12-Apr||XTERRA New Zealand Championship||Rotorua|
|13-Apr||XTERRA West Championship||Lake Las Vegas, Nevada|
|26-Apr||XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship||Jervis Bay, New South Wales, Australia|
|17-May||XTERRA Southeast Championship||Pelham, Alabama|
|24-May||XTERRA Mauritius||Bois Cheri|
|25-May||XTERRA Spain Championship||Cieza, Murcia|
|8-Jun||XTERRA Brazil Championship||Ilhabela, Sao Paulo|
|15-Jun||XTERRA East Championship||Richmond, Virginia|
|21-Jun||XTERRA Greece||Lake Plastira|
|28-Jun||XTERRA Switzerland Championship||Vallee de Joux|
|5-Jul||XTERRA Ontario - Canadian Cross Tri Championship||Milton, Ontario, Canada|
|6-Jul||XTERRA France Championship||Xonrupt, Gerardmer|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Victoria||British Columbia, Canada|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Freedom Fest||Kualoa Ranch, Oahu, Hawaii|
|19-Jul||XTERRA Mountain Championship||Beaver Creek Resort, Avon, Colorado|
|20-Jul||XTERRA Ireland||Killaloe, County Clare|
|26-Jul||XTERRA Italy Championship||Abruzzo, Scanno|
|2-Aug||XTERRA Mexico Championship||Tapalpa, Jalisco|
|9-Aug||XTERRA Czech Championship||Prachatice|
|16-Aug||XTERRA Germany Championship||Zittau|
|17-Aug||XTERRA Canmore||Alberta, Canada|
|24-Aug||XTERRA England||Cranleigh, Surrey|
|31-Aug||XTERRA Quebec||Lac Delage, Quebec, Canada|
|7-Sep||XTERRA Sleeping Giant||Thundery Bay, Ontario, Canada|
|20-Sep||XTERRA USA Championship||Ogden/Snowbasin, UT|
|26-Oct||XTERRA World Championship||Maui, Hawaii|
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 2014 will offer more than 300 XTERRA off-road triathlon and trail running races in 25+ countries worldwide. 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 xterraplanet.com and xterratrailrun.com.