The inaugural XTERRA on the island nation of Mauritius, situated in the Indian Ocean off the southeast coast of Africa, is this Saturday at the Bois Cheri Tea Estate bordering the mountainous Black River Gorges National Park.
XTERRA Hall-of-Famer and former world champion Nicolas Lebrun is on-site for the event and says the atmosphere is a little bit like Maui.
“It’s a beautiful island, and English is the official language but they all speak French which is good for me,” said Lebrun. “The title sponsor and host hotel is the Outrigger Mauritius Resort and Spa, and it is really nice. There is sugar can everywhere, and the run is pure adventure, really entertaining and gorgeous. Hopefully that will make up for my lack of training!”
Tim and Marie Cartwright, local organizers for the event, described Mauritius as a tropical paradise, “famous for its spectacular beaches, turquoise lagoon and lush, green mountains.” The race itself is set in a working tea plantation and the colonial gardens of the estate where deer and wildlife roam free.
“The swim takes place in the crater of an extinct volcano surrounded by beautifully managed tropical gardens and overlooked by the tea rooms – a popular tourist attraction,” said Tim Cartwright. “The mountain bike course is a mix of jeep road and technical single tracks, taking in much of the Mauritius MTB Championship course. On the run athletes will find lots of ups and downs, a couple of water crossings, single track climbs and technical descents. For me it is the most varied, beautiful and challenging terrain I have had the pleasure to run upon.”
XTERRA Mauritius is offering prize money for professionals and 15 qualifying spots into the XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui (October 26) for the top amateur finishers.
“Known primarily for her beaches and luxury hotels, this is a chance for everyone to discover the other side of Mauritius - and be welcomed by a passionate and friendly off-road community,” said Cartwright, who organizes live bands, food and entertainment for the family friendly after-party gathering.
The race supports the local non-profit organization Get Active! whose mission is to harness the proven power of sport to tackle social exclusion, physical inactivity and health issues.
For more information visit www.xterra-mauritius.com.