(Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Maui, HI) - One elite became an instant legend in her home country and another solidified his status among XTERRA’s all-time greats at the 19th running of the XTERRA World Championship on Sunday afternoon.
Flora Duffy, who first dreamed of becoming a world champion when she was 8-years-old, became the first pro triathlete from Bermuda to win a world title and Ruben Ruzafa from Spain captured his third XTERRA World Championship and wrapped up a perfect season that featured nine straight wins, the XTERRA European Tour Championship, the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship and the XTERRA USA Championship. Ruzafa and Duffy each received $20,000 for their respective victories.
More than 800 endurance athletes from around the world participated in the off-road triathlon, which started and finished at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua hotel on Maui. The course consisted of a 1-mile swim, a 20-mile mountain bike, and a 6- mile trail run.
It used to be all about the bike for Ruben Ruzafa, who has now posted the fastest bike split at all three XTERRA World Championship races he’s entered (and won) , but now he’s almost just as strong at swimming and running.
“I feel great, it’s incredible. Until you finish the race you don't know if you are going to win. Today, I knew it was going to be hard because Josiah was really good. I am surprised because I swam very well… but Josiah did really well in the ride, and running of course he was very fast. So, it wasn’t until the end of the course that I knew he was not there.”
Ruzafa came out of the water less than one-minute behind the leaders and made all that up and more to take the lead on the bike by the six-mile mark when he passed the other 11 riders in front of him and finally Ben Allen. More importantly, his 20:51 swim split was 1:45 faster than his toughest opponent, Josiah Middaugh.
He extended the gap on Middaugh by 50-seconds on the bike and even though the American XTERRA icon ran more than a minute faster in the final leg of the race, it wasn’t enough. Here’s how Middaugh explained it…
“I knew I had to have a really good swim. I had a great start today and I had the best swim I’ve ever had here. I was a little over two minutes behind the lead, but really close to the people I was racing with but Ruben was off ahead with an even better swim. He wasn’t too far off the front. I caught the top 5 on the bike really early and I put together the best race I have done here. It wasn’t quite enough to win but I'm very happy with second. I feel like I pushed really hard all the way through. I feel like I emptied the tank like 50 times and put every single thing into this race. Best day I’ve had.”
Aussie Ben Allen came out of the water up front with Mauricio Mendez, was the first out on the bike course after a quicker transition and held the lead until Ruzafa caught him at around mile four. Middaugh passed 33 people in front of him before he passed Allen at mile 13 and moved into second. Allen stayed in third the rest of the way. Here’s what he said after the race:
“I’m so stoked to back up my third-place last year. It’s been a roller coaster ride but I’ve finished top 5 in every race and to come here and back it up, it just goes to show it wasn’t a fluke last year and shows me that I’m a force to be reckoned with in the sport of XTERRA. I mean, I really dug deep today and had the attitude that I had nothing to lose and gave it a crack.”
Dan Hugo, who won seven races on the XTERRA World Tour this year, also came in to the main event in fine form. Much like Middaugh, he was happy with his effort, if not the result that came with it.
“The guys set the bar exceptionally high, maybe the best expression of XTERRA we have ever seen,” said Hugo. “Salute and credit where due, especially my friend Joe in second, so sublime, he’s in the best shape and he must be recognized for that. Personally, I came in digging and I really wish there was more but it felt great. I wish it felt this way but I went quicker.”
In a finish for the ages, Mauricio Mendez from Mexico City (who turned 19 earlier in the week) edged Bart Aernouts and Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz by two seconds. Aernouts went on to finish 6th and Stoltz was 7th.
“Being fifth place in my first year as a pro is unbelievable. When I started running I just told myself that this was a fight with me, nobody else,” said Mendez, who moved up eight spots from 13th to 5th with a blistering run split of 38:50 that was second only to Middaugh.
XTERRA WORLD CHAMPION (MEN)
Guillaume Jeannin from France was the top amateur finisher and placed 20th overall, and about a minute ahead of runner-up Lars Fricke.
Both Peter Wood and Ed Fattoumy picked up their 9th XTERRA World Championship crowns and are well positioned to get their 10th at next year's 20th XTERRA Maui race. Also of note, Dennis Brinson and David Rakita won their second titles.
|15-19||Maxim Chane||Falicon, France||2:55:37|
|20-24||Thomas Kerner||Burglengenfeld, Germany||2:53:27|
|25-29||Martin Kostelnicak||Bratislava, Slovakia||2:52:58|
|30-34||Guillaume Jeannin||Bergholtz-Zell France||2:46:21|
|35-39||Johann Mathis||Le Tholy, France||2:57:34|
|40-44||Martin Flinta||Molndal, Sweden||2:53:11|
|45-49||Tom Evans||Penticton, Canada||2:54:41|
|50-54||Dennis Farrell||Littleton, Colorado||3:11:00|
|55-59||(2) Dennis Brinson||Carson City, Nevada||3:20:58|
|60-64||Johnny Davis||Boulder, Colorado||3:40:27|
|65-69||(2) David Rakita||Durango, Colorado||4:10:39|
|70-74||(9) Peter Wood||La Jolla, California||4:43:18|
|Challenged||(9) Fouad Fattoumy||Honolulu, Hawaii||3:40:00|
(#) denotes number of World Championships won - Top Amateurs
XTERRA WORLD CHAMPION (WOMEN)
Brittany Webster from Canada was the top overall amateur woman, finishing 17th woman overall in 3:17:36. Cindi Toepel (pictured above) and Hannah Rae Finchamp each won their fifth world title, while Judith Abrahams and Tamara Tabeek captured their second.
|15-19||(5) Hannah Rae Finchamp||Alradena, California||3:30:52|
|20-24||Natia Van Heerden||Hazyview, South Africa||3:29:08|
|25-29||Brittany Webster||Canmore, Canada||3:17:36|
|30-34||Laurianne Levasseur||Nantes, France||3:34:14|
|35-39||Nadine Mueller||Canmore, Canada||3:25:57|
|40-44||Kelli Montgomery||Wallingford, Connecticut||3:40:24|
|45-49||Riikka Vreeswijk-Kelja||Gorinchem, Netherlands||3:30:27|
|50-54||(2) Tamara Tabeek||San Diego, California||3:51:18|
|55-59||Martha Buttner||Boulder, Colorado||4:05:10|
|60-64||(5) Cindi Toepel||Littleton, Colorado||4:25:46|
|65-69||Linda Usher||West Upton, Massachusetts||5:48:52|
|Challenged||(2) Judith Abrahams||Anchorage, Alaska||5:20:13|
(#) denotes number of World Championships won - Top Amateurs
OUTRIGGER RESORTS DOUBLE AWARD
Bart Aernouts finished 10 seconds ahead of Michi Weiss today and 10-minutes ahead of him at Ironman Worlds for a combined time of 11:07:24 to win the 2014 Outrigger Hotels & Resorts elite double title and $2,500 prime today.
Janez Klancnik from Slovenia won the men's amateur double in 12:42:03, 14-minutes ahead of Daniel Mannweiler of Germany; while Nicole Valentine of Maryland overcame a 16-minute deficit after Ironman to take the women's amateur double over Kelley Hess. Each earned a six-night stay at Outrigger Aina Nalu for their efforts.
|Bart Aernouts||Merksem, Belgium||8:28:28||Male||PRO||2:38:56||11:07:24|
|Michael Weiss||Gumpoldskirchen, Austria||8:38:27||Male||PRO||2:39:06||11:17:33|
|Janez Klancnik||Slovenj Gradec, Slovenia||9:35:40||Male||25-29||3:06:23||12:42:03|
|Daniel Mannweiler||Bonn, Germany||9:41:31||Male||35-39||3:14:44||12:56:15|
|Stefan Kusurelis||Brooklyn, NY, USA||9:50:00||Male||45-49||4:26:03||14:16:03|
|Matt Randall||Invercargill, New Zealand||10:17:20||Male||35-39||3:09:34||13:26:54|
|Rudi Van Aelst||Herentals, Belgium||10:27:45||Male||50-54||3:17:37||13:45:22|
|Luis Arriba||Madrid, Spain||10:53:46||Male||45-49||3:26:33||14:20:19|
|Gary Lilley||Calwell, Australia||11:05:06||Male||50-54||3:24:42||14:29:48|
|Cameron Paul||Taupo, New Zealand||11:57:38||Male||20-24||3:11:17||15:08:55|
|Noel Mackisoc||Kailua, Hawaii, USA||13:09:35||Male||50-54||4:12:09||17:21:44|
|Nicole Valentine||Germantown, MD, USA||11:51:07||Female||30-34||3:37:14||15:28:21|
|Kelley Hess||Colorado Springs, CO, USA||11:35:34||Female||30-34||4:03:02||15:38:36|
|Jodi Ruby||LaVerne, California, USA||12:27:04||Female||50-54||4:01:55||16:28:59|
Josiah Middaugh and Barbara Riveros posted the fastest runs on the Leilani’s Run Course, and each received $100 gift certificates.
Four other amateur competitors received $100 gift certificates to Leilani’s for their running times: JP Donovan, Brittany Webster (by one second), Jefferson Oishi and Kimberly Mufalli.
XTERRA WETSUITS PRIME
Daniel Neilson and Jessica Simpson were the winners of XTERRA Vortex full wetsuits for posting the fastest amateur swim times.
MUSCLE MILK PRIME
Winners of special back packs from Muscle Milk for the Muscle Milk U25 Prime were Thomas Kerner, Xavier Jove Riart, and Maxim Chane for the males, and Natia Van Heerden, Larissa Rabago, and Hannah Rae Finchamp for females.
2014 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFYING EVENTS
The 19th annual XTERRA World Championship was the culmination of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe qualify to race at Kapalua, Maui on October 26, 2014.
|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||Ben Allen / Carina Wasle|
|12-Apr||XTERRA New Zealand Championship||Conrad Stoltz / Barbara Riveros|
|13-Apr||XTERRA West Championship||Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy|
|26-Apr||XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship||Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy|
|3-May||XTERRA Malaysia||Dan Hugo / Jacqui Slack|
|17-May||XTERRA Southeast Championship||Josiah Middaugh / Flora Duffy|
|24-May||XTERRA Mauritius||Sam Gardner / Karyn Southgate|
|25-May||XTERRA Spain Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Helena Erbenova|
|1-Jun||XTERRA Portugal||Ruben Ruzafa / Coralie Redelsperger|
|8-Jun||XTERRA Brazil Championship||Felipe Moletta / Sabrina Gobbo|
|15-Jun||XTERRA East Championship||Dan Hugo / Flora Duffy|
|21-Jun||XTERRA Greece||Francois Carloni / Kathrin Mueller|
|28-Jun||XTERRA Switzerland Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller|
|29-Jun||XTERRA Norway||Dan Hugo / Cecilie Overbye|
|5-Jul||XTERRA Ontario - Canadian Cross Tri Championship||Sean Bechtel / Heather Pady|
|6-Jul||XTERRA France Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Victoria||Brent McMahon / Melanie McQuaid|
|6-Jul||XTERRA Freedom Fest||Sergio Florian / Laurel Dudley|
|13-Jul||XTERRA Sweden||Braden Currie / Helena Erbenova|
|19-Jul||XTERRA Mountain Championship||Josiah Middaugh / Chantell Widney|
|26-Jul||XTERRA Italy Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Helene Erbenova|
|2-Aug||XTERRA Mexico Championship||Irving Perez / Fabiola Corona|
|9-Aug||XTERRA Czech Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller|
|16-Aug||XTERRA Germany Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Kathrin Mueller|
|17-Aug||XTERRA Canmore||Mathieu Signoretty / Brittany Webster|
|24-Aug||XTERRA England||Conrad Stoltz / Emma Garrard|
|31-Aug||XTERRA Denmark||Conrad Stoltz / Kathrin Mueller|
|31-Aug||XTERRA Quebec||Jean-Philippe Thibodeau / Claude Godbout|
|7-Sep||XTERRA Sleeping Giant||Scott Hill / Charlotte McShane|
|20-Sep||XTERRA USA Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Flora Duffy|
|26-Oct||XTERRA World Championship||Ruben Ruzafa / Flora Duffy|
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 www.xterraplanet.com and www.xterratrailrun.com.