Patrick Smyth will return to Kualoa Ranch to defend his XTERRA World Championship half-marathon trail run title on Dec. 7.
“The course at Kualoa Ranch is amongst the most memorable, beautiful I've ever run on,” said Smyth, who hails from Salt Lake City, Utah. “That played a big role in my decision to come back, but more than anything I want to repeat as World Champ!”
Since focusing his running efforts on trail races last year Smyth has quickly made a name for himself as one of – if not the best – trail runners in the U.S.
Last year he won the XTERRA Trail Running National Championship in his first-ever trail race, then backed it up with a win at XTERRA Worlds (upsetting 5x champ Max King in the process).
This year Smyth won the U.S. Trail Half-Marathon Championships in Bellingham, Washington and was the top American (10th overall) at the World Mountain Running Championships held in Cassete de Massa, Italy in September.
“Those two races have been pretty huge for me,” said Smyth, who was a 7-time All-American across cross-country, indoor and outdoor track at Notre Dame. “The international field in Italy was incredibly deep and competitive, so I was thrilled to come away with a top-American, top-10 finish.”
Smyth is also thrilled to return to Hawaii, saying XTERRA Trail Run Worlds “is the culmination of my 2014 season. I've been gearing all my recent training towards this race. Afterwards I'll turn my focus towards the U.S Cross Country Championships in Boulder, CO in February.”
Smyth said what he remembers most about last year’s race was “the beautiful setting, sweating profusely, and the crazy jungle descent at around 9-miles.” And his best advice for newcomers is to “try to take advantage of the few two-track open sections. They're good opportunities to open up the stride and run fast over what is otherwise a very technical course... But more than anything take in the views and enjoy the experience!”
Learn more from Smyth about the course and running in general at the free XTERRA University trail running clinic to be held at 2pm during registration and packet pickup on Saturday, December 6 at the Waikiki Beach Walk.