Elizabeth Braun, 33, West Islip, New York
In early 2011, Elizabeth was diagnosed with a Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO). PFO is a small opening in the wall of the heart that separates the two upper chambers or atria. Elizabeth had a procedure to close it in May, 2011, and as a result is now able to compete in long distance running. Starting off slow, she started with 5K runs and proceeded to build up to running the New York City Marathon in 2013. This is Elizabeth’s last race on her schedule this year and her first year racing XTERRA.
Bill Buonanni, 53, Merritt Island, Florida
Bill lived in Hawaii for four years and is now returning to race at Kualoa Ranch for his first time. Bill has been a high school Cross Country Head Coach at Merritt Island High School for the past four years. He will be running with family and celebrating his birthday on race day. Bill will look to make this day even more special with a respectable finish.
KC Carlberg, 51, Honolulu, Hawaii
KC, a local legend in the endurance sports community, is six years removed from her first XTERRA Championship after her recovery from Ovarian Cancer. KC enjoys helping people achieve their goals and currently is the owner of an all-women’s training company called Try Fitness. She uses trail running to have fun, to challenge herself and to better her balance.
Kimber Mattox, 26, Eugene, Oregon
This is Kimber’s first year racing XTERRA and she already has a second place finish at this year’s XTERRA Trail Running Nationals. Kimber has already fell in love with trail running and says trail runs test a runner’s mind and body but reward the spirit. She is motivated by her desire to challenge her body and seeing what she can accomplish. Kimber is a runner for a post collegiate running group in Eugene, Oregon, which is fittingly called Team Run Eugene. Kimber is also a coach for track and cross country at the University of Oregon.
Jo May, 66, Franklin, Pennsylvania
Jo will be returning to XTERRA Worlds for the fourth time in her running career, and what makes this year more special is that her husband and daughter will also be racing too. Jo has spent three weeks in the Alps to prepare for Worlds and cannot wait for this tough race. Jo is excited for the race but also cannot wait for a day of relaxation on Waikiki Beach.
Johan Nyberg, 35, Stockholm, Sweden
In May, Johan had the unfortunate accident of breaking his back. After five months of rehab, Johan was looking for a race in a warmer climate during this time of year than his hometown Sweden and came across the World Championship. He said he will race to challenge himself and to prove that he is healthy. He is ready for the stunning nature, the challenging course and to get back to competing.
Amy Bennett Eck, Kailua, Hawaii (pictured)
Hawaii’s own XTERRA guru Amy Bennett Eck from Camp Bennett and XTERRA Freedom Fest knows as much about Kualoa Ranch as anyone. Every July 4th weekend she hosts an off-road racing weekend at the Ranch with an XTERRA World Championship triathlon qualifying race, trail runs, swim races and more. She’s also been helping local athletes be the best they can be with year-round training camps and clinics for years. Amy is a certified USA Track and Field and USA Triathlon endurance coach, and in 2009 won the “Double” for having the fastest combined times at the Ironman and XTERRA World Championship races.
Finian Scott, 24, Auckland, New Zealand
Finian is currently working for the New Zealand Olympic Committee but uses trail running as an escape from office work and technology. He says trail running leaves him feeling like a big kid again because you have to jump around tree roots, wade through waist deep water and skid down muddy banks. Finian is excited to leave his country of New Zealand to race in Kualoa Ranch for the first time.
Sarah Seads, 38, Courtenay, Canada
Sarah is returning to Kualoa Ranch after racing for her first time last year. Last year, she ran with a team of six people that traveled from Canada. This year, she is looking to improve on her 6th place finish in her category. Sarah loves trail running because of the opportunity to spend time in nature. Nature also helps motivate her when she runs because of the peaks, views, Mother Nature and the big events.
Marty Smith, 56, Liberty, Utah
Marty won the female 55-59 National XTERRA National Trail Champion this year and is excited to compete with the best trail runners in the world at this year’s Worlds. Marty has been racing with XTERRA for 8 years but this will be her first time racing at Kualoa Ranch. She has been preparing with her training group in the meantime and they are encouraging her to do her best.