(Piti, Guam) - Ben Allen from Australia and Carina Wasle from Austria captured the 11th annual XTERRA Guam Championship race on a soggy, muddy day on the island.
XTERRA Pro Charlie Epperson was on-site (and in the thick of the men’s race, ultimately finishing 5th overall) and brings us this report…
“On Friday night as triathletes enjoyed a pre-race dinner or made some last minute adjustments to their bikes, XTERRA Guam race director Eric Tydingco was struggling with a tough decision. After avoiding a series of typhoons spinning in the Northern Pacific Ocean the last two weeks, Guam was not spared the rain that set in on Tuesday and never let up. By 6pm the night before the race, Tydingco made what would ultimately be the best decision for the race- find an alternate course that would allow racers to ride vs hike-a-bike. Tydingco’s team worked quickly to establish an alternate course that would avoid a majority of the rain soaked red dirt that defines most of XTERRA Guam’s bike course.
Saturday morning was no different with rain showers that turned briefly into downpours as athletes warmed up and throughout the swim. Ben Allen took an early lead in the swim over Bradley Weiss and Jacqui Slack earned first out of the water rights followed by Mieko Carey and Carina Wasle. Into the bike leg, Allen extended his lead by demonstrating top-notch bike handling skills on a muddy course. Like most competitors, Allen didn’t have an opportunity to pre-ride the alternate course, but was able to turn the fastest split of the day.
|1||Ben Allen, AUS||2:26:28||100|
|2||Brad Weiss, RSA||2:36:42||90|
|3||Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN||2:40:17||82|
|4||Markus Benesch, AUT||2:41:53||75|
|5||Charlie Epperson, USA||2:44:36||69|
|6||Joe Miller, PHI||2:55:00||63|
|7||Kaon Cho, KOR||2:59:32||58|
In the women’s race, Wasle and Slack rode in tandem after the climb up Nimitz Hill and quickly distanced themselves from Carey and the rest of the women’s field. As athletes worked their way back to the top of Nimitz, they were greeted with thick foliage and deep puddles that forced riders to dismount or suffer the consequences of a head first mud bath. At T2, Wasle and Slack were still locked into a duel and it was clear outside of a wrong turn the winner would come from this group.
|1||Carina Wasle, AUT||2:44:21||100|
|2||Jacqui Slack, GBR||2:44:51||90|
|3||Mieko Carey, JPN||2:56:10||82|
|4||Daz Parker, GBR||3:03:51||75|
|5||Renata Bucher, SUI||3:09:16||69|
|6||Belinda Hadden, AUS||3:19:11||63|
The iconic waterfall run that XTERRA Guam is widely known and surely didn’t disappoint athletes today. After five days of serious rains, the small pools throughout the course have grown, as well as the amount of water flowing down those picturesque waterfalls. Allen (2:26:28) finished the race with the fastest swim, bike, and run splits of the day and claimed his 3rd XTERRA Guam title with a 10 minute gap over second place Weiss (2:36:42).
“The weather made for an interesting race, and the crew at Guam made the right call going for the alternate course,” said Allen. “When the adrenaline is pumping through the body the race flies by. Today I was able to settle into a good rhythm and race my race.
My coach and I have been working hard over the last couple of months and I'm more motivated than ever to continue onto bigger and better things. Guam has been a happy hunting ground for me. My Homestay Cam and Karly Oneal are two of the kindest people and this win is as much there's as it is mine. Also not to forget my family, friends and sponsors back home in Australia.”
Takahiro Ogasawara (2:40:17) finished a successful campaign in the Marianas by matching his third place performance at XTERRA Saipan. Austria’s Markus Benesch (2:41:53) took a spill on the slick coral roads and battled to the end with Ogasawara, but was forced to settle for 4th place.
During the run, Wasle and Slack battled from start to finish. Slack pulled ahead around the first aide station (1.5 mile mark) after Wasle lost a shoe in the quick sand like mud. Wasle (2:44:21) eventually retrieved her shoe and was able to put some distance on the last road section before claiming heading back to the beach to claim the 2015 XTERRA Guam title with a 30-second margin over Slack (2:44:51).
In the amateur field, it was Dr. Peter Lombard (2:53:48) that took the honor as fastest amateur over Denmark’s Stefan Laursen (2:54:21) by almost 40 seconds. The current Guam National Road Race Champion, Lombard showed his skills with a phenomenal bike split to once again hold the faster amateur title. The top amateur in the women’s field was Erin Johnson (3:37:18) from Golden, Colorado. Johnson, a former Guam resident, returns each year for a chance to earn her spot in Maui.
Thanks to the efforts of Tydingco’s team and a few hardcore triathletes this legendary race notched another successful year!”
With the win Allen takes a slim, two-point lead in the XTERRA Asian Tour standings, while Jacqui Slack extended her stay at the top spot.
The five majors are XTERRA Philippines, XTERRA Saipan, XTERRA Guam, the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship on April 18 in New South Wales, Australia, and XTERRA Malaysia - which will double as the XTERRA Asian Tour Championship race - on May 2 in Langkawi. (Note: The XTERRA Japan Championship in Hokkaido on August 29 will serve as the first race of the 2016 XTERRA Asian Tour.)
The top 15 amateur, Asian-elite, and professional racers at each event earn points, with double points being offered at the finale in Malaysia. Racers count their best three scores to determine champions in each division.
The XTERRA Asian Tour will award a prize bonus of $10,000 USD to the top five pro men and women in the final standings ($2,000 for 1st, $1,500-2nd, $800-3rd, $400-4th, $300-5th).
In all, more than $100,000 in prize money for pros will be awarded on the XTERRA Asian Tour. There are $15,000 USD payouts at the Philippines, Saipan, Guam, and Malaysia races, and $50,000 AUD awarded at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Australia, plus the 10K bonus to the series’ top performers.
|1||Ben Allen, AUS||82||100||100||282|
|2||Brad Weiss, RSA||100||90||90||280|
|3||Joe Miller, PHI||63||63||63||189|
|4||Takahiro Ogasawara, JPN||x||82||82||164|
|5||Markus Benesch, AUT||x||75||75||150|
|6||Charlie Epperson, USA||69||x||69||138|
|7||Kaon Cho, KOR||x||53||58||111|
|8||Mauricio Mendez, MEX||90||x||x||90|
|9||Brodie Gardner, AUS||75||x||x||75|
|10||Aleksandr Dorovskikh, RUS||x||69||x||69|
|11||Michal Bucek, SVK||58||x||x||58|
|12||David Esposito, FRA||x||58||x||58|
|1||Jacqui Slack, GBR||90||100||90||280|
|2||Mieko Carey, JPN||75||82||82||239|
|3||Renata Bucher, SUI||69||75||69||213|
|4||Daz Parker, GBR||63||69||75||207|
|5||Carina Wasle, AUT||x||90||100||190|
|6||Belinda Hadden, AUS||x||63||63||126|
|7||Flora Duffy, BER||100||x||x||100|
|8||Dimity-Lee Duke, AUS||82||x||x||82|
|9||Aya Stevens, SVK||58||x||x||58|
2015 XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP QUALIFIERS
XTERRA Guam was the eighth of 40 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 20th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on Nov. 1, 2015.
* European Tour / + Asian Tour / # America Tour / ! Canada Series / = Hawaii qualifiers