It's championship season for XTERRA. The 20th running of the XTERRA World Championship for off-road triathlon is just a few weeks away and the world champs for trail running is only two months away.
The Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Running World Championship returns to Kualoa Ranch on December 6 with one of the most scenic half-marathon trail races on the planet for the 8th straight year now.
The course itself is pure nature – secluded singletrack trails and dirt roads framed by a pair of dramatic knife-edged mountain ridges that drop into the ocean. More than 2,000 runners from nearly every state in the U.S. and dozens of countries worldwide adventure to Oahu for the challenge.
“XTERRA Trail Worlds at Kualoa Ranch is one of my favorite running events of the year,” said local runner Sergio Florian, who is originally from Argentina but now lives right down the road in Kaaawa. “Not only is the scenery stunning, the course is super fun throwing a little bit of everything at you. The terrain varies from open grassy cow pastures to single track with lots of climbing to boot. It's definitely not your average half marathon.”
In addition to the main event which dishes out $10,000 in prize money and attracts big name runners like Patrick Smyth and Kimber Mattox, there are also 5km and 10km fun runs, an adventure walk that explores the movie sets in the valley, and free kids races.
“I like to race and train in places that inspire me, which is why I prefer the trails to the roadway," said Laurel Dudley, a Vermont-native who has made quite a name for herself in the Hawaii endurance sports scene over the last decade. “Kualoa Ranch never ceases to inspire me even though I have been there upwards of 20 times. There is something about it that is truly magical. Trail Run Worlds is another awesome event and the 21K allows you to run through both valleys which is a little tortuous but also really beautiful.”
Kualoa Ranch has been used as a backdrop for numerous television and movie scenes, including Jurassic Park, Godzilla, Pearl Harbor, 50 First Dates, LOST and Hawaii Five-O.
Having the rare opportunity to run in one of Hawaii's most pristine landscapes should be reason enough to jump into this event, but for runners looking for even more incentive, need only heed the advice of Florian and Dudley.
“It really is a fun activity for the whole family and offers a little something for everyone,” said Florian. “You can go hardcore and attack the 21k course or just do a mellow 5k taking in all the beauty around you. Kids are also welcomed! They have games and a kid’s race! Great way to introduce them to a healthy/active lifestyle.”
For Dudley, it’s all about the spirit, she said “training for and doing an XTERRA run is hugely motivating. It’s harder than a normal road race, but it is so much more fun! The best aspect of it is that regardless of how fast or slow you are, or whether it’s your first race or your 100th, the spirit of the race casts no judgement and instills you with a sense of gratitude for being able to be outside and active in a beautiful place.”
Learn more at http://www.xterrakualoa.com or call toll-free to 877-XTERRA-1.