(Kaaawa, HI) - Patrick Smyth from Santa Fe, New Mexico and Kimber Mattox from Eugene, Oregon both successfully defended their titles to capture the 8th annual Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run World Championship half-marathon on a gorgeous day at Kualoa Ranch in Kaaawa, Hawaii on the Island of Oahu.
It’s the third title in as many years for Smyth “the fastest man on dirt” who is also a two-time XTERRA USA Champion and has won back-to-back U.S. Trail Half-Marathon titles as well.
“That was a lot of fun,” said Smyth, who took the lead early and never let up. His winning time of 1:20:16 was four minutes slower than his winning time last year, but still two-minutes faster than runner-up Daniel Jones, the XTERRA New Zealand National Champ.
“The first bit at the start is good running, even though its uphill, because it has good footing and it’s double track and you can kind of get rolling,” said Smyth, who’s on the U.S Mountain Running team and the Nike trail team. “I just tried to go out hard and put the hurt on early and then hold on and hope I didn’t overcook it. It’s nice to have the lead, especially on the back side. When it got muddy I was able to enjoy it, get down in one piece, and look around and enjoy it rather than stress. That downhill is nuts, you just have to go head first and kind of squish down. That was a lot of fun.”
Smyth won’t have long on the islands to enjoy his three-peat as he heads back to New Mexico and his full-time job in computer mapping tonight so he can be back in the office tomorrow.
“I have good coworkers that are really understanding. They’ve been good about letting me get out and go for it. And, we’re a conservation organization so to be able to come to amazing places like this that are the pinnacle of conservation efforts is really pretty cool. It was nice also to have my girlfriend Liz come out this time, way better to enjoy Hawaii with her.”
Smyth now turns his attention back to the road with a build-up to the Olympic marathon trials in Los Angeles, California in February.
As for Jones, he knew what he was up against running with Smyth, and said he was “beyond stoked” to cross the line in second.
“I raced Pat’s teammate in Brazil a few weeks ago and so I knew Patrick would be the one to beat, especially when he took it out at the start. He was next level compared to the rest of us, and it was a good experience to race against him.” said Jones, who comes from the same home town, Whakatane, of this year’s 15-19 XTERRA World Champion triathlete Hayden Wilde and other well-known multisport racers like Sam Clark.
“It was an awesome course, a bit of everything. The views going around the course were incredible. By the time we got to the muddy downhill I was really in my element. I was battling it out for second for the first 4 or 5K on the single track, and at one point at about 9K I had 45-seconds to one-minute and felt strong so I pushed it hard on the back half.”
Jones, who graduated with an MBA in finance from Sam Houston State University in Texas in May, will get to work on his career as a financial analysis for PWC in Wellington, New Zealand this February.
“I’d still like to race some, though, and the XTERRA Wellington Trail Series will be a great place to start.”
Alex Pilcher from Derby, Great Britain finished in third in 1:28:30, six-minutes behind Jones.
“Great course, really undulating and the second half was tough, and really steep,” said Pilcher, who’s been traveling around the U.S. on a bit of a running vacation with his cousin. “It was my first time in Hawaii, and I can tell you this is a really beautiful island. But the heat and humidity is just brutal.”
Florian Neuschwander from Germany and Niam Macdonald from New Zealand finished fourth and fifth, respectively, in 1:29:31 and 1:34:19. As proof of the international status of the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, runners from six different countries landed in the top 10.
MATTOX WINS AGAIN
In the women’s race Mattox pretended she was a dinosaur from the Jurassic era running wild through the jungles to propel herself to another XTERRA World Title.
“Last year I imagined I was being chased by dinosaurs, but this year I got some advice to pretend I was the dinosaur, so I did,” smiled Mattox. “It was like Polina (Carlson) and I were the girl dinosaurs trying to chase down the boy dinosaurs in front of us.”
Mattox indeed had company early as the 2012 XTERRA Trail Run World Champ Polina Carlson ran nearly stride-for-stride with Mattox through the first 10 miles.
“We stayed together for the first 10-miles and then she got away at the hardest part of the course, the big uphill,” said Carlson. “I tried to stay with her but she’s amazing and has a lot of power and then I tried to catch her but she was too quick.”
Mattox, who like Smyth is a member of the U.S. Mountain Running Team and placed 6th this year to help Team USA to a bronze medal, said she had to remind herself to just keep moving forward.
“Anytime you have to start walking, you’re wondering ‘how is it you’re racing and walking,’ but in a tough race like this as long as you keep moving forward that’s the goal,” said Mattox. “It was tough. Polina and I were pretty much together the whole race until that last uphill. We were both struggling, but I had a little more in my legs and got a bit of a lead. Once you get to the top from there to the end it’s all about who can stay on their feet and keep moving forward.”
Mattox finished with a winning time of 1:36:44, nearly four-minutes ahead of Carlson who placed second in 1:40:24.
“It was a lot muddier but amazingly I only fell one time this year. The climbs are tough but I love how you pop out and you’re looking over the ocean. It gives you a little reward at the top of each hill. It was fun to be out there with Polina too. I felt like I was working with her and that was really fun, a really great experience. I was also thinking about Christmas, and that when I got to that line it was Christmas vacation for me,” said the USATF Trail Half Champion.
For Carlson, she said that even though she finished second it was still her most enjoyable race.
“It was such an amazing event, so much fun. Trail running, especially out here, is so unpredictable and it was extremely muddy which was the most challenging part for me. I crashed at least 15 times, can’t you tell,” smiled Carlson, as she looked down at her mud-covered body.
Coming in third was Penelope Freedman of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in 1:47:18.
“I loved it. I’ve been training so hard but nothing could compare me for the heat and the humidity and the mud which was out of this world but I just absolutely loved it,” said Freedman. “I loved the friendliness of all the people, it’s just been the most incredible experience. It’s been my dream to come here so I’m just elated right now. I was prepared for the climb, but it was funny, when the guy said watch your step I fell down, like in the movie. I just had the attitude to slide down, get down. I’ve followed Kimber and Polina online so to be able to meet them and run with them was really very cool.”
Reegan Ellis from Newport, Australia finished fourth, just edging Ashley Jensen from Boston who rounded out the top five.
|1||Patrick Smyth||1:20:16||Sante Fe, New Mexico||$2,000|
|2||Daniel Jones||1:22:20||Whakatane, New Zealand||$1,000|
|3||Alex Pilcher||1:28:30||Derby, Great Britain||$750|
|4||Florian Neuschwander||1:29:31||Frankfurt, Germany||$500|
|5||Niam Macdonald||1:34:19||Feilding, New Zealand||$300|
|6||Kenneth Stover||1:35:09||Kailua-Kona, Hawaii||$250|
|7||Andreas Sembrant||1:35:53||Uppsala, Sweden||$200|
|1||Kimber Mattox||1:36:44||Eugene, Oregon||$2,000|
|2||Polina Carlson||1:40:24||Kailua, Hawaii||$1,000|
|3||Penelope Freedman||1:47:18||Steamboat Springs, CO||$750|
|4||Reegan Ellis||1:49:56||Newport, Australia||$500|
|5||Ashley Jensen||1:50:27||Boston, Massachussetts||$300|
|6||Dulia Daly||1:52:34||Napier, New Zealand||$250|
|7||Kasuga Watabe||1:53:16||Kanagawa, Japan||$200|
AGE DIVISION WORLD CHAMPIONS
The 2015 class of XTERRA Trail Run World Champions features 28 men and women from six different countries and 10 U.S. states.
Standing out among them was Hawaii’s own Ed Bugarin, who won his fourth XTERRA Trail Run World Championship. Bugarin won his first world title in the 55-59 division in 2009, he won two in the 60-64 division, and now he’s got his first in the 65-69 age category.
Wilhelm Northrop picked up his third title in the 45-49 division, and Nancy Andrade (Kapaa), Ellis Andrews (Penticton, Canada), Dan Walker (Haleiwa, HI) Kasuga Watabe (Kanagawa, Japan), and Christian Friis (Malmo, Denmark) all collected their second world championship crowns.
One of the more remarkable performances came from the 12-year-old Watabe, who not only won the 10-14 division in 1:3:16, she also finished seventh overall among all women.
Also of note, Hawaii Sport Magazine founder/editor Christian Friis is back in Hawaii and ran XTERRA Trail Run Worlds for the eight straight time.
Above all, Kualoa Ranch was once again the star of the show, providing trails and views that are one-of-a-kind.
|1-9||Dallas Stricker||Hattiesburg, Mississippi||2:41:51|
|10-14||Daniel Kirkland||Gilbert, Arizona||2:37:52|
|15-19||Niam Macdonald||Feilding, New Zealand||1:34:19|
|20-24||Colton Barber||Waipahu, Hawaii||1:46:08|
|25-29||(3) Patrick Smyth*||Santa Fe, New Mexico||1:20:16|
|30-34||Alex Pilcher||Derby, Great Britain||1:28:30|
|35-39||Sergio Florian||Kaaawa, Hawaii||1:42:54|
|40-44||(2) Christian Friis||Malmo, Denmark||1:45:41|
|45-49||(3) Wilhelm Northrop||Boise, Idaho||1:47:10|
|50-54||Kawika Carlson||Honolulu, Hawaii||1:48:05|
|55-59||Todd Marohnic||Volano, Hawaii||1:57:22|
|60-64||Len Hall||Enfield, New England||2:07:59|
|65-69||(4) Ed Bugarin||Honolulu, Hawaii||2:27:11|
|70-74||(2) Ellis Andrews||Penticton, Canada||2:17:25|
|75-79||(2) Dan Walker||Haleiwa, Hawaii||5:02:10|
|PC||Michael Stoddard||Wahiawa, Hawaii||2:48:34|
|1-9||Abigail Osness||Long Beach, Mississippi||3:30:45|
|10-14||(2) Kasuga Watabe||Kanagawa, Japan||1:53:16|
|15-19||Brianna Glynn||Pearl Harbor, Hawaii||3:29:59|
|20-24||Kelly Wolf||Mesa, Arizona||2:00:19|
|25-29||(2) Kimber Mattox*||Eugene, Oregon||1:36:44|
|30-34||Penelope Freedman||Steamboat Springs, CO||1:47:18|
|35-39||Reegan Ellis||Newport, Australia||1:49:56|
|40-44||Tina-Marie Poulin||South Portland, Maine||2:08:58|
|45-49||Jane Hewett||Juliaetta, Idaho||2:07:19|
|50-54||Amy Vasquez||Honolulu, Hawaii||2:12:03|
|55-59||Andina Faragher||Canberra, Australia||2:15:25|
|60-64||Diane Kelly||Wilmington, North Carolina||4:03:47|
|65-69||(2) Nancy Andrade||Kapaa, Hawaii||3:17:41|
(#) Denotes number of XTERRA World Titles
In addition to the 21K championship course, there were also 10K and 5K races staged at Kualoa Ranch on Sunday.
Nathan Carlson (husband to Polina) from Kailua won the 10K race in 36:11 and Phaelen French from Warner Robins, Georgia was the women’s winner (5th overall) in 44:58.
Kevin Enriques from Honolulu placed first in the 5K for the third year in a row with a time of 20:27, while Laura Simons from Kailua was the top female in 26:17.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS
The Paul Mitchell XTERRA Trail Run World Championship is sponsored by Outrigger Resorts, XTERRA Travel, PowerBar, the Hawaii Tourism Authority, Kualoa Ranch, Gatorade Endurance, Trail Runner Magazine, LifeProof, Hawaii Sport Magazine, Muscle Milk, XTERRA Fitness, Optic Nerve Sunglasses, XTERRA Boards, and Greenlayer.
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 2015 offered more than 300 XTERRA off-road triathlon and trail running races in 30 countries worldwide. In addition, TEAM TV has produced more than 400 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.