The XTERRA Kapalua Trail Run was a celebration of speed and dirt for more than 1,000 competitors who came from 45 countries and several Hawaiian islands.
Held a day before the 22nd XTERRA World Championship, the runners included top trail runners as well as family and friends of those competing in the XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon.
The trail runs included the Leilani's XTERRA 3.3K, the Hula Grill XTERRA Kapalua 5K, and the Duke's XTERRA Kapalua 10K.
Duke's XTERRA Kapalua 10K
In the Duke's XTERRA Kapalua 10K, Marc Costa from Santpedor, Spain was the champ, winning the challenging race in 44:04. Joris Genevois from France was second in 46:07.
"It was very hot," said Costa, who was in Maui with his brother Ricard, who competed in the XTERRA Championship the following day. "It's a tough course. I like to climb and there wasn’t a lot of climbing on the course. It was very short and steep hills and harder to find a rhythm."
Joris Genevois does not speak English, but it was clear that he echoed Costa's sentiments about the race in terms of the sun and the course.
Pablo Ureta from Argentina was third in 46:25. The following day, Ureta was the runner up in the Outrigger Resorts Double, which is given annually to the elite and amateur man and woman with the fastest combined XTERRA World Championship and Ironman Hawaii Championship time.
The women's race came down to the wire, where Malia Crouse from Maui outkicked Georgia Nesbitt from Tasmania in the final uphill slope to the finish. Crouse and Nesbitt finished in 47:38 and 47:47, respectively.
Crouse, a former triathlete, still cross-trains but has focused her attention on running. She is currently training for both the Honolulu Marathon in December and the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship, which she placed third in last year, finishing behind elite runners Polina Carlson and Caroline Veltri.
"I had so much fun out there," said Crouse about the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Run. "I just love that course.”
She turned to Nesbitt, a rower, and complimented her on her blistering pace.
"I just tried to settle into it," said Nesbitt, who has been in gold-medal winning boats as a member of the Rowing Australia team. "I tried to stay steady going up the hills, but I liked going down the hills a bit better."
In third was Nadine Nicolas from Canmore, Canada. Nicolas was the 35-39 age group XTERRA World Champ in the off-road triathlon in Maui in 2014.
"I love training," said Nicolas, "But I don't like racing as much because I get too nervous. But every so often I like doing a race to stay motivated."
Christy Fritts, who is recovering from an artificial disc replacement surgery, won her 45-49 age group in the 10K as well, finishing in 57:44.
"I really wanted to do the triathlon tomorrow, especially because I felt so good out there today," said Fritts. "But I need to be careful and keep healing."
Hula Grill XTERRA Kapalua 5K
In the Hula Grill XTERRA Kapalua 5K, Hans Kohler finished first in 21:53. Kohler, who lives in Maui, is not a runner.
"I ran the course twice before and rode it once," said Kohler, who prefers surfing to the trails. “It was hot out there but I ran as hard as I can. I’ve always been able to run."
Ka'eo Keomaka from Kula, Hawaii won both the 10-14 age group and finished second overall for the men in the 5K. Tommy Morwood, an off-road triathlete from Sydney, Australia, was third in 22:23. Morwood was also the host of the XTERRA World Championship live broadcast the following day (far right in photo).
"The trail runs are super technical with a good mix of short steep hills and twisty single track to the top," said Morwood. "Down the hill, you run on really fast single track that's cut into the side of the mountain. You also have to navigate five or six trees on the trail that you can vault over or scurry under. The toughest part of the race is the ultra- steep, concrete hill that turns away from the beach about two kilometers from the finish. Then you bust your calves on the sand and head uphill to the finish."
View the complete results for the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs at www.jtltiming.com