XTERRA first came onto the scene in 1996 on the island of Maui. Since then, the original “Aquaterra,” is now the premier off-road triathlon in the world. This year, it’s coming back home with the inaugural XTERRA Hawaii Island (Big Island) on Sunday, August 26th.
The race will be held at the Westin Hapuna Beach Resort near Waimea and will offer 25 qualifying spots for the XTERRA World Championship on October 28th on Maui. The race will feature a half-mile rough water ocean swim beginning and ending at Hapuna Beach, followed by a grueling two loop, 10-mile bike course traversing over Hapuna Beach Park State land, and then finishing off with a pulverizing 3.1-mile run at Hapuna Beach Resort.
Janet Higa-Miller and her husband Grant Miller are the founders of Aloha Sports Kona, which will host the race. And racing XTERRA is something Higa-Miller knows a little something about – she competed in that first Aquaterra in 1996 and in the XTERRA World Championship race nine times. She still has her race tee shirt from Aquaterra and says it remains her favorite.
“Grant had introduced me to mountain biking after I did my first Ironman Kona in 1994,” said Higa-Miller. “Getting out in the forest and getting dirty, learning skills and going off-road was something that Grant and I always loved to do. It was always our first passion. And now we feel we are coming around full circle to it. We feel that we can get other people on board by the lure of having qualifying slots to the XTERRA World Championships in Maui.”
The idea for an XTERRA on the Big Island was started by Hilo High School cross-country and track coach – and XTERRA World Championship competitor – Bill McMahon, who reached out to the Millers.
“It has been this huge snowball that has gained momentum ever since Bill McMahon (Hilo High School cross-country and track coach and multiple XTERRA World Championship finisher) emailed me and said, ‘Hey can you do a Hawaii Island Qualifier? I’ve got the potential for 25 slots.’ And ever since, it’s been one thing after another falling into place for this event to happen.”
In addition to XTERRA Hawaii Island, there will also be a kids’ event on Saturday, August 25th. LavaKids Aquathon will be held on the northern end of Hapuna Beach where keiki can choose to swim, swim/run, or just run. Keiki ages 7-10 will take a 100-yard dip and then run 1K, while the older 11-14 age group will swim 200 yards and run 2K. A 100-yard beachside Keiki Dash will be available for children 6-and-under.
And in conjunction with the XTERRA Hawaii Island race on the following day, a two-person and three-person relay division will also be offered, which is suitable for beginners and elite athletes alike.
Learn more about XTERRA Hawaii Island