Utah’s Emma Garrard and France's Vincent Le Corre captured the Duke’s XTERRA Kapalua 10K titles on a cool, humid morning at The Ritz-Carlton Resort, Kapalua, Maui on Saturday, October 27th.
The event was held a day before the 23rd XTERRA World Championship and utilized the same course on which the top off-road athletes in the world will be competing on October 28th. The XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs included the Duke’s XTERRA Kapalua 10K, the Hula Grill XTERRA Kapalua 5K, and the Leilani’s XTERRA 3.3K.
The morning began sunny and warm before a gentle Maui rain blew through. The rain was refreshing to many athletes but only added to the muddy condition of the course. All runners who came through the finish line were marked with mud as well as huge smiles.
Garrard finished the difficult 10K course in 54:48. Last year’s Duke’s XTERRA Kapalua 10K Champ, Malia Crouse, from Kahului, Maui, was second in 57:01 and Jennifer Smith of Gunnison, Colorado was third in 1:00:30.
Garrard was the fastest female American athlete at the XTERRA World Championship from 2012 until 2015. She competed in ten XTERRA World Championships, including twice as an age-grouper, eight times as an elite athlete, and four times as a mom. Garrard was also the XTERRA National Champ in 2015, after eight straight second-place finishes.
“That was fun,” she said after winning the 10K Duke’s XTERRA Kapalua 10K. For the past year after making the transition from XTERRA triathlon to trail running, Garrard has been training for the Boston Marathon. She is also running a trail marathon next weekend. She was greeted at the finish line by her husband and two young sons.
“I’ve been coming to Maui for the XTERRA World Championship for so long that my family didn’t want to give up our October vacation time here,” she said. “So I decided to come along too.”
Jennifer Smith also came to the trail run because of XTERRA. Her husband is elite athlete, Brian Smith.
Vincent Le Corre, from Vertou, France, covered the trail in 45:46. Jacob Fure from Lahaina, Maui was second in 46:23, and Keith Lundquist from New Hampshire was third in 49:24.
Le Corre is an XTERRA athlete who competed in XTERRA France and Belgium this year. He is on Maui to support his girlfriend who will compete in the XTERRA World Championship on Sunday.
Like Garrard, Fure is also training for the Boston Marathon, which he qualified for with a 2:36. He wore racing flats which made running in the mud difficult.
“That was a challenge,” he said. “I was trying to run hard, but I slipped a lot.”
Pablo Ureta, who does “The Double” most years at the XTERRA World Championship made this year a “Triple.” He competed in the 10K and finished fifth. The Double title, which comes with a custom racing jersey, is awarded to the amateur man and woman with the fastest combined 2018 XTERRA World Championship and Ironman Hawaii Championship time.
Hula Grill XTERRA Kapalua 5K
Sixteen-year-old Simon Gourgues won the men’s Hula Grill XTERRA Kapalua 5K with a time of 22:59. He doesn’t speak English but is a promising young French triathlete from Savaney. XTERRA Live Host Tommy Morwood of Sydney, Australia was second in 24:25 and Thomas Hackner from Wien, Austria was third in 24:31.
“Once the French kid took off, it was a battle for second,” said Morwood. “We were all happy to race for second because Simon was too quick. Man, he’s a good runner.” Morwood ran according to heart rate using his Suunto watch. “I set my Suunto at 180 and when my heart rate got to 180 I slowed down. How it went for every single hill was that two to three guys would power up the hill and every downhill and flat section I caught them back. That was so much fun out there.”
During the last mile of the race - which included a section of the beach - Morwood was in fourth but made his way up into second place by the finish chute.
In the women’s race, Caile Kohlbrenner of Kihei, Maui crossed the line first in 27:17. Brittany Zaborowski from Lahaina, Maui was second in 28:46 and Layne Millen from Haiku, Maui was third in 28:49. Both Kohlbrenner and Zaborowski were collegiate runners who displayed their speed on the trails.
“I ran this race last year,” said Kohlbrenner, “And this year the conditions were so different. The mud was intense but it was also exciting and everyone was out there in it together.”
Zaborowski admitted she fell quite a few times. “Once I rolled down the hill and landed in the weeds.”
Ua Aloha Maji, a cultural practitioner and educator at Hula Grill, wore a hakule, or wreath made of ti leaves.
“The ti leaf is very sacred to Hawaii and I wore it to keep me safe when I travel through the jungle and to protect me from bad spirits,” said Maji. “The course runs through an ancient burial site and the ti leaf is part of the ritual of asking permission to go through this ‘aina.”
Maji teaches the traditional hula at Hula Grill and said that he loves to share his cultural traditions and educate others.
“You gotta have the right shoes for this race, but you also have to have the proper spiritual footwear as well.”
Leilani’s XTERRA Kapalua 3.3K
Jericho Adolpho from Hoolehua, Hawaii won with a time of 16:14. Logan Hayes of Orgeon was second in 16:17 and Valentin Lepers from Couchey, France was third in 16:46.
In the women’s race, Jeane Lepers, from Couchey, France won with a time of 20:07. Iliana Correa from Kahului, Hawaii was second in 20:22, and Amy Quiros from Kihei, Hawaii was third in 20:58.
John Henderson, who was almost killed in an accident in 2009 raced in a wheelchair. He is paralyzed from the waist down and was accompanied by Paul Brown and Adam Quinn out on the course.
“Today was spectacular,” said Henderson. “The reality for me was that I used to compete as an able-bodied off-road athlete. Today marked my re-entrance back onto the trails as a new person. It took me about ten years, but I did it.”
“It was muddy but an awful lot of fun and an adventure, which is what we were hoping for,” said Quinn. “For the rest of the wheelchair athletes out there, the impossible is just something that takes a little bit longer.”
Kadin Finlayson was fourth overall but this was his third year in a row as the first place Maui resident. This is impressive, given that he is still in the 10-14 age group.
Also out on course were teachers from Lahaina Intermediate School, Princess Nahi’ena’ena Elementary School, King Kamehameha III School, and Lahainaluna High School.