XTERRA South Africa kick started the 2023 off-road triathlon racing season in the EMEA region last month, and on Saturday, February 25, the U.S. and Asia-Pacific regions get underway at XTERRA Iceman in Arizona and XTERRA Wellington in New Zealand.
The third running of the XTERRA Wellington Festival at Queen Elizabeth Park on the Kapiti Coast is set to be a joyous celebration of the healthy, active, outdoors lifestyle offering events for adventurers of every skill level with options including the Super 6K, 14K, and 21K trail runs, a 31K mountain bike race, off-road duathlon, plus sprint and full distance off-road triathlon events.
Runners will have a chance to qualify for the 2023 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship half-marathon (Oct. 1 - Sugarloaf Resort, Maine) while triathletes shoot for a spot on the start line of the XTERRA World Champs triathlon (Sept. 23 - Trentino, Italy) and for the elites, $10,000NZL in prize money is on the line.
The women’s pro race is a good one with the victors of the first two Wellington races, Kate Bramley (2020) and Maeve Kennedy (2021) from Australia taking on two long-time New Zealand stars, Lizzie Orchard and Samantha Kingsford.
“It will be interesting to see where the Kiwi and Aussie ladies are at against each other right now, before we adventure further afield this year,” said Orchard (pictured at top), who has committed to race the full XTERRA World Cup schedule with stops in Taiwan, the U.S., and all over Europe.
“Wellington will be the first race of what will be a long season for me, so I’m looking for a solid performance to start. It could be a dynamic race, which we are lucky to even run after such a devastating cyclone last weekend,” she said.
Orchard’s family home was flooded two weeks ago, and further complicating the issue was Cyclone Gabrielle which was one of the worst natural disasters in New Zealand history.
“We have been hammered here in Auckland, and my family home was yellow stickered so it’s been a busy couple of weeks gutting it to get the bones breathing and hopefully saved. Managed to get a few things out in time (bike included) so living out of a bag continues, but we are all safe so that’s what counts,” she said.
Event director Bengy Barsanti, whose entire family is involved in the event production and hospitality of the event, said the race venue along the Kapiti coast was spared any major damage during the cyclone.
“For once we didn't get the devastating winds like they did up north and so we got off lightly,” said Barsanti. “Our courses are wet, but in good nick and so looks to be a fun race.”
Kingsford, who is ranked 6th in the XTERRA World Rankings, placed 2nd behind Kennedy at this race in 2021 and is looking forward to another shot at the title.
“Some good competition with Meave, Lizzie, and Kate,” she exclaimed. “I guess we are all heading into the unknown, being the first off-road tri for us all this season. It will be a good gauge to see where we are. The build for me into this one hasn’t been as planned, but it’s early in the season so to just be racing is a win!”
In the men’s elite race, familiar foes Sam Osborne and Kieran McPherson (pictured) from New Zealand are the top contenders, each looking to get 2023 off on the right foot.
XTERRA Wellington is the first of six stops on the 2023 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour that features events in Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, and Tahiti. New this year, amateur athletes have the opportunity to compete for Tour titles using the World Performance Index, a custom-built XTERRA scoring system.Detailed rules can be found at xterraplanet.com/tour/apac-tour.
For elites, there are five prize paying races in the region, highlighted by the $25,000USD on offer at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Taiwan, which will host the first of seven stops on the all-new XTERRA World Cup where elites will go head to head for their share of $340,000 in prize money.
2023 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour Schedule
Date - Race (Location)
Feb 25 - XTERRA Wellington Festival (New Zealand)
Mar 11 - XTERRA Rotorua Festival (New Zealand)
Apr 01 - XTERRA Australia (Dunsborough, WA)
Apr 15 - XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship (Kenting, TWN)
Sep 15 - XTERRA Japan (Marunuma)
Oct 21 - XTERRA Tahiti (Moorea)
XTERRA Americas Tour Starts in Arizona
The new look XTERRA Americas Tour also starts Saturday, in Morristown, Arizona, home to the fourth edition of XTERRA Iceman which is the first of 25 events in the region where triathletes can chase regional championships, win XTERRA USA titles, and qualify for XTERRA Worlds in Trentino, Italy.
Athletes must start at least three events in the Americas region to be eligible for tour honors. Detailed rules and a complete set of FAQ's can be found at xterraplanet.com/tour/americas-tour. Find the full XTERRA Americas Tour preview at xterraplanet.com.
2023 XTERRA Americas Tour Schedule
Date - Race (Location)
Feb 25 - XTERRA Iceman (Lake Pleasant, AZ)
Apr 1 - XTERRA Argentina (San Juan)
Apr 15-16 -XTERRA Puerto Rico (Fajardo)
Apr 22-23 - XTERRA ATX (Austin, Texas)
May 6-7 - XTERRA New Jersey (Hewitt, NJ)
June 10-11 -XTERRA Cameron Park (Waco, TX)
June 10-11 - XTERRA Tremblant (Domaine St-Bernard, CAN)
June 17 - XTERRA Lory (Fort Collins, CO)
July 8-9 - XTERRA Victoria (Victoria, CAN)
July 9 - XTERRA EX2 (Flintstone, MD)
July 14-16 - XTERRA Quebec (Manoir du Lac Delage, CAN)
July 22-23 - XTERRA Conquer the Crater (Greater Sudbury, CAN)
July 22 - XTERRA DINO Northern Indiana (South Bend, IN)
Aug 12 - XTERRA Sleeping Giant (Thunder Bay, CAN)
Aug 25-27 - XTERRA USA Championship (Avon, CO)
Aug 26-27 - XTERRA Bromont (Plage Lac Bromont, CAN),
Aug 27 - XTERRA Laguna Beach (Crystal Cove, CA)
Sep 2-3 - XTERRA Gaspesia (Géoparc Mondial UNESCO de Percé, CAN)
Sep 16-17 - XTERRA Whistler (British Columbia, CAN)
Sep 17 - XTERRA Lake Tahoe (Incline Village, NV)
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