The month of March brings a mouth-watering platter of terrains as XTERRA’s triathletes take on the Whakarewarewa Forest and the Musandam Peninsula, while the Trail Run World Series continues to gather speed in Asia-Pacific, EMEA, and the Americas.
March opens with one of the biggest hitters on the APAC Tour as hundreds of professional and amateur athletes ascend on the enchanted Whakarewarewa Forest for the 2023 edition of the XTERRA Rotorua Festival in New Zealand.
Making full use of Lake Tikitapu and the winding trails of the Whakarewarewa Forest, the single-day festival is packed with 7 separate races that cater to every level of athlete, from elites to first-timers. And come they will. Since making its debut in 2003, the XTERRA Rotorua Festival has continued to draw upwards of 2000 participants, each contributing to an electric atmosphere driven by fun, community, and off-road adventure.
The full-distance triathlon doubles as the XTERRA New Zealand Championship and serves as the climax of the festival, but those competing in the short-distance triathlon, duathlon, and 26km MTB race will also have the pleasure of riding on what many claim is the best mountain bike course on the circuit.
The 21K trail run features as part of the XTERRA Trail Run World Series, offering qualifying slots to the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Maine, USA, while the 11K and 5.5K runs ensure that nobody is left out of the fun and everybody has the chance to experience the unmistakable scenery and immaculate trails that have made the event a must-race for so many athletes.
Perhaps the most iconic race in the six-stop XTERRA Arizona trail run series is the Black Canyon half-marathon. The point-to-point 21K starts with an early morning shuttle to the Table Mesa trailhead where coffee, music, and a campfire await competitors.
Once the sun comes out, the gun goes off and runners bolt head first into the Sonoran Desert to tackle big climbs, river crossings, sandy stretches, and miles upon miles of singletrack trails. And at the finish line they’ll find delicious pie, courtesy of the post-race party hosts from the Rock Springs Cafe.
As the AZ Series finale, it’s the last chance for locals to collect points and grab one of the 116 qualifying spots into the invite-only XTERRA Trail Run World Championship on October 1 at Sugarloaf Resort in Maine.
In addition to the fan favorite 21K, XTERRA Black Canyon also has a brand new out-and-back trail marathon with its own qualifying spots into Worlds, plus 10K and 6K fun runs on the schedule.
“The wildflowers will be blooming and the bar will be open,” exclaimed long-time race director Shannon Lindner. “So join us for the series awards ceremony, have a drink, hang out in the creek, and enjoy the pie!”
A date that will be marked in the history books as XTERRA makes its mark in Oman for the first time and brings the Middle East into the fold of the EMEA Tour.
Located on the northern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman’s Musandam Peninsula is home to spectacular sections of the Sea of Oman shoreline, magnificent mountain and desert terrain, and dozens of fjord-like khors, each of which combine together for a race setting like no other on the XTERRA World Tour.
Starting from Musandam’s historic Khasab Fort, the 2023 XTERRA Oman full-distance triathlon begins with a 1.5km open-water swim in the warm waters of the Sea of Oman before heading out into a 30km MTB ride with regular short climbs and descents. The final 10km is a footrace across firm, rocky terrain to claim the title as the first ever XTERRA Oman champion.
Along with the half marathon trail run that will also offer coveted slots to the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in September, the event boasts a combined $23,000 prize purse - a $16,000 pro prize purse for the full-distance triathlon and $7,000 for the Trail Run.
The region remains largely “undiscovered” by international tourism, representing the ultimate escape into true Arabian wilderness and rewarding adventurous travellers with cultural charm, ancient history and a range of outdoor activities such as sundowner cruises, dolphin watching trips, and diving with whale sharks and sea turtles.
Musandam is easily accessible by road from the UAE’s major city centres, while Khasab Airport also receives regional flights. Travelling from Oman, Musandam can also be accessed by road (via the UAE), and by sea ferry from Oman’s capital Muscat.
Beginning and ending in the trail mecca of New Zealand, March closes just outside the nation's capital with breathtaking views, jagged coastlines, and lush native forest as the trail running community returns for the XTERRA West Wind Trail Run.
Winding through one of the most advanced wind farms in the world, the event offers three separate distances to give trail runners of all levels the chance to enjoy the collective 25km of immaculate trail, from pine needle tracks through the forest to coastal trails along the Cook Straight.
The 18km distance will treat runners to every scenic highlight of the area, from the coastal views with the sounds of crashing waves to the pine forest single track to the awe-inspiring wind turbines. Local and travelling athletes will also stand the chance to earn qualifying slots to the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship.
The XTERRA West Wind Trail Run is well known for its inclusive community-driven atmosphere, and encourages all outdoor enthusiasts to get involved in the fun with a 12km and a 6.5km distance offered for intermediate and beginner runners.
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