By Maui Now Staff
Familiarity was the key to success at the XTERRA Kapalua Trail Runs on Saturday morning.
Three of the four overall winners were repeat champions from last year: Willie Schefer (men’s 10K), Benjamin Auerbach (men’s 5K) and Dakota Grossman (women’s 5K). All three are Maui residents. The only new overall champ was Emilie Menuet from France, who was the top female in the 10K.
More than 1,000 runners from around the world participated in the event, which featured two separate courses — the Duke’s Beach House XTERRA 10K and the Hula Grill XTERRA 5K. Both courses started at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, then traversed up and down the West Maui Mountains, and then along D.T. Fleming Beach, before heading back to the Ritz-Carlton.
“As far as views go, you can’t beat this race,” 10K winner Schefer said. “I actually got to enjoy it more this year because I was in my own space, running on my own.”
Indeed, Schefer darted ahead of the pack from the start and stayed in front the entire course. He finished with a time of 38 minutes, 22 seconds, which was more than a minute behind his record time of last year, but still three minutes ahead of the rest of the field this year.
“Winning last year gave me a lot of confidence coming in this time, and I knew what to expect along the way,” Schefer said. “I was mentally prepared for everything; I just didn’t have anybody to push me this year like I did last year.”
Schefer works as a personal trainer at Powerhouse Gym on Maui, but is planning to enroll in a medical school in Oregon next year.
Vince Sherry from Flagstaff, Arizona, placed second in 41:22, and Etienne Beurnez from France was third in 42:41.
Emilie Menuet placed 14th overall and took the women’s 10K title in her first try at the Kapalua course. Her boyfriend, Brice Daubord, is on Maui to compete in Sunday’s XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon.
“I am here because Brice came to Maui to try and get in the top 10 for the triathlon,” Menuet said. “I saw they have this run and I am a runner, so I wanted to try. It was very beautiful and very hard going up the hills.”
The runner-up, Marion Lorblanchet, is also from France. She is a well-known XTERRA pro triathlete, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor earlier this year. This 10K was her first race since the tumor was discovered.
“I am happy to be here today – this is a win in life for me,” Lorblanchet said. “Just one month ago, I was still in the hospital because of a brain tumor. It’s time to announce the end of my XTERRA (triathlon) career, but not for running.”
Record Win in 5K
Auerbach was in sprint mode from the start of the 5K, and it resulted in a course-record time of 18:56.
“I had a friend, Jake Ramos, run with me this year,” Auerbach said. “We pushed it hard that first mile, and he was really pushing the pace the whole way.”
Auerbach said his knowledge of the trails at Kapalua played a key role in his victory. In addition to winning it last year, he often trains on the Kapalua trails as part of his job as a trainer.
“I partner with the Kapalua Spa as part of my business, One Fitness, so I actually get to run on these trails a lot with clients,” he said. “It helps significantly.”
Grossman, who is a high school senior at Seabury Hall, capped a victorious weekend with her repeat win in the women’s division of the 5K. On Friday, she won the Hawaii state high school cross country championship for the fourth consecutive year.
The high school championship race was held on another island (Kauai), so she had to fly back to Maui on Friday night, and then signed up for the Hula Grill XTERRA 5K on Saturday morning.
“My legs were a little dead going uphill,” she said. “But I train for stuff like this, so I knew it was going to be difficult.”
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TS Restaurants Awards Winners
Five runners received gift certificates from T S Restaurants for their winning performances on Saturday.
Schefer won two $100 gift certificates to Duke’s Beach House – one for being the top overall finisher of the 10K, and another for being the top Maui finisher. Menuet also received a $100 gift certificate to Duke’s, as did Angela Wideman from Kihei for being the top Maui female finisher of the 10K.
Auerbach received two $100 gift certificates to Hula Grill for his 5K win (first overall and first Maui resident), and Grossman also received two $100 gift certificates to Hula Grill (first overall female and first Maui female).
XTERRA Hawaii Series
The Duke’s Beach House XTERRA 10K was part of the 2013-14 season for the XTERRA Hawaii Trail Run Series. The top finishers in each age group received points toward the overall standings of the series.
It was the second of three events in the series for this season. The next event in the Hawaii Series will be the XTERRA Freedom Fest 10K in July 2014. Visit www.freedomfesthawaii.com for more information.
The upcoming XTERRA Trail Run World Championship on November 24 is not part of the Hawaii Series, but is open to runners of all ages and abilities, from around the world. To register or learn more about it, visit www.xterrakualoa.com.