Maui Sports

World’s Best Off-road Triathletes Here for XTERRA

October 27, 2012, 4:56 PM HST
* Updated October 27, 4:58 PM
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While the water wasn’t as rough as it could have been last year, the ocean always presents challenges. Photo by XTERRA.

By Rodney S. Yap

The familiar sport of XTERRA, born here 17 years ago on Maui’s South Shore, returns to Kapalua Resort on Sunday for the 2012 championship, which features the world’s best off-road triathletes.

The championship race takes place at 9 a.m. Event organizers say the first-place athlete is expected to finish at approximately 11:30 a.m.

The spectator area will be along Fleming Beach and the Transition Area/Finish Line on the poolside lawn at The Ritz-Carlton Kapalua.

Event parking is at the ball field behind the preschool at Kapalua.

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Leading up to the Championship event, was a series of amateur events held earlier today, including: Duke’s Beach House XTERRA 10K, the Hula Grill XTERRA 5K, and the Kimo’s Keiki K for kids ten and under.  The 10K and 5K races are open to all, and benefit the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui County.

Last year’s winner Michael Weiss of Vienna, Austria. Photo by XTERRA.

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Michael “Michi” Weiss of Vienna, Austria won last year’s event. The 30-year-old finished in 2 hours, 27 minutes. South Africa’s Dan Hugo was second, followed by Spain’s Eneko Llanos. Weiss placed third in 2009 and 2010, and second in 2008 on Maui, when the race was held in Makena.

Lesley Paterson of San Diego, Calif. won the women’s title last year, finishing in 2:45:59. Marion Lorblanchet of France was second, followed by Helena Erbenova of the Czech Republic.

QUICK FACTS ON THE XTERRA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

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WHAT IS XTERRA: The world’s premier off-road triathlon, combining a 1.5-kilometer (1-mile) swim that starts in front of the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua . . . a 30-kilometer (18.6-miles) mountain bike that climbs more than 3,000 feet up and down the lower slopes of the West Maui Mountains, and a 10-kilometer (6.1-miles) trail run that traverses forest trails, and beach sand. Top pros finish in roughly two-and-a-half hours.

WHO RACES IN MAUI: A sold-out field of 725 racers including 65 professionals and 650+ amateurs representing 31 countries & 42 US states, ages 15 (Jakob Dewald) to 75 (Ron Hill). 96% of the field is from out of town.

WHEN: The XTERRA World Championship starts at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 28.

WHERE: At the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui’s northwest coast.

WHY: The XTERRA World Championship race is the last in a series of more than 100 off-road triathlon races held in 15 countries and 38 US States. The concept is to provide a bona-fide world championship for amateur and pro off-road triathletes. For pros there is $100,000 in prize money at stake.

HOW THEY QUALIFIED: Amateurs enter the World Championship through one of two means:
1. Earn a slot by qualifying as one of the top finishers in their age group at an XTERRA Championship race in Brazil, Canada, Philippines, Czech Republic, France, Guam, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Saipan, South Africa, Switzerland and Alabama, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and Virginia in the United States. For those “lucky-you-live- Hawaii-guys” there were two local qualifying races at Kualoa Ranch on Oahu.
2. Enter through the at large drawing – a limited number of slots were offered on a first-come first-serve basis in January.

XTERRA BACKGROUND: This is year 17 for the XTERRA World Championship on Maui – the birthplace of off-road triathlon. The first XTERRA race was held here on November 3, 1996 with just 123 participants and was televised on Fox Sports Net. The demand for the sport of XTERRA exploded thereafter and there are now more than 30,000 competitors from all 50 states and more than 40 countries worldwide.

The new course at Kapalua Resort features plenty of climbing on the bike and the run. Photo by XTERRA.

1996: Jimmy Riccitello and Michellie Jones win inaugural event in Wailea, Maui.

  • 1999:  11 races spanning from California to New Jersey. First year of Pro Points Series.
  • 2000:  XTERRA goes global with its first international races in England, Japan, and Canada.
  • 2001:  The first year of the XTERRA USA Championship Series.

2012: Now 70 events in the US, plus more than 30 international races including a European Tour

TELEVISION: This will be the 17th straight year a nationally broadcast one-hour show will be produced on the event, which showcases Maui’s natural beauty. The 2011 XTERRA World Championship show (watch it at www.xterra.tv) has been seen by some four million viewers via national syndication (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX) and Fox Sports Network. This year’s show will start its run in national syndication in mid-January 2013.

LIVE COVERAGE:
We have LIVE coverage on the web: Follow it Live on xterraMAUI.com:  XTERRA and Luck Stone are teaming up to bring fans a comprehensive slate of coverage for the XTERRA World Championship starting Sunday, October 28 at 9am Hawaii time (12 noon PST, 3pm EST, 9pm in Europe, 5am in Sydney, Australia, 8am in New Zealand, 4pm in Brazil).

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