Maui Countdown to XTERRA 20th Anniversary Edition

October 2, 2015, 2:38 PM HST · Updated October 2, 2:38 PM
Wendy Osher · 2 Comments
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Ruben and Flora. Photo credit: XTERRA.

Ruben Ruzafa and Flora Duffy. Photo credit: XTERRA.

The XTERRA World Championship returns to Maui for its 20th Anniversary edition on Sunday Nov. 1, at the Ritz Carlton Kapalua along Maui’s northwest coast.

Touted by race organizers as “the birthplace of off-road triathlon,” Maui was host to the first XTERRA race in 1996.  The race featured just 123 participants and has since grown to include a sold-out field of 850 racers from 43 countries.

Triathletes will converge on Maui for the event over the Halloween weekend with $100,000 in prize money at stake for the pros.

Ruzafa has won three XTERRA World Championship races, including first place finishes in: 2008 (2:37:36); 2013 (2:34:34); and 2014 (2:29:56).

Ruzafa has won three XTERRA World Championship races, including first place finishes in: 2008 (2:37:36); 2013 (2:34:34); and 2014 (2:29:56). Pictured here: Ruzafa’s Championship win in 2014. Photo courtesy: XTERRA.

Organizers say last year’s winners, Ruben Ruzafa of Spain and Flora Duffy of Bermuda will return this year to defend their titles.

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Ruzafa comes off of his second-straight ITU Cross Tri World title last weekend, with the hopes of bringing home a fourth Maui title next month, a feat only accomplished by Conrad Stoltz (2001, 2002, 2007, 2010) who is now retired.

So far, Ruzafa has won three XTERRA World Championship races, including first place finishes in: 2008 (2:37:36); 2013 (2:34:34); and 2014 (2:29:56).

Meantime, in the women’s race, Duffy tells race organizers that the XTERRA Worlds is her “next and final race of the season.” Duffy won last year’s race (2:47:59) finishing more than two-minutes ahead of her nearest competitor with the event’s best swim, best bike and the second-best run on Maui in 2014.

Duffy won last year’s race (2:47:59) finishing more than two-minutes ahead of her nearest competitor with the event's best swim, best bike and the second-best run on Maui in 2014. Photo courtesy: XTERRA.

Duffy won last year’s race (2:47:59) finishing more than two-minutes ahead of her nearest competitor with the event’s best swim, best bike and the second-best run on Maui in 2014. Photo courtesy: XTERRA.

She also comes off of a win at the ITU Cross Tri World Championships in Italy, and has won 11 of the 12 XTERRA championship events she entered since the start of 2014, according to race organizers.

The Maui course features: a 1 mile swim fronting the Ritz-Carlton; an 18.6 mile mountain bike ride that climbs 3,000 feet up and down the West Maui Mountains; and a 6.5 mile trail run that includes a trek through the forest and sandy coastline.

The race this year is a sold-out event with 95% of the field coming to Maui from out of state.  Event organizers say the direct economic impact of the XTERRA World Championship in 2014 generated $5.7 million in visitor expenditures.

1996 Start Line. File photo courtesy: XTERRA.

1996 Maui Start Line. The race 20 years ago featured just 123 participants and has since grown to include a sold-out field of 850 racers from 43 countries. File photo courtesy: XTERRA.

Race organizers cited the state Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism, which estimates that visitors arriving on Maui for the XTERRA stay an average of 7.1 nights on the Valley Isle (9.3 nights in Hawaiʻi) and come with an average party of 3 individuals.

The event will be broadcast nationally in a one-hour produced broadcast that will be viewed by more than four million people via national syndication beginning in mid January 2016 on ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and Fox Sports.

Leading up to the Championship event, the XTERRA Maui event also features a Kapalua 5km and 10km trail run and costume contest on Halloween Day, Saturday, Oct. 31 at 9 a.m.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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