Kapalua, Maui (October 22, 2018) – The 23rd annual XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon scheduled for Sunday, October 28, 2018 in Kapalua, Maui boasts the most competitive elite men’s field ever assembled.
It’s a bold statement, but easy to support considering the past four winners, and second-place finishers, are on the start list.
Bradley Weiss from South Africa won last year, Mauricio Mendez from Mexico was second. Mendez won in 2016, and Ruben Ruzafa from Spain was second. Josiah Middaugh from the U.S. won in 2015, with Ruzafa finishing second, and Ruzafa won in 2014, the year Middaugh placed second.
And that’s the story, all these men have gotten the better of each other at one time or another, and they’ve all remained at the top of their game.
“I think that Maui always shows us that there is more than one favorite,” said Ruzafa, who has been first off the bike at XTERRA Worlds each of the last five years. He won two of those races, in 2013 and 2014, but got chased down by Middaugh in 2015, Mendez in 2016, and Weiss in 2017.
“This year, for the first time since 2014, I’ve done altitude training to prepare for Maui and I’ve changed things in my run and bike training,” said Ruzafa, who has won Maui three times and captured four of the last five ITU Cross Tri World Titles since 2014. “I was in the Sierra Nevada for two weeks at the end of September, and since then at my home in Spain. The course is so hard, and different every year because of the weather. We always have to wait until the last moment to see what the terrain conditions will be like.”
No matter what the conditions are like on Sunday, you can count on the reigning champ Brad Weiss to be in the mix.
“The goal is always to win, and I will be disappointed with anything less than defending my title,” said Weiss, who won the XTERRA Asia-Pacific and European Championships this year. “Saying that, the caliber of athletes racing continues to improve and there is a long list of contenders working hard to dethrone me. I welcome the challenge and look forward to facing it come race day, and at the risk of sounding arrogant, I will say I am the favorite. I proved I can win on this course in 2017 and plan to do the same in 2018. The course suits me well and I look forward to maximizing those advantages come race day.”
If experience means anything, give the advantage to Middaugh, who will be racing in his 18th straight XTERRA World Championship fresh off a win at the XTERRA Pan Am Champs last month against Weiss and Mendez.
NELSON MANDELA BAY, South Africa (Sept. 7, 2018) – Madeline McKeever, 31, of Denver, Colorado captured the world championship title in the women’s 30-34 age-group at the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN® 70.3® World Championship triathlon in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa on Saturday, September 1. Approximately 1,600 women were registered to compete in Nelson Mandela Bay as the Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship came to the African continent for the first time.
McKeever completed the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship event in 04:36:56 (swim: 32:41; bike: 02:32:15; run: 01:25:11), beating out the top athletes in her age group. The race encompassed a 1.2-mile (1.9 km) swim that started at King’s Beach and proceeded with an open-water swim in the Indian Ocean, followed by a one-loop, 56-mile (90 km) bike course that took athletes around the Nelson Mandela Bay area. The event capped off with a two-lap, 13.1-mile (21 km) run as athletes finished to energetic crowds at Hobie Beach.
The two-day Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship saw approximately 4,500 registered athletes from 48 U.S. States and 102 countries, regions and territories compete in this world-renowned event, marking the largest field of any IRONMAN or IRONMAN 70.3 triathlon to-date. Athletes ranged in age from 18 to 78. The world championship event is the culmination of over 100 global events in the IRONMAN 70.3 series where more than 185,000 age-group athletes vied for slots to compete in the 2018 Isuzu IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. Qualification is already underway for the 2019 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship which will rotate to Nice, France.
On September 8-9, in Grand Junction The Desert’s Edge Triathlon festival Kicks off. Fun for all with a sprint, olympic and Xterra offering. Come check out racing on the Western Slope. Register by 8pm on Aug 31st and SAVE!
Eagle-Vail triathlete Josiah Middaugh captured the Xterra Quebec off-road triathlon elite title on Saturday, Aug. 18, at Lac Delage in Quebec, Canada.
It was his the fourth win of the season in the Xterra off-road triathlon’s Pan Am Tour.
Fellow Colorado racer Branden Rakita posted the fastest swim split in the race, followed by Ian King, of Virginia Beach, and Canadian Karsten Madsen. Middaugh exited the water a little more than one-minute later with Tour leader Kieran McPherson, of New Zealand, and the chase was on.
“I had a good swim and started the bike with Kieran about 1:30 down, but Karsten was riding strong up ahead, putting time on me in corners and descents,” Middaugh said. “I was pulling back time on some of the pedaling sections and finally caught him beginning the third loop.”
‘WAY OUT FRONT’
Madsen, who was on a mission to win for his home country, said he was putting time on everybody but Middaugh.
“This course had 3,000 feet of climbing, so that created a lot of back and forth with Josiah,” Madsen said. “I started to get the impression him and I were way out front.”
Those two were out front, but McPherson has been running faster than all the regulars on the Tour this year and was still a threat.
“On the run I had a small cushion to Karsten and a big gap to the rest of the field,” Middaugh said. “I looked at my Suunto and realized we were starting the run about the same time we would normally be finishing an Xterra, so I decided to fuel and pace the first lap and attack the second. The strategy worked and luckily I had something left in the tank.”
Indeed, the course was one of the longer and harder on the Xterra World Tour this year, and heavy rain on Friday added some time to the already long and technical bike trails.
“The trails are amazing but the speeds are slow with so many twists, turns, ups, downs, roots and rocks,” Middaugh said. “Made for a long, tough day.”
It’s not the first time that Tim Don has been written off!
After we (and indeed, Tim himself), assumed that his attempt to qualify for the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Hawaii was over after his DNF at Sunday’s IRONMAN Copenhagen left him just outside the automatic qualifying slots in the Kona Pro Rankings (KPR), news here from Tim himself that the dream is still alive.
The past weekend represented the final weekend of qualifying, and from Tim’s Instagram post (below), with athletes ahead of him not taking up their option, he has indeed earned his place on the start line at Dig Me Beach on Saturday 13th October.
We expect the full details of the final Kona start list will be published relatively soon.
As if racing up and down a mountain wasn’t hard enough.
The winner of the Pikes Peak Marathon not only crushed the race itself, but also the four days of travel leading up to it: He biked 250 miles to get to there.
Dakota Jones, 27, of Durango, Colorado, departed Silverton, Colorado for Colorado Springs with the intention of raising money for Protect Our Winters, a non-profit environmental group that has brought together athletes against climate change, according to the Durango Herald.
“I’m really aware of climate issues and environmental problems,” Jones told the Durango Herald. “Those things can be super sort of paralyzing. It’s such a big problem, what can I do? Honestly, me not driving and me biking doesn’t make that big of a difference, but if you think of it like that, then nobody will do anything. We have to do something, no matter how small it is, and so this is a good opportunity for me to put this into practice.”
Once at the race, things did not go as planned during the ascent for Jones, placing between fifth and seventh until he reached the treeline. After that, he was second to the 14,112-foot summit in 2:17:22, and his blistering 1:13:53 descent gave him the five-minute victory. His descent time was a course record, and his official time was 3:32:20.
Cassidy Hickey of Parker, Colorado outsprinted Faith Dasso of New Braunfels, Texas and Hope Frost of Suffolk, Virginia to take the USA Triathlon Youth Nationals by 1 and 2 seconds respectively. In a very different scenario Andrew Flynn of Wilmette, Illinois ran away from Graham Tuohy of Lakewood, Colorado and Lawson McLeod of Tampa, Florida to win the Elite Boys Youth Nationals by 18 seconds in the super sprint format event in West Chester, Ohio Saturday.
On the 375 meter swim, 10 kilometer bike and 2.5 kilometer run course which operates under draft-legal rules, Hickey stacked the odds against her with a 5:49 swim split that left her in 23rd place and just under 30 seconds arrears in the second chase pack on the bike. Meanwhile Dasso, who started with a 5:39 bike split, surged to a solo lead which gave her a 10 seconds advantage at T2, followed by a 5-girl front chase pack. Hickey worked hard to join Hope Frost and rest of the lead chasers.
“On the bike, I wasn’t catching the pack as fast as I wanted to,” Hickey told USA Triathlon media. “With Faith pulling that front pack before she jumped, it was making it hard for me to catch, because she’s a really strong biker. Then when she jumped, it caused the pack to slow down quickly, which allowed me to catch.”
“I think it was definitely a mental game and would come down to who had it at the end,” Hickey told Slowtwitch. “Faith obviously went out on the run with a 10 seconds lead on me and I had a 4 second lead on Hope.”
Hickey said she was charging on Dasso, spurred on by Frost as they approached the final quarter mile. “I came up on Faith as we passed the team tents with 200 meters to go,” she said. “I still had a little bit of a lead on Hope – probably 4-5 seconds when she started surging. That is why I started moving on Faith for the finish. In the final 100 meters, Faith and I were right next to each other.“
At the finish, it was Hickey in 33:18, Dasso in 33:19 and Frost in 33:20. “It felt like I had a pretty good body length on Faith, said Hickey. “I didn’t have time to hold up the finish tape, so I ran right through it.”
Hickey is 15 years old and will begin her sophomore year at Highlands Ranch High School this month where she will be super busy. Hickey will compete in cross country, track and field, swimming and mountain bike racing. Hickey was running 5th in this race last year but was bumped to 8th due to a penalty. Hickey won her age group at USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals at ages 8, 10, 11 and 12.
While they live far apart, the girls on the podium consider themselves good friends thanks to years competing against one another on the USAT age group circuit. “Hope and I gave been racing together since we were 9 years old,” said Hickey. “I was happy she was able to snag the last spot on the podium. Faith also is a real close friend. We had a plan going into nationals and it worked out for the both of us.”
– 40 years of inspirational and aspirational IRONMAN athletes, stories and iconic moments showcase how a single event has grown into a global phenomenon –
New hour long special, IRONMAN “40 Years of Dreams” will premiere this Friday, June 29, at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network
TAMPA, Fla. (June 28, 2018) – In continuation of the celebration of IRONMAN’s 40th anniversary, a new broadcast special IRONMAN® “40 Years of Dreams” will premiere this Friday, June 29, at 2:00 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network. This broadcast special highlights the remarkable stories of the awe-inspiring athletes and unforgettable moments that have grown the iconic triathlon brand into a global phenomenon since its very first triathlon event, which took place in Oahu, Hawai`i in 1978.
“There are so many amazing athletes and moments that have embodied the spirit of IRONMAN and captured the imagination of our community over the past 40 years,” said Christopher Stadler, Chief Marketing Officer for IRONMAN. “This broadcast special celebrates everything that athletes and fans around the world have come to love about IRONMAN.”
The 60-minute show highlights some of the most memorable moments and personalities that have left their mark on IRONMAN since its inception in 1978. Interviews include, Paula Newby-Fraser, Erin Baker, Dave Scott, Mark Allen, Chrissie Wellington, Mirinda Carfrae, Jan Frodeno and Greg Welch as well as Hines Ward, Sean Astin, Alex Zanardi, Al Trautwig, and Mike Reilly among others.
Since 1978, IRONMAN has showcased not only the limitless physical capability and competitive nature of the top-endurance athletes around the world, but also some of the most inspirational and impactful stories of courage and resilience from the age-group athletes and everyday individuals competing alongside them. The fortitude of these individuals has helped create a community that believes ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. Four decades later, hundreds of thousands of athletes have fulfilled their dreams at finish lines all over the world.
Viewers should check local listings for broadcast information in their areas. To follow the IRONMAN “40 Years of Dreams” celebration all year long, visit www.ironman.com/40years.
About IRONMAN A Wanda Sports Holdings company, IRONMAN operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN®70.3® Triathlon Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock n’ Roll Marathon Series®, Iron Girl®, IRONKIDS®, International Triathlon Union World Triathlon Series races, road cycling events including the UCI Velothon® Series, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, premier marathons including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon, and other multisport races. IRONMAN’s events, together with all other Wanda Sports Holdings events, provide more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. The iconic IRONMAN® Series of events is the largest participation sports platform in the world. Since the inception of the IRONMAN® brand in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines at the world’s most challenging endurance races. Beginning as a single race, IRONMAN has grown to become a global sensation with more than 230 events across 53 countries. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.
About Wanda Sports Holdings Wanda Sports Holdings is the world’s leading sports business entity, founded to capture the opportunities in the global sports industry and to contribute to the prosperous international sports landscape – in three key areas: 1) Spectator Sports (media and marketing business), 2) Participation Sports (active lifestyle business), 3) Services (digital, production and service business). Wanda Sports Holding incorporates the international sports marketing company Infront Sports & Media, the iconic endurance brand IRONMAN, and Wanda Sports China. The headquarters are in Guangzhou, China.
As a four-time IRONMAN finisher, I’ve really enjoyed being on the other side of the proverbial “fence.” Not only does it give you a way to experience the race without all the training, but the change in perspective gives you a true appreciation of all the moving parts that makes race day happen.
Being behind the lens and capturing so many special moments, you realize there are stories with each grimace, smile, sigh, and hug. One by one as they crossed the finish line, I couldn’t help think about how they’ve been through hell and back…and not just on race day. But every day since the submit button on the registration form was pushed. Because of this I feel some level of responsibility in capturing as many moments as I can, and because of this I thought it would be a good idea to put these thoughts to paper (well, the internet in this case) and share with you all some things I’ve learned and experienced as an amateur race photographer. So here are a few considerations, including some that I’ve shared with the athletes I coach, for the next time you race, spectate, or volunteer at an event.
Smile. Especially if a camera is pointed at you. You’ll soon forget about all the pain, even if it’s for a quick moment. Otherwise, you’ll have this not so pleasant look in all your race photos and someone will probably hijack it and incorporate it in a meme, or ship you some Metamucil for Christmas. You don’t want that, do you?
Finish Line Catchers. If you’re waiting for your person at the finish line, give them a few moments alone in the spotlight to celebrate their accomplishment before rushing in to hug them. They’ve earned it. Plus, your backside will be forever etched in your friend’s finish line photo, ruining a perfect moment they spent the last 6-8 months training for. Don’t be a dream killer. There were a few times I just gave up and couldn’t take any photos because there were so many people congregating with an athlete. More is not always better in this situation. A volunteer actually heard an athlete tell their friend who was hugging her while jumping up and down, “I’m going to throw up on you if you don’t get off me.” So there’s that potential biological hazard to worry about too.
Sprinting to the Finish Line. Athletes, before you get to the finish line, look in front and behind you. Allow the person in front to have their 5 seconds of fame. Don’t go sprinting to the finish (which means you had way too much gas left in the tank, but that’s a different discussion). You’ll end up ruining finish line photos of two people. Your fellow athlete and YOURS! In this case, photo-bombing is not cool, so don’t do it. Unless you’re okay with being THAT guy…or in my case, that girl from Japan who sprinted past me in the finish line chute in Kona only to hear Mike Reilly call my name first, and then hers as an afterthought because she couldn’t wait. She will be forever known as THAT girl. Choose wisely folks.
Celebrate and Get Out of the Way! If there’s another athlete finishing behind you, be courteous and do your end-zone touchdown dance and clear out. The person behind you should also have the opportunity to celebrate their finish…WITHOUT you in their picture. A set of triplets crossed the finish line at IRONMAN Boulder and spent what seemed like an eternity dancing around the finish line arch. A friend of mine along with several other athletes, were completely robbed of their finish line moment because of these three guys. She was only planning on racing one IRONMAN, so there’s no redo. Thanks guys, thanks a lot.
Distractions. There is nothing more fun at a race than seeing so many friends out racing and spectating. However, there is a time and place for catching up. Working media at a race is an entirely different beast. Not only are we tracking our own friends, but we are also keeping tabs on professional and notable athletes. Time is of essence and we are constantly looking at our watches and athlete trackers. Figuring out where to be and what part of the course. Sometimes we have a short window to use the restroom or grab a quick bite. If we seem distracted and not paying attention to you, it’s not because we don’t care. We have a job to do and don’t want to miss out on capturing special race moments. At IRONMAN Boulder, each Colorado-based athlete had a 303 sticker on their race bib (we hope to continue this tradition). Our mission was to take as many photos of these athletes along with many others. Being ready to point and shoot while two people are chattering in each ear takes sensory overload to a different level.
Look Up and Leave the Garmin ALONE! No one on Strava is going to care that your Garmin went over by 20 seconds. Your official finish time will be based on your timing chip, not your GPS tracking device. And if you are wearing a cap or visor, look up. We can’t see your pretty/handsome face if you are looking down at the ground. There’s nothing there but red carpet, concrete, and puddles of puke from the last person whose friend wouldn’t stop jumping up and down and hugging him. Eyes up folks!
Even with all these tips, sometimes the best photos are those capturing the human spirit. You might think you look awful, but someone else might be inspired by that image. Try to look beyond the ratty hair, salt stained clothing, and sunburnt limbs. Because behind that crusty and rough exterior is an awesome story of how that person woke up one day and decided they were going to be an IRONMAN.
Khem Suthiwan is a 4-time IRONMAN finisher (Canada, Lake Tahoe, Arizona, and Kona), triathlon coach with Mile High Multisport, IRONMAN Foundation Ambassador Athlete, and staff content editor/media correspondent with 303 Endurance Network. In addition to triathlon, she also races for the Palmares Racing cycling team in road and cyclocross. She’s an avid skier, SCUBA dives, and as a Colorado resident since January 2001 – enjoys all things Colorado. On December 31, 2017, she reached Everest Base Camp (elev. 17,600′, 5,380m) after trekking for 8 days in Nepal. If she’s not racing, you can find her out on the course supporting her friends.