October 28, 2018 (Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii) – Rom Akerson from Costa Rica and Lesley Paterson from Scotland captured the 23rd annual XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon elite titles on a sunny but muddy day in Kapalua, Maui.
It’s the first XTERRA World title for Akerson and the third for Paterson, who last won in 2011 and 2012. Both earned $20,000 for their respective victories, their share of the $100,000 elite purse.
More than 700 endurance athletes from 44 countries and 39 U.S. states competed in the event, which started with a one-mile rough water swim at D.T. Fleming Beach, continued with a muddy 18.5-mile mountain bike ride that traversed the West Maui Mountains, and finished with a 6.5-mile trail run through forest trails and beach sand.
There was more than 4,000 feet of combined climbing on the technical bike and run courses, which were muddy and slippery due to recent rainstorms on Maui’s northwest coast.
On a very difficult and muddy course Colorado athletes made a great showing.
Josiah Middaugh of Vail, rounded out the Pro Men’s race with a 5th place finish and the only American in the top 10.
In the Pro Women’s race, Americans Suzie Snyder, Julie Baker and Allison Baca, of Boulder, all finished in the top 10.
Deanna McCurdy of Littleton and Sharon McDowell-Larsen or Colorado Springs topped the podium in their Age Groups.
A sneak peek at the 23rd annual XTERRA World Championship tentative elite race start list reveals a wealth of past champions in the men’s lineup, and a golden opportunity for the women’s elite field.
The men’s race features the fearsome foursome, as the last four men to win the XTERRA World Championship are on the start list including the defending champ Bradley Weiss from South Africa, the 2016 champ Mauricio Mendez from Mexico, the 2015 champ Josiah Middaugh from the U.S., and the 2014, 2013, and 2008 winner Ruben Ruzafa from Spain.
Each of those four has made Maui their A-race for the season and will no doubt come into it in the best shape of their life. While it’ll be tough to top any of those guys, there are many who will try.
In the women’s elite race, Bermuda’s Flora Duffy, the first-and-only elite to win four in a row (2014-2017), is sitting this one out after a tough year dealing with injuries. Her focus now is getting the much-needed rest and recovery she needs to build herself back to unbeatable form for 2019.
“Really sad not to be in Maui…it just doesn’t seem right,” said Duffy, who will be missing Maui for the first time since 2012. “But Dan and I will be supporting the event and cheering everyone on from afar.”
In addition, last year’s runner-up Barbara Riveros, a 3x Olympian from Chile, will be racing the ITU World Cup in Korea on the same weekend to collect points towards 2020 Olympic qualification. Riveros, who finished 2nd three times in Maui, was 5th in Rio and hopes to do even better in Tokyo.
Read on for more great intel on the pro field and some amazing back stories on some of this year’s amazing age group athletes.