(Honolulu, HI) – This Sunday, December 3, more than 1,500 runners will show up at Kualoa Ranch on Oahu to face off against the mountain, the mud, and themselves. Some have been coming to “the Ranch” since the first XTERRA Trail Run World Championship half-marathon in 2008. For others, it’s their first time on these hallowed trails.
This year – as in all years – the field is tough. In the men’s race, defending and two-time XTERRA Trail Run World Champ Joe Gray is the clear-cut favorite. Last year Gray won the World Mountain Running Championship and led Team USA to their first-ever gold.
Gray’s US Mountain Running teammate, Andy Wacker, is hoping to keep him honest, as is three-time USATF National Champ Sage Canaday, and Patrick Stover from the Big Island of Hawaii.
Because this is XTERRA Trail Run Worlds, these Americans will be competing against other distance and mountain runners from all over the world, like Antonio Goncalves, who won the XTERRA Ilhabela Trail Run in Brazil and William Paiva, who was second in that same race.
In the women’s race, 2013 and 2016 XTERRA Trail Run World Champ Polina Carlson will be looking to win her third title at Kualoa Ranch. Currently training for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials, Carlson won the XTERRA Gunstock Trail Half Marathon in October and was 9th at her first ultra – the Broken Arrow Sky Race 52K – which included many miles of snow and ice.
Jill Thompson will be joining Carlson at the start. The 37-year old has been focused on raising her four children, but Thompson was a standout runner at Georgetown University, which is one of the top NCAA Division I running programs in the country. At the XTERRA Gunstock Trail Half Marathon in October, she finished just five seconds behind Carlson.
Malia Crouse, who recently won the XTERRA Kapalua 10K on Maui, will be one to watch at Kualoa Ranch as well. She was third at XTERRA Trail Run Worlds last year and has been training hard for the Honolulu Marathon in December, so she’s in fighting shape.
Malory Young is an ultra and trail runner who finished sixth at Trail Run Worlds last year. Some of the top runners from the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship are flying out to Oahu to see how they do down at sea level as well such as Giselle Slotboom, who was second at Trail Run Nationals behind Lesley Paterson, and Megan Flanagan, who was fifth. Emma Kosciak, who was a regional champ in the XTERRA Texas Trail Series and placed ninth at XTERRA Trail Run Nationals, will also be at Trail Run Worlds, as will mountain runner Emma Kraft.
Geisla Dos Santos Moraes, who has been racing and setting records on the trails in Brazil for the past eight years, qualified for the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship at XTERRA Ilhabela in Brazil. She will be joined by runner up Claudete Lima.
In all, there are runners from 22 countries coming to Oahu to race on the iconic course, which features technical single track, about 1,700-feet of climbing, and varied terrain from high pasture to volcanic gulches.
Of note, there are 15 age group champions from the 2016 race returning to defend those crowns, listed here:
2016 XTERRA Trail Run World Champions in the 2017 Race:Div M/F Name Hometown Finish 1-9 F Nova Stickley Kaneohe, HI 4:00:50 15-19 F Claire Cutler Kailua, HI 2:27:27 25-29 F Polina Carlson (3) Kailua, HI 1:38:06 30-34 F Malia Crouse Makawao, HI 1:46:14 30-34 M Joseph Gray (2) Colorado Springs, CO 1:17:15 35-39 M Sergio Florian (2) Kaaawa, HI 1:36:54 40-44 M Jerome Auruskuvecius Anchorage, AK 1:45:13 40-44 F Mindy Morizumi Lahaina, HI 1:57:12 45-49 F Maria Lourdes Rivera Glendale, CA 2:15:31 45-49 M Kengo Yoshimoto Honolulu, HI 1:41:42 50-54 M Mark Geoghegan Honolulu, HI 1:42:19 50-54 F Monica Ross Anchorage, AK 1:53:27 55-59 M Michael Fussell Grapevine, TX 1:46:22 55-59 F Marcy Fleming Kailua, HI 2:41:46 65-69 F Jo May Houston, TX 3:57:59
Countries Represented: 22
Argentina (2), Australia (12), Brazil (10), Canada (33), Costa Rica (3), Czech Republic (1), France (3), French Polynesia (3), Germany (2), Guam (2), Hong Kong (1), Hungary (2), Italy (2), Japan (30), Malaysia (4), New Zealand (15), Poland (1), Puerto Rico (2), Sweden (1), Switzerland (2), United Kingdom (2), United States of America (1173)
United States Represented: 38
Breakdown: Alaska (4), Arizona (18), California (57), Colorado (17), Connecticut (1), Delaware (1), District of Columbia (2), Florida (8), Georgia (6), Hawaii (924), Idaho (2), Illinois (4), Indiana (1), Iowa (2), Louisiana (1), Maryland (6), Massachusetts (7), Michigan (1), Minnesota (2), Mississippi (1), Missouri (3), Nebraska (1), Nevada (3), New Mexico (6), New York (7), North Carolina (1), Ohio (13), Oklahoma (2), Oregon (7), Pennsylvania (4), South Carolina (3), Texas (12), Utah (9), Vermont (2), Virginia (10), Washington (15, Wisconsin (4), Wyoming (2)
By Age Group
Youngest Female in the 21K – Nova Stickley – Kaneohe, Hawaii, 9
Youngest Male in the 21K – Justin Denny – Pahala, Hawaii, 15
Youngest Female Overall – Jacque Freeland – Kailua, Hawaii, 6
Youngest Male Overall – Ashton Morrow – Sydenham, Ontario, 6
Oldest Male in the 21K – Tom Miller – Park City, Utah, 75
Oldest Female in the 21K – Sandi Kauahikaua – Waimanalo, Hawaii, 71
Oldest Male Overall: Bill Cunningham – Kaneohe, Hawaii, 84
Oldest Female Overall: Carolyn Laub – Kaneohe, Hawaii, 81
CHAMPIONSHIP COURSE STATS
Length: 21km/13.1 miles
Starting Elevation: 50’
Lowest point: 27’
Highest point: 751’
Total climbing: approx 1,700’
Trails: open dirt road, dual track dirt road, single track & sometimes no track
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