Ben Allen and Emma Jeffcoat held the banner high this weekend in Australia at XTERRA Callala in Jervis Bay, New South Wales.
Allen – who is one of the fastest XTERRA swimmers in the world – was out of the water first and never lost his lead. He finished the race in 2:27:22, about four minutes ahead of Rowan Beggs-French, who crossed the line in 2:31:23. Jacob Storey was third in 2:34:18.
“I just set off and did my thing,” said Allen. “I worked hard to establish a lead from the gun and didn’t look back.”
Beggs-French came out of the water two and a half minutes after Allen but eeked out the fastest bike split of the day – 1:23:00 to Allen’s 1:23:23. Storey had the fastest run split at 42:00. Allen finished the run in 43:10 and Beggs-French in 45:13.
“The bike course is tough but fun,” said Allen. “The terrain is forever changing, rocks, to mud, to hard-packed clay. It makes you have to really work hard. Rowan and Jacob kept me honest as I maintained my lead heading into the run. I was happy to claim a win on Aussie soil and finish the year off on a positive note.”
On the women’s side, Emma Jeffcoat finished in 2:45:01, almost eight minutes ahead of runner-up Kate Bramley, who finished in 2:52:43. Anne Alford was third in 2:52:56.
“For me the course at Callala was great,” said Jeffcoat. “It was my first XTERRA event ever so I was excited and a little nervous to see what all the talk about these XTERRA Warriors was all about.”
Jeffcoat, who is only 23, has been racing on the ITU circuit for one year. Most recently, she finished 18th for the U23 women at the 2017 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Rotterdam in her debut attempt.
Like Allen, Jeffcoat had the fastest swim of the day and beat most of the men out of the water with a 20:24 split. She also posted the fastest run split by almost four minutes, finishing the course in 45:26 to Bramley’s 49:02. Anne Alford smoked the bike in 1:35:51 to Jeffcoat’s 1:37:53.
“I grew up swimming in the surf so the beach swim was ideal,” said Jeffcoat. “It was my first time racing on the mountain bike and over a 30K course. There were definitely some challenging sections out there where I was tested, and hit the ground a few times, but I loved the thrill, challenge, dynamics, and strength focus of the bike course. I admire Flora Duffy and am working hard on improving my bike handling skills constantly. I can see how mountain biking and XTERRA racing are perfect for this, as the bike course was no easy feat.”
In 2018, Jeffcoat is focusing on the ITU World Series. Then, in October, she will head to Maui to compete in the XTERRA World Championship. In the past six months, Jeffcoat has been incorporating mountain biking and trail running into her weekly training.
Allen, who married Jacqui Slack last year, is already planning for the year ahead.
“Jacqui and I are planning a big year ahead, with new and exciting races on the horizon, a wedding or two thrown in and more adventures out there waiting for us,” said Allen. “We are focused on helping our #BandJRacing athletes to better themselves each and every day through triathlon and live a healthy and active lifestyle.”
Callala was home to the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship from 2014-to-2016, and the course is considered one of the best on the World Tour. The new XTERRA Australia Series for amateurs is organized by Elite Energy Events, one of Australia’s premier event management specialists, who helped produce the Asia-Pacific Championship in 2015-2016.
The series includes XTERRA Callala as well as XTERRA East Gippsland on the Mitchell River in the state of Victoria on February 10, 2018, and then XTERRA Townsville (Queensland) – famed for its amazing mountain bike trails – on September 1, 2018.
View complete race results at www.multisportaustralia.com.
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