Josiah Middaugh and Flora Duffy were the winners of the 20th Xterra off-road Triathlon World Championships in Kapalua, Maui yesterday.
Middaugh won the men’s title at the 15th time of asking, becoming the first American to take top spot since Michael Tobin in 2000. ITU star Duffy capped of a perfect Xterra season with five straight wins on the tour, and won her second championship in successive years. It meant a cool $20,000 for the winners from a total prize purse of $100,000, with prize money going to the top 10 male and female finishers.
Commenting on his victory (and beating favourite Ruben Ruzafa of Spain), Middaugh said:
“I felt really good on the bike. He put a minute into me on the last five miles but there’s nothing you can do, he’s an amazing rider.
On the run I was making back 20-30 seconds a mile on him. I was shocked! Last year he was climbing at the same speed as I was. I was charging as hard as I could, I was lifting my knees and pumping as hard as I could go and I knew I was coming back on him.
“A couple years ago I knew I had to win it now! I had to stop saying “one of these years” and start saying “this year…this year I’m going to win this race. I felt it more than ever this year and knew I could do it, I knew I had to do it.”
In the women’s race, Bermudan Flora Duffy held pole position for the duration, posting the fastest swim split and fending off an inspired Lesley Paterson on the bike course.
Duffy said: “I had the big target on my back, and I came here with a mission. I wanted to defend, and got away with that by the skin of my teeth today. I really struggled on the bike course at times.
“It was so great to come down the finish chute and repeat as world champion. I was pretty glad to put my hands up for the win.”
Incredibly Paterson’s impressive result came despite spending large parts of the season recovering from injury and illness. Posting the fastest women’s bike split of the day, Paterson was catching Duffy on the bike and was in striking distance on the run, but had to settle for second place. She said:
“I was going for it on the bike, that’s where my strength is,” said Paterson. “I came off on the run and went for it and then I blew. It was really hot, it was brutal, and I deal with heat pretty well!”
“I’m just lucky to be here, I’ve spent the last few years getting over injuries and illness and I felt honoured to be in the fight today.”
Jacqui Slack (GBR) came 8th in of the women’s pro field. More than 800 athletes from 43 countries participated in the event, which started in relatively calm waters but included extremely tough 32km bike and 10.5km run sections, with over 1000m of climbing on the course combined.
Pro men – top 5
1. Josiah Middaugh (USA) – 2:35:32
2. Braden Currie (NZL) – 2:38:30
3. Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) – 2:40:40
4. Mauricio Mendez (MEX) – 2:40:54
5. Courtney Atkinson (AUS) – 2:42:27
Pro women – top 5
1. Flora Duffy (BER) – 2:54:17
2. Lesley Patterson (GBR) – 2:59:16
3. Emma Garrard (USA) – 3:03:28
4. Myriam Guillot-Boisset (FRA) – 3:07:27
5. Lizzie Orchard (NZL) – 3:09:57
What did you think of the race? Let us know in the comments!