This year’s XTERRA World Championship takes place on Oct. 29. (If you’re planning ahead, other future dates are October 28, 2018 and October 27, 2019). If you want to experience the off-road race of a lifetime—swimming with turtles, biking and running among pineapples—here’s what you gotta do to nab one of the approximately 750 spots.
The race season is underway, with 42 races in 33 countries around the world offering qualification opportunities. There are several ways to punch your ticket to this iconic event. If you live in the U.S. or Canada, travel is most convenient to the Pan-American (a series of 10 events connecting South, Central and North America) or the America Tour (45 races just in North America, divided into eight regions). There is also an Asia-Pacific Tour and a European Tour option for globe-trotting triathletes, but we’re sticking with your qualifying options from events in North, Central and South America.
Earn a qualifying spot at a Pan-American Tour event
Each event in the Pan-American Tour is ranked gold or silver. The gold events have 51 qualifying spots that go to the top five in each age group and roll down until all spots are filled. Gold events in North America include XTERRA Oak Mountain (Alabama), XTERRA Beaver Creek (Colorado), XTERRA Mexico and XTERRA Ogden (Utah). Silver events have 26 qualifying spots given to the top three in each age group and roll down until they are filled. XTERRA Victoria (British Columbia) is the silver-level event in North America.
So placing top five at a gold event and top three at a silver event will automatically qualify you for Maui. Athletes have two weeks to sign up for Maui before their spot will roll down to the next qualified athlete.
Win your age group overall on the Pan-American Tour
The Pan-American Tour has 10 stops throughout North, Central and South America and awards points depending on your placement within your age group (first place gets more points than second, etc.). The age-group champions are the athletes who have amassed the most points by the end of the tour. Since all races count, this system rewards athletes who race frequently but might struggle to crack the podium. These slots do not roll down.
Win your age group regional championship on the American Tour
XTERRA identifies eight regions in the U.S. with qualifying events. Athletes score points by placing in the top 15 at 45 races held in 30 states. At least one scoring event must be in their home region, and otherwise points can be earned at any race on the American Tour. Just like on the Pan-American Tour, the athlete with the most points wins the region and a spot to Maui.
Athletes have until Aug. 26 to race at least two events vying for the regional America Tour title in their age group. If an athlete who has automatically qualified for Maui also wins the region, that spot will roll down to the next placing athlete in the region.
Score a spot at Canadian events
There are Canadian events that are not part of either series but offer 15 automatic qualification spots. These include XTERRA Canmore (Alberta) and XTERRA Quebec. These 15 spots are given out to the winner in each category based on the date the athlete signed up to race. There are 24 age groups, so spots will not be offered to every age group. There is incentive to sign up for the race early, as this will determine the order in which spots are offered to qualified athletes.
For the XTERRA Sleeping Giant (Ontario) event, six automatic qualifying spots will be offered the top three male and female age-groupers overall. If a spot isn’t taken, it will roll down to the next overall athlete in that gender.
Finally, there is a series bonus of qualifying spots for participation in a combination of XTERRA Parry Sound and XTERRA Mine over Matter. These two Ontario races offer 14 Maui spots as a series bonus for best two combined finishes. The Maui spots are given away equally to seven men and seven women, divided among 10-year age groups (even though Maui divides age groups into five-year increments). Athletes earning the qualification have one week to accept their spot in Maui before it is rolled down to the next qualified athlete.
For a complete schedule, list of qualifying races, description of the America Tour regions and a breakdown of how points are allocated, go to Xterraplanet.com/worlds/qualify.