Flora Duffy defends, Josiah Middaugh brings the XTERRA world crown back to the USA after 15 years.

Flora Duffy defends, Josiah Middaugh brings the XTERRA world crown back to the USA after 15 years.

Fifteenth time was the charm for American Josiah Middaugh of Vail, Colo., who won his first XTERRA World title in his fifteenth start at the Maui race. After finishing second last year to Spaniard Ruben Ruzafa, Middaugh started the run 1:45 down on Ruzafa and steadily closed the gap to finish first in 2:35:32, three minutes ahead of second place finisher Braden Currie of New Zealand. On the women’s side, two-time Olympian and defending champion Flora Duffy of Bermuda led from the start gun through the breaktape, capturing her second consecutive XTERRA world title in 2:54:18, about five minutes ahead of runner-up Lesley Paterson, also a two-time XTERRA world champ.

Men’s Race
Conditions were relatively calm for the 1-mile rough water swim at DT Fleming Beach, skirting the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua property. Aussie Courtney Atkinson was first to hit the beach for the quick sand run that splits up the swim, followed by a group that included German Jens Roth, Aussie Ben Allen, Kiwi Sam Osborne and Mauricio Mendez from Mexico. Atkinson was the first into transition with the fastest swim of 20:53, with the same group of Roth, Allen, Osborne and Mendez following less than a minute behind. Middaugh was 12th out of the water in 23:30, tailed by Ruzafa in 13th, and quickly went to work on the bike to close the gap to the front. By mile 6 of the 20-mile ride, Ruzafa, a former pro mountain biker, had charged to the front with Currie just seconds behind him, as well as Francisco Serrano from Mexico and Middaugh less than a minute behind the defending champion. By mile 13, Middaugh had moved up to second, about 40 seconds down from Ruzafa. As the lead men entered T2, Ruzafa had a 1:45 lead onto the challenging 10K run course. (Last year, Middaugh ran this course two minutes faster than Ruzafa.) Before the first mile of the run, Middaugh had made up 15 seconds on Ruzafa, with Currie still in third. Middaugh overtook Ruzafa by mile 3 and held his position through the breaktape with the second-fastest 10K of the day (41:59) to become the first American in 15 years to win the Maui race. Currie finished second, and Ruzafa rounded out the podium in third.

Women’s Race
In a sea of green caps at the front of the swim, there was a lone pink one—that belonging to Flora Duffy, the ITU racer who finished this year’s series ranked 7th in the world. Duffy swam with the lead men’s pack, exiting the swim alone, but trailed closely by Canadian Christine Jeffrey, Jacqui Slack of the UK, American Emma Garrard and Mexico’s Fabiola Corona. Lesley Paterson was fifth out of the water. By mile 6 of the ride Paterson had moved up to second, 2:10 down on Duffy, followed by Garrard. That 1-2-3 order continued into T2, but by then Paterson had closed the gap to just 1:35. Although Duffy said post-race she struggled throughout the day, she was able to hold off Paterson and the other women with a 46:23 10K, second fastest of the day. Paterson held her position with a 49:36 run, and Garrard ran a race-best 46:09 for third, her best finish place here in Maui. She was also the top American woman for the third straight year.

Complete results here

XTERRA World Championship
Nov. 1, 2015 – Kapalua, Maui
1-mile swim, 10-mile bike, 6.5-mile run

1. Josiah Middaugh (USA) 2:35:32
2. Braden Currie (NZL) 2:38:31
3. Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) 2:40:41
4. Mauricio Mendez (MEX) 2:40:55
5. Courtney Atkinson (AUS) 2:42:28
6. Francisco Serrano (MEX) 2:42:58
7. Yeray Luxem (BEL) 2:44:46
8. Rom Akerson (CRC) 2:45:08
9. Nicolas Fernandez (FRA) 2:46:52
10. Ben Hoffman (USA) 2:49:57

1. Flora Duffy (BER) 2:54:18
2. Lesley Paterson (GBR) 2:59:17
3. Emma Garrard (USA) 3:03:29
4. Myriam Guillot Boisset (FRA) 3:07:28
5. Elizabeth Orchard (NZL) 3:09:58
6. Carina Wasle (AUT) 3:11:24
7. Helena Erbenova (CZE) 3:17:13
8. Jacqui Slack (GBR) 3:18:05
9. Renata Bucher (SUI) 3:19:35
10. Susan Sloane (RSA) 3:20:45