A poorly marked course led to a show of solidarity.
After a rough day on course, Sam Osborne, Kieran McPherson, Ben Allen and Bradley Weiss banded together in solidarity to cross the finish line together as co-champions of the 2017 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship in Langkawi, Malaysia.
The day started with Allen and Osborne coming out of the water together, with Weiss and McPherson about one-minute back. By the 20K mark on the bike, those four were riding single file with Weiss leading the way. It was shaping up to be a great race between the top four athletes in the XTERRA rankings, but then “the last 5K of the bike we couldn’t find the signage on the course and we all went the wrong way,” said Allen.
“There were markers out there but they were everywhere,” added McPherson. “We’d get down a path and realize it led to nowhere and have to turnaround.”
“It was un-raceable at that point,” said Weiss.
While the group managed to find their way out of the bike route and back to the bike-to-run transition, the racing spirit was gone. Instead of turning it into a running race to see who won, they decided to neutralize the event, do the run together as a group, and finish together.
“Last thing in the world we wanted to do but really felt there was no other option,” said Osborne.
The decision was upheld by the racing committee, who agreed it was the best possible solution given the circumstances.
“We tried to pre-empt this from happening,” said Weiss. “We had been here from earlier in the week and were unclear where the course went. We had meetings to address our concerns but it didn’t get marked in time to pre-ride, so on race day we were still not sure where it went.”
In the women’s race, Austria’s Carina Wasle passed Great Britain’s Jacqui Allen on the run to win her third title in 13 days following wins at XTERRA Reunion Island and XTERRA Danao in the Philippines.
“I like this run course, lots of climbing and very technical,” said Wasle, who overcame a five-minute deficit on the run to take the win.
Allen had the fastest swim by more than one-minute and the best bike by nearly four-minutes. After being passed by Wasle on the run, however, she subsequently veered off-course and Myriam Guillot-Boisset moved into the second spot.
Leela Hancox from Australia, in her first race as an elite, finished fourth.