Bradley Weiss from South Africa and Flora Duffy from Bermuda captured the 24th XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon elite titles on a beautiful day at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui’s northwest coast Sunday morning.
It’s the second title in three years for Bradley Weiss, who won it in 2017 and was second last year, and the unprecedented fifth XTERRA World Championship crown for Flora Duffy, who won four straight from 2014-2017 before sitting out last year due to injury. Both earned $20,000 for their respective 2019 XTERRA World Championship victories, their share of the $100,000 elite purse.
More than 600 endurance athletes from 42 countries and 42 U.S. states competed in the event, which started with a one-mile rough water swim at D.T. Fleming Beach, continued with a grueling two-lap 20-mile mountain bike ride that traversed the West Maui Mountains, and finished with a 6.5-mile trail run through forest trails and beach sand. There was nearly 4,000 feet of combined climbing on the technical bike and run courses, which were dry all week before a heavy downpour on race morning made the early riding slick and challenging.
The morning rain served up a traditional Hawaiian blessing on the day then quickly gave way to bright sunshine and super-fast racing among the best off-roaders on the planet, including six past world champions and a wealth of young, talented competitors from more than 40 countries.
Read the recap from XTERRA below:
2019 XTERRA World Championship Men’s Recap
Sam Osborne from New Zealand was first out of the water, followed closely by Maxim Chane of France and Weiss.
Once on the bike, Weiss and Osborne took to the front and three-time XTERRA World Champ Ruben Ruzafa from Spain joined them soon after. It was on the uphills where Weiss made his mark.
Coming out of the bike to run transition, Weiss and Ruzafa began the run together, with Ruzafa displaying some quick leg speed. At about the four-kilometer mark, Weiss made his move, but he couldn’t breathe a sigh of relief just yet.
Behind him, with Osborne, was 25-year old Arthur Serrieres, who won this year’s XTERRA European Tour with victories at XTERRA Greece, Czech Republic, and Denmark. He has been running incredibly fast this season, and Weiss knew that he had to keep pushing if he was going to hold onto his lead.
Serrieres pulled away from Osborne at kilometer three and then caught Ruzafa before the eight-kilometer mark. Serrieres posted the fastest run split of the day, just four seconds faster than California’s Chad Hall, who finished 13th overall.
Weiss crossed the finish line in 2:33:39 to earn his second world title.
“I didn’t know I would ever win again, so today’s win today was incredibly wonderful,” he said of his expectations coming into the 2019 XTERRA World Championship. “It’s such a unique race and special race and something that so many athletes put time and effort into and that makes it all the more sweet to win, knowing that everyone arrives here in the best shape on race day. You have to make it count. I couldn’t be happier.”
Serrieres finished second overall with a time of 2:34:56 and was thrilled with his day.
“On the bike course, I couldn’t catch the leaders, and I told myself, ‘Come on Arthur, save some energy for the run and maybe you can finish fourth. That would be a great performance.’ To finish second with today’s competition, I think I am entering another dimension. Next year, I really want to be an XTERRA World Champ.”
Ruzafa was third in 2:35:26, his sixth top-three finish over the last seven years (he was fourth last year). Osborne came in fourth and Cedric Fleureton from France was fifth for the second time in three years.
Josiah Middaugh came in sixth and was the top American for the ninth straight year and 12th time overall. Also impressive was last year’s top amateur, Czech Republic’s Karel Dusek, who finished seventh in 2:42:38.
2019 XTERRA World Championship Women’s Recap
In the women’s race, it was Duffy all day long with the fastest swim, bike, and run times to take the tape in 2:49:23. With the win, Duffy becomes the first elite – male or female – to win a fifth XTERRA World Championship, and she’s now won her last 12 XTERRA races and 17 of 20 since 2013.
She had the fastest swim by over a minute, the fastest bike split by almost six minutes and the fastest run time by about three minutes. This is especially impressive given that she spent most of this year focusing on getting healthy after suffering a tear in her post-tibial tendon, which attaches the bones in her calf muscle to the bones on the inside of her foot.
“Getting healthy has been the main thing this year,” said Duffy, after the race. “So it’s great to win the XTERRA World title in a year that has otherwise been quite disappointing. This is a huge, lovely highlight to end my year with.”
Duffy came out of the water with the elite men’s leaders and was third overall heading into the swim to bike transition.
“I felt pretty good coming out of the water and tried not to extend myself too much,” she said. “On the bike, I knew I had to make the most of that first, three-mile climb because after that, the course gets technical, and that’s not really my strength.”
Despite the slick conditions, Duffy opened up a significant lead before the bike to run transition. From there, she continued to extend her lead and crossed the finish line to take the 2019 XTERRA World Championship victory in 2:49:23.
Three-time and 2018 XTERRA World Champ, Lesley Paterson, also had a fantastic race despite a hamstring injury. She was out of the water quickly and dominated the bike and run in her usual fashion. Once Paterson hit second place, she held onto it for the rest of the race and crossed the finish line in 3:03:36.
“I really did enjoy myself out there,” she said, “Because of my hamstrings, the run wasn’t pleasurable, but that’s OK. I have the off-season to heal them up.”
While Duffy and Paterson held onto their positions, the race for third was a tight one between American Suzie Snyder, Czech Republic’s Helena Karaskova Erbenova, New Zealand’s Lizzie Orchard, and France’s Morgane Riou.
Karaskova Erbenova won the foot race, running her way to a finish in 3:04:38. Her last major performance was a fifth-place finish at XTERRA Worlds in 2016, and her podium finish this year was made even more sweet as this will be Karaskova Erbenova’s last race as an elite.
“I’m retiring after today, and this is the greatest celebration I can imagine,” she said.
Riou finished fourth, with Orchard rounding out the top five. Suzie Snyder was the first American in sixth.
Read the complete recap from XTERRA here.
2019 XTERRA World Championships
Maui, Hawaii – Oct. 28, 2019
1-mile swim, 20-mile bike, 6.5-mile run
1. Bradley Weiss (RSA) 2:33:39
2. Arthur Serrieres (FRA) 2:34:54
3. Ruben Ruzafa (ESP) 2:35:23
4. Sam Osborne (NZL) 2:37:02
5. Cedric Fleureton (FRA) 2:37:25
6. Josiah Middaugh (USA) 2:40:36
7. Karel Dusek (CZE) 2:42:37
8. Karsten Madsen (CAN) 2:43:39
9. Maxim Chane (FRA) 2:43:55
10. Karel Zadak (CZE) 2:44:03
1. Flora Duffy (BER) 2:49:23
2. Lesley Paterson (SCO) 3:03:35
3. Helena Erbenova (CZE) 3:04:37
4. Morgane Riou Fontenay (FRA) 3:05:22
5. Lizzie Orchard (NZL) 3:05:32
6. Suzie Snyder (USA) 3:06:00
7. Alizee Paties (FRA) 3:10:55
8. Penny Slater (AUS) 3:11:53
9. Samantha Kingsford (NZL) 3:15:46
10. Carina Wasle (AUT) 3:16:31