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Kieran McPherson and Sabrina Gobbo captured the 14th annual XTERRA Brazil elite titles on the island of Ilhabela, on Saturday, May 12. Read the recap from XTERRA below and see the beautiful images from photographer Wagner Araujo above.
It’s the second win of the year for McPherson, who took the XTERRA Argentina crown in March, and the first for Gobbo, who has now won on her home turf at XTERRA Brazil for five straight years.
In the men’s race it looked like Canadian Karsten Madsen was well on his way towards his second win in as many weeks. He led out of the water, all the way through the bike, and on to the run, but the experience McPherson had from last year’s race in Ilhabela, coupled with a killer run made all the difference.
“I am ecstatic with my first gold level XTERRA win and excited for it to come her in Brazil on this renowned tough course,” said McPherson. “It was hard coming in a close second-place last year and I was determined not to let it happen again.”
In the women’s race, former competitive swimmer Kelli Montgomery was first out of the water, but no one could keep up with Sabrina Gobbo as she expertly navigated the mountain bike course with the fastest split of the day by four minutes. She backed this up with the fastest run split of the day to take the tape in 3:30:50.
“I suffered out there today, it was hard, and for the first time here I had technical problems,” Gobbo posted to her Facebook page. “At one point I thought everything was lost, but this is like an adventure race … just when everything seems lost, the wind starts blowing in your favor.”