CALLALA Beach played host to the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship over the weekend which saw over 330 athletes from all over the world descend on the area to compete in the gruelling international sporting event.
XTERRA is owned and produced by Hawaiian based TEAM Unlimited and is a series of off road triathlon races that include open water swimming, mountain biking and trail running.
The inaugural championships event was held over Saturday and Sunday and doubled as the XTERRA Australia Championship.
South Africa’s Dan Hugo took out the open men’s division in a time of 2:19.01, ahead of Australia’s Courtney Atkinson (2:22.49) and New Zealand’s Braden Currie (2:23.46).
“Great to win a championship, probably my first of this stature, it’s been a while coming. I grew up knowing Australia as the pinnacle of triathlon, where are all the legends are from, so to win in my first race here is special,” Hugo said.
Wollongong’s Ben Allen held on for fifth to a rousing applause at the finish line.
“It’s a win, even though I didn’t win,” said Allen. “It’s so great to see the race go off so well, and the community get involved, and everybody is happy,” he said.
Allen’s partner Jacqui Slack, competing for great Britain, also triumphed to finish third in the women’s division.
“Jacqui and I, my family, we love the sport and the people and wanted to do our best to welcome the XTERRA Tribe to Australia. The day came out amazing,” Allen said.
Bermuda’s Flora Duffy took out the open women’s event in 2:33.07, ahead of New Zealand’s Nicky Samuels (2:40.07) and Slack (2:44.29).
“This area is gorgeous,” Duffy said.
“Growing up in Bermuda I’m kind of a beach snob, so it takes a lot for a beach to impress me and I can tell you it’s gorgeous here, that white sand and water is beautiful. I really enjoyed the swim and seeing kangaroos, it definitely felt like Australia.”
The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship was the 10th of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26, 2014.
Daniel Neilson and Jessica Simpson were the top overall amateur finishers, and they, along with the fastest amateurs in each division, were named XTERRA Australia National Champions and awarded a qualifying spot into XTERRA Worlds for their efforts.
The weekend also included a sprint distance off-road triathlon, trail runs, children’s events, camps, clinics, and social gatherings.