Have you ever watched a triathlon on TV, such as an Iron Man event or the ever popular Escape from Alcatraz triathlon? Or how about a mountain bike race? Did you think these events looked like fun, but that they would be even more fun if you put them together? The organizers of XTERRA thought so, which was why they created the first triathlon that involved mountain biking and trail running instead of road cycling and street marathons in 1996. Since then the sport has caught on like wildfire, inspiring tours, sponsorships, championships, and even a line of athletic wear. If you'd like to learn more about XTERRA, you've come to the right place. This site is dedicated to all XTERRAns, past, present, and future.
So what does it take to race in an XTERRA event? A high degree of physical fitness and the drive to win, for starters. Each XTERRA race consists of a 1.5 kilometer swim in the open ocean followed by a 30 kilometer mountain bike ride over rough wilderness trails and then a further 11 kilometer run along the same trails to the finish line. The distances are comparable to a standard triathlon (though still far shorter than an Iron Man or ultra distance triathlon) but with the added factor of uneven surfaces and harsher conditions that require the stability and balance of a mountain goat as well as speed and endurance.
XTERRA may have begun as a single event held in Hawaii but it quickly became popular enough to expand to many races. Currently there is a whole US circuit as well as a world circuit with races in various different countries, such as New Zealand and Mexico. The winners of each world race are invited to join the winners of the US circuit to compete in the world championship race in Maui in October. XTERRA organizers also put on trail runs in various cities to promote the sport and benefit local charities.
Both pros and amateurs are invited to take part in XTERRA races. For pros, placing in competitions earns them points toward championship prizes as well as individual pots of up to $10,500. The winner of the US Pro series could walk away with over $250,000 and the chance at winning a further $100,000 at the world championships. For amateurs, it's a chance to pit themselves against other athletes in their age group and possibly get the attention of sponsors and earn a spot in the world championship.
Think you couldn't compete? Think again! Anyone with the will to train hard enough to make it through the races can compete in an XTERRA event. Sitting through a visit to your dentist is much more difficult! Which one you will qualify for depends on where you live, but you could even have a chance at the Maui championship if you're dedicated enough. Want to know more? Then browse our extensive store of articles on XTERRA, mountain biking, swimming, trail running, and training for more ideas on how to make your XTERRA dream into a reality.
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