Gomez, Paterson win XTERRA World Championship
A tsunami warning for the Hawaiian Islands was canceled early on Sunday morning, and then Javier Gomez Noya and Lesley Paterson went out and stormed the competition at the 2012 XTERRA World Championship at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua on the island of Maui.
Gomez Noya (pictured) was the overall winner, completing the course (1.5-kilometer swim, 30K mountain bike, 10K trail run) in 2 hours, 26 minutes, 54 seconds. The 29-year-old from Spain followed up his silver medal performance at the 2012 Olympics with an impressive victory in his inaugural XTERRA appearance.
"I didn't expect that," Gomez Noya said. "I had a really good swim ... but I knew these guys like Conrad (Stoltz) and the good mountain bikers, they are much better than me, especially on the technical sections, so my tactic was try to push really hard uphill because they you can go hard uphill and then on the downhill just not even try to go crazy fast, just try to recover and avoid crashing. It worked pretty well."
Gomez Noya swam to a significant lead, then lost it to Conrad Stoltz late on the bike, but regained the lead early in the run.
XTERRA USA Champion Josiah Middaugh from Colorado also passed Stoltz during the run and placed second in 2:27:41. Stoltz, who holds a record four XTERRA World Championships, was third in 2:30:04. The rest of the top 10, in order, displayed the international diversity of the field: Leonardo Chacon (Costa Rica), Victor Del Corral (Spain), Brent McMahon (Canada), Asa Shaw (France), Tim Don (United Kingdom), Yeray Luxem (Belgium) and Olivier Marceau (France).
After breaking through for her first XTERRA World Championship last year, Paterson did it again. She was the top female, finishing with a time of 2:44:12.
"It was perfect from start to finish for me," she said. "I've done some great training leading up to this. This was my big focus of the year, and it panned out exactly how I wanted it to."
The 32-year-old from Scotland took the lead early in the bike and then ran away from the other women. She finished more than four minutes ahead of runner-up Barbara Riveros (2:48:19) from Chile. Marie Rabie from South Africa was third in 2:53:56, and Heather Jackson from Carlsbad, Calif., was fourth. Riveros, Rabie and Jackson were all making their XTERRA World Championship debuts.
Among the age-group amateurs, a pair of California teenagers took the spotlight. Neilson Powless from Roseville, Calif., was the top overall amateur with a time of 2:42:36, while Hannah Rae Finchamp from Altadena, Calif., was the top female amateur in 3:05:56.
Powless is 16 and a sophomore at Roosevelt High School; Finchamp is 17 and a junior at Maranatha High School.
A capacity field of 750 athletes from around the world participated in the event. A tsunami warning was issued for all of the Hawaiian Island late Saturday night, but it was canceled early Sunday morning and conditions did not affect the race.