All six former champions of the country’s biggest off-road triathlon and trail run event, XTERRA England, have signed up to return and compete in the 2015 edition of the race.
The UK leg of the world off-road triathlon series will return to the Vachery Estate in Cranleigh ,Surrey on the Bank Holiday weekend 29/30th August 2015 for more muddy, off-road fun on the trails.
The question is, will one of them claim the 2015 title? Or will the race series crown a new winner with both domestic and European titles on the line.
The pro field is currently headlined by last year’s winners, the 7-time world champion Conrad Stoltz (RSA) and USA’s Emma Garrard – who both dominated the elite field last year to claim the 2014 titles. They they will be joined by the 2013 champions Ben Allen (Aus) and Jacqui Slack (GB), who are back for more and very motivated to win back the titles that slipped out their grasps last year. The 2012 winners (Vachery X-tri) complete the champions lounge with another 7-time world champion in the field, it can only be the one and only British triathlon legend Richard Stannard, who is going again for the win. Local Surrey triathlete Rachel Clay will more likely be competing for an age-group title and a place at Maui.
All six have committed to returning to XTERRA England in 2015, drawn not only by the sweet custom made trails and stunning, spring-fed clear boating lake swim, but also by the European Championship status afforded to the race. XTERRA England now offers prestigious National and European titles, a $25,000 prize purse and qualifying points for the historic 20th edition of the world championships held in Maui, Hawaii.
Age-group triathletes will have the opportunity to race on the same championship course with the pros and compete for prestigious amateur National and European titles, as well as 50 precious qualifying slots to Maui, Hawaii.
Last year’s winner, Conrad Stoltz said: “It’s an awesome race and I loved it last year. I can’t wait to come back for 2015.”
Australian Ben Allen said:“I can’t wait to get back to the UK and take part in XTERRA England. It’s an awesome race with an amazing atmosphere that feels like a mini festival.”
So far, a top pro field has been assembled already in addition to the champions, and no doubt many more will be added in the coming weeks and months. The starting line-up also includes: Matt Dewis (GB), Doug Hall (GB), Yeray Luxem (BEL), Tim McDowell (GB), Paul Hawkins (WAL), Theo Blignaut (RSA), Aya Stevens (SVN), Joanna Carritt (GB) and Louise Fox (GB).
XTERRA England offers the rare chance to swim, ride, run, race, eat, sleep, and dance in the serene and seductive ancient wooded countryside of Surrey. All on a private estate, no less, where huge open fields of grass welcome hundreds of campers, bands, caterers, and racers.
The championship distance is open to all triathletes and athletes of any ability and background and combines a 1.5K swim / 30K bike / 10K trail run on Sunday. There is also a half-distance sprint race option and athletes can join together to tackle either triathlon as part of a relay team. Soon to be added and new for this year will be 10km and 22km trail runs on the Saturday, kids triathlons and rumours abound about a bonfire and movie night.
The XTERRA England course starts with a swim in the strictly private and extraordinarily clean spring-fed Vachery Pond. The purpose built bike course has riders twisting in-and-out and up-and-down the dense tree-lined forests. It’s incredible how much turning is involved, most on perfectly tacky dirt. The run is just as fun, crossing over creeks and hopping over logs. There is certainly a primal feeling for those being chased, as well as those being chased down by others through the dark, cool forest.
Spectators are in for quite a treat as well with both the bike and run courses filter through the “arena” several times making it quite easy to track the action.
The event was dubbed the “Glastonbury of XTERRA” last year in large part to the massive amount of camping available in the wide-open fields, live music, access to elites and a great beer and catering tent, and one can expect that atmosphere to get even better this time around. To make things even sweeter, race weekend falls on the bank holiday (Monday off) and the annual Wings & Wheels celebration nearby treats the XTERRA crowd to amazing aerial displays from the Red Arrows and others.
Registration is open now at www.xterraengland.com