Max King found the perfect cure for a sickness – win the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship.
Despite running with flu-like symptoms, King won the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship for the third consecutive year today at Kualoa Ranch. King, who is from Bend, Oregon, completed the 12.9 mile course in 1 hour, 16 minutes, 36 seconds.
“I didn’t even know if I was going to make it to the race this morning, let alone win,” said King, 30. “I had a headache, my fever was going down, but I still felt terrible. But when I got here and started running on the course, I was surprised that I felt a lot better than I thought I would. I guess after all these years, running makes me feel pretty normal.”
When it comes to running XTERRA Trail Run Championship races, King is beyond normal. He is now 6-0 in the last six major XTERRA trail run races – three consecutive victories in the national championship race, and now three consecutive wins in the world championship race.
In the women’s race, Sally Meyerhoff (pictured) of Arizona took the victory in her first try at the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship.
Meyerhoff normally enters road races (she is the American record holder for a 10-mile road race), but she proved her worth on the tricky trails of Kualoa Ranch. She completed the course in a women’s record time of 1:28:58, which was good for ninth place overall, and nearly eight minutes ahead of the next female.
“I don’t do a ton of trail running, but I do marathons and half-marathons and I train really hard at the professional level,” said Meyerhoff, 26. “But this race tested me like I’ve never been tested before.”
Indeed, Meyerhoff collapsed after crossing the finish line and needed medical attention. She was eventually fine after receiving intravenous fluids.
King and Meyerhoff each received $2,000.
More than 1,500 runners from around the world competed in the event, which was the culmination of the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run season. Runners ranging in age from 12 to 75 participated, representing 30 states from across America, and seven other countries.
King won the race for the third consecutive year, but Will Christian of Maryland came closer to him than any previous runner in the last three years. Christian, 27, finished in second place with a time of 1:17:56 in his first race at Kualoa Ranch.
“Max is definitely a great runner,” Christian said. “He left me behind after about mile 9 going up the hills.”
King (pictured) said his experience at Kualoa Ranch made a difference in the last three miles of the race, and Christian agreed.
“That big hill in the back is usually the deciding factor in this race,” King said. “That’s kind of where we separated. The thing is, even if you’re used to mountain running, that big hill can make a big difference.”
Christian said: “Not knowing those hills, yeah, that was key for me. I didn’t know that hill kept going on and on.”
Rivers Puzey, a member of the cross country team at Brigham Young-Hawaii, placed third overall with a time of 1:20:54. He would have preferred to be at the NCAA Division II Championships this weekend, but his strong showing at Kualoa Ranch was a nice consolation.
“I didn’t qualify (for the NCAA-II meet), but when I heard about this, I wanted to try it,” said Puzey, who is originally from Oregon. “I didn’t have any expectations. I knew there were going to be a lot of fast runners, so to finish third, I am very happy.”
Brandon Mader, the Alabama trail run champion, placed fourth overall in 1:21:48, and Tyler Davis from Oregon was fifth in 1:23:07.
In the women’s race, Kim Kuehnert was a surprising runner-up. She is a sophomore on the Hawaii Pacific University cross country team and is not even the top-seeded runner on her own team.
“This is unbelievable,” said Kuehnert, who is originally from Germany. “The other girls (on the HPU team) were finishing ahead of me this season. For the most part, I was finishing third on my team.”
But she finished second overall today with a time of 1:36:52. Her HPU teammate, Ina Marie Hjorth, placed fourth among the women at 1:38:33.
Canada’s Melanie McQuaid – a three-time former XTERRA World Champion for off-road triathlon – placed third among the women at 1:38:11.
Canadians crowned 2010 XTERRA Trail Run World Champions
Melanie McQuaid (Victoria, B.C.) – 1st Women 35-39 – 1:38:11
George Taylor (Kelowna, B.C.) – 1st Men 75-79 (3rd World Title) – 3:42:24
Top 5 Men
1. Max King (Bend, Oregon) 1:16:36
2. Will Christian (California, Maryland) 1:17:56
3. Rivers Puzeyv (Hermiston, Oregon) 1:20:54
4. Brandon Mader (Huntsville, Alabama) 1:21:48
5. Tyler Davis (Talent, Oregon) 1:23:07
Top 5 Women
1. Sally Meyerhoff (Maricopa, Arizona) 1:28:58
2. Kim Kuehnert (Leverkusen, Germany) 1:36:52
3. Melanie McQuaid (Victoria, B.C.) 1:38:11
4. Ina Marie Hjorth (Aarhus, Denmark) 1:38:33
5. Rachel Cieslewicz (Salt Lake City, Utah) 1:40:26