Nick Walker of Canada finished first overall in the 11K. Christine Schleifer of Germany was first in the women’s division in her first trail run ever.
The event featured two races – an 11K course and a 5K course. A record field of 696 runners registered for the races.
Walker completed the course in 42 minutes, 39 seconds, besting his time of last year by more than one minute.
The unique course features uphill and downhill sections along the lower slopes of Haleakala, followed by a run along the sand at Makena Beach, and a section into “Spooky Forest.”
Walker said he took the lead two miles into the race and then “ran scared the whole way.”
“I was looking over my shoulder a ton,” he said.
But no other runner came close to Walker. Andy Downin of Eugene, Ore., placed second with a time of 43:51, and Pablo Ureta of Switzerland was third in 44:13.
Schleifer was an impressive fourth overall, and first among the women with a time of 44:42. She traveled to Maui this week to watch her boyfriend, Sebastian Kienle, compete in the XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon.
“I heard about this beach run and said I’ll try it,” Schleifer said. “It’s a pretty hard course, especially the climb. It’s quite long. I didn’t expect that … I usually don’t run on stones. Usually I run only on the road.”
Yvonne Van Vlerken of Austria placed second with a time of 47:06. Van Vlerken won the women’s division last year, and placed seventh at the Ford Ironman World Championship two weeks ago on the Big Island.
Walker and Schleifer each received roundtrip airfare from Hawaiian Airlines, good for travel between Hawaii and the West Coast. Walker used the roundtrip ticket he won last year to return to Maui this year. He said he will follow the same plan next year.
In the 5K race Maui’s own Jake Jacobs, 13, was victorious after a daring sprint down the stretch.
Jacobs is 13 and in the eighth grade at Kalama Intermediate in Makawao. He started distance running three months ago, and the 5K was the longest race he has completed.
“I was really surprised that I didn’t have that much competition running in front of me,” he said.
Richard Stoffel of Switzerland actually led for most of the race, but Jacobs sprinted past him in the final 200 yards. Stoffel placed second, two seconds behind Jacobs.
Natacha Moreau of France placed an impressive third overall and first among the women with a time of 24:23. She is in Maui with her boyfriend Asa Shaw, who is entered in the XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon.
The XTERRA Makena Beach Trail Runs were a benefit for the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Maui County.
The trail runs were held in conjunction with the XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon, which will take place Sunday, Oct. 24, at the Makena Beach & Golf Resort.
For more information on XTERRA trail runs or the XTERRA World Championship, visit www.xterraplanet.com. For a highlight video of the XTERRA Makena Beach Trial Runs, visit http://www.xterra.tv?bcpid=96876705001&bclid=30080813001&bctid=646405553001