More than 1,000 runners from around the world will participate in the race, and King is undoubtedly the man to beat. He has won the last five major XTERRA Trail Run races - taking first at the XTERRA National Championship in 2008-10, and the XTERRA World Championship in 2008-09.
King (left), 30, won last year's 21-kilometer XTERRA World Championship race with a time of 1 hour, 14 minutes, 26 seconds, which was almost three minutes faster than his closest competition. But he is taking nothing for granted this year, and said the unpredictable nature of the Kualoa Ranch course will be a factor.
"This course is relentless," he said. "This course just keeps throwing hill after hill at you. The changes made last year made the course even more difficult by throwing in a fresh cut path through the jungle with uneven footing and a few more steep hills. Then to top it off, there's a nice two miles of single track 'trail' with the great uneven footing and slick conditions to take you into the finish. I love it."
King noted that temperatures are currently in the 30s in Bend, so running in 80-degree weather at Kualoa Ranch will also be a factor for many of the out-of-state competitors.
"Weather is definitely a factor for us coming from the mainland, where it's been cold and dry," he said. "The heat and humidity add another element of adversity that the body has to manage. If you're not practiced at the art of managing adversity, you'll have a very tough time with this course."
King won the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship for the third consecutive year in September at his hometown of Bend. Since then he has won the USA Marathon Trail Championships and placed second at the USA National 50K Trail Championships and sixth at the Under Armour Baltimore Marathon.
The XTERRA Trail Run World Championship serves as the finale of the 2010 XTERRA Trail Run Series, and some of the world's best trail-runners will compete in the 21-kilometer race for a $10,000 prize purse. International runners from Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan and New Zealand are entered. In addition, more than 30 states across America will be represented with runners on the starting line.
The backdrop of Kualoa Ranch was enticing enough to serve as a filming location for LOST, as well as the hit movies Godzilla, Jurassic Park, 50 First Dates, Pearl Harbor and several others.
What's more, even novice runners can compete on the pristine Kualoa Ranch trails on Dec. 5. The world championship contenders race on a 13.1 mile course, but there will also be a separate 10-kilometer race and a 5-kilometer race on that day.
Entry fees range from $30 for the 5K to $55 for the half-marathon. Entry forms and online registration are available at: www.xterraplanet.com/xduro/championship.html
A portion of every entry for the 5K, 10K and half-marathon runs will go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation - Hawaii Chapter (JDRFhawaii.org) to help in their ongoing efforts to find a cure.