XTERRA today announced the 25th edition of the XTERRA World Championship in Maui scheduled for November 8 and the 13th annual XTERRA Trail Run World Championship half-marathon on Oahu, December 6, have been cancelled due to COVID-19.
“The health and safety of our athletes, volunteers, crew, partners and host communities is and always will be our top priority,” said XTERRA President Janet Clark. “We realize the many emotional and economic factors this decision creates for so many good people in our extended XTERRA community, but ultimately we felt the risks involved with encouraging travel and hosting large gatherings was not acceptable.”
Other XTERRA events attracting big fields from across the U.S. and internationally that were cancelled include the off-road triathlon and trail running weekends scheduled for XTERRA Beaver Creek on July 18-19 in Avon, Colorado, XTERRA Oak Mountain on August 28-29 in Pelham, Alabama, and the XTERRA USA and XTERRA Trail Run National Championship events in Utah on September 19-20. In addition, the XTERRA America, Asia-Pacific, and European Tour point scoring systems have also been cancelled.
Over the past several months the XTERRA operations team scrutinized all available data and guidelines, put safe race plans in place, consulted with medical experts and permitting agencies, and carefully considered all options to host these events this year.
“We are confident our crew has the skill and ability to create contactless procedures and reformat the race experience to meet the highest standards of safety,” said Clark. “We also trust in the quality of character among XTERRA athletes to do the right thing before, during, and after a race. Even with that, however, the coronavirus has proven to be so unpredictable and contagious, we’re simply not comfortable putting the health and safety of our people and the well-being of the high-risk people in the local communities where we race in jeopardy.”
Sherry Duong, the executive director for the Maui Visitors & Convention Bureau, expressed her support of the decision.
“On behalf of the MVCB I’d first like to convey our sincere mahalo for the XTERRA partnership throughout the years. Your community support for the past 24 years has provided Maui County with many benefits we have come to love and appreciate. We realize it was a hard decision to cancel the 2020 XTERRA here on Maui, however, we appreciate you keeping the health and safety of our community at heart when the decision was made and look forward to the return of XTERRA in 2021 when the current situation has improved.”
Registered athletes will be offered their choice of 100% refund of their entry fee and any merchandise, deferral to the same event in 2021 if available, or the opportunity to donate to the host venue’s local Food Bank in support of the many people facing severe food insecurity due to the pandemic.
It’s important to note that several XTERRA World Tour destinations plan on hosting events on their original or postponed dates based on the unique public health guidelines in their communities.
“We will continue to assist our organizers and evaluate each event individually using safe-race guidelines and by following the direction provided by the Centers for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and local municipalities as it relates to the coronavirus,” said Clark.
A full list of events and their current status is available at xterraplanet.com/xterra-and-covid-19.
XTERRA World Tour events that proceed will qualify athletes to race at the 2021 XTERRA World Championships. The XTERRA World Championship off-road triathlon is scheduled for October 31, 2021 in Kapalua, Maui while the 2021 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship date and location are yet to be determined.
Clark added that, “Racing is in our DNA and XTERRA in-person events will return. In the meantime, our community will connect and support each other, and our crew will adapt and innovate – all while taking care of their families – to position the sport and lifestyle for a successful return in 2021.”
With many events being cancelled, XTERRA has taken its on-site activations online with the introduction of the XTERRA Connect digital platform. The initiative provides daily social media content including LIVE workouts and Q&A with XTERRA athletes and coaches, health and wellness insights, an XTERRA Yoga Series, training tips, its own XTERRA Podcast, and an emerging youth series. Virtual race offerings and interactive XTERRA University programs are in development.