March 10, 2012 - Ben Allen and Renata Bucher captured the inaugural XTERRA Guam Championship on Saturday, March 10 on a beautiful day in the United States island territory of Guam, the largest and southernmost of the Mariana Islands. It is the second XTERRA Championship for Allen, who also won XTERRA Brazil last year, and the 22nd title spanning 12 countries in the illustrious career of Renata Bucher.
As the sun rose over Port Authority Beach, the race began with a deep water start and two laps of 750-meters. First out of the water were local boys Soujyu Usui (team swimmer) followed by Josh Alba. Only a few seconds back was Australian pro Ben Allen in 19:45 with Colorado’s Branden Rakita (USA) 20:57 and Olivier Marceau (SUI) 22:40. The first woman out of the swim was U.K.’s Jacqui Slack 23:09 in 8th overall and 4th pro swimmer. Saipan’s Mieko Carey was second woman out of the water. Of note, 10th placed swimmer overall was local 7th grader, 13 year-old Justin Fell. Remember that name…he’s determined to make it big.
Out on the 31K bike course, 2,400 total feet of climbing awaited, starting with a grueling ascent on pavement up Nimitz Hill, but from there it was true mountain biking –red dirt, slippery mud with sections that resembled quick sand, “oompah loompah” oopdy doops, and fast descents- enough to test even the most accomplished biker.
But the day belonged to Aussie Ben Allen who won the race in 2:29:42 – just under 3 minutes over second placed Olivier Marceau (SUI). Allen appeared so quickly that it took the finish line by complete surprise.
“I’m stoked,” said Allen. “Conditions were beautiful this morning. I’m a strong swimmer and had a bit of a lead…so I rode hard. I lost some air pressure out on the bike and had to stop a couple of times. Oli caught me on the big descent, where I was riding a flat tire and nursed it all the way to transition.
Marceau finished second in 2:33:22. “Philippines and Saipan, will be better and better if I keep on training and get used to the heat and race pace,” said Marceau. “This is a beautiful race and beautiful organization and I had fun – and that’s what I’m looking for.”
In 3rd was Cedric Lassonde (FRA) – who had been lured to the Western Pacific with tales from fellow UK resident Sam Gardner, who won XTERRA Guam for the past three years. “My swim was probably one of the worst ever in any triathlon.
2012 XTERRA Guam Championship Pro Men Results
Pl Name Country Time
1 Ben Allen AUS 2:29:42
2 Olivier Marceau SUI 2:33:22
3 Cedric Lassonde GBR 2:34:08
4 Branden Rakita USA 2:38:35
5 Graham Wadsworth GBR 2:41:30
6 Takahiro Ogasawara JPN 2:46:11
7 Will Kelsay USA 2:48:02
8 Arland Macasieb PHI 3:23:50
Swiss Miss Renata Bucher blew the women’s field away, taking 1st place by 15 minutes in 2:46:11 over Austria’s Carina Wasle. Her win was good 7th place overall. It was also her 2nd win in Guam. She won the race in 2010 and finished 2nd in 2007 and 2009. “I definitely had a good race,” Bucher said. “I kept up in the swim and it is an advantage that I know the course. I’ve been training in Australia since the end of January, so I feel good.” Looking forward to the next few weeks, she is surely a favorite for multiple wins. “Philippines I know already and Saipan is my favorite race – I know it will be a really good time,” she said.
The diminutive Carina Wasle took second in 3:02:26. “It is a really challenging course,” she said. “I didn’t imagine that running through the river would be so hard. The bike course is incredible – going down you never see where you are going and there’s lots of bumps and holes – you have to be very careful. Everyone who finishes is a hero”.
2012 XTERRA Guam Championship Pro Women Results
Pl Name Country Time
1 Renata Bucher SUI 2:47:25
2 Carina Wasle AUT 3:02:26
3 Jacqui Slack GBR 3:07:10
4 Mieko Carey JPN 3:14:22