CARRABASSETT VALLEY – As the pinnacle event in the XTERRA Trail Run World Series that features 30 qualifying races across 20 countries, more than 1,000 professional & amateur athletes and spectators are anticipated to attend the weekend running festival which will award $10,000 in prize money to top performers and world titles to age group division winners and teams in both the half-and-full marathon distance races.
“After an extensive global search to discover the perfect destination to host our Trail Run World Championship, we found all the right ingredients in Maine,” explained Steve Andrus, XTERRA Americas Tour Manager. “The trails are epic, the challenge is worthy of a world championship, our partners at the Maine Sports Commission and Sugarloaf are going all-in to provide a first-class experience for runners from across the globe, and the location is amazing in the Fall with perfect weather and a landscape that will be bursting into a kaleidoscope of colors.”
Set against the spectacular backdrop of Sugarloaf Mountain, home to such prestigious events as the Enduro World Series of mountain biking and the U.S. Alpine Ski Championships, the XTERRA Trail Run World Champs will immerse participants in a festival atmosphere with live music, great food, family entertainment, a vendor village, shorter distance 5km and 10km trail runs, and races for kids.
“The Maine Sports Commission is thrilled XTERRA has chosen Maine for this high-level competition. We’re so excited to welcome the XTERRA Trail Run World Championships to Sugarloaf, to help grow this global sport, and showcase Maine’s epic mountain trail community,” exclaimed Sheila Brennan Nee, Strategic Director, Maine Sports Commission.
The topography at Sugarloaf boasts more than 60 miles of twisting tree-lined trails from its base elevation at 1,417 feet to its mountain peak at 4,237 feet, offering a breathtaking natural environment filled with roots and rocks, stream crossings, and unexpected vistas for runners to enjoy.
“We are truly excited to host the global XTERRA community here at Sugarloaf in 2023,” said Sugarloaf General Manager, Karl Strand. “Carrabassett Valley’s natural landscape and challenging terrain make it ideally suited to host this event, and we can’t wait to watch the world’s best trail runners take on the challenge this summer.”
The move to Maine, which becomes just the third destination to host Trail Run Worlds, is part of XTERRA’s global initiative to regularly rotate its championship venues in order to expose athletes and their families to new destinations and cultural experiences.
“Maine’s mountain resorts offer exciting outdoor adventure opportunities to visitors year-round. The setting and infrastructure that make Sugarloaf such a popular ski resort also support warmer weather activities like mountain biking and trail running in a beautiful setting overlooking Carrabassett Valley in the Maine Lakes and Mountains region,” said Steve Lyons, Director, Maine Office of Tourism.
While all four race distances – 5K, 10K, 21K, 42K – are open to athletes of all ages* and skill levels, only individual runners and racing duos who earned a qualifying slot** through the XTERRA Trail Run World Series are eligible to compete for World Titles, prize money, and segment challenge awards.
The team competition, dubbed the “Racing Duo” category, is for teams of two people who run (and finish) together, while the segment challenges honor both individuals and duos who set the fastest times for best climb, fastest downhill, and quickest sprint.
During the course of the XTERRA Trail Run World Series season, events are scored and put into a custom-built global ranking system. Individual and racing duos can view their ranking regionally and worldwide, and sort the standings by rank, age, and gender to compare themselves to other XTERRA runners across the globe.
Find full details on the Series and view complete World Championship qualification rules at: www.xterraplanet.com/trail-run-world-series.
The XTERRA Trail Run World Championship was first held in 2008 at Kualoa Ranch on the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, where it remained until 2019. The event rotated to Maui in 2021, where Joseph Gray won his record-breaking fifth world title and Grayson Murphy won her second straight.
* Minimum age requirements: 15-years-old for Marathon, 9-years-old for Half, 6yo for 5k/10k.
** There are at least two qualifying spots, and as many as six, in each age group division at XTERRA Trail Run World Series races around the world. Find details here.