Cross Triathlon: Ever evolving MultiSport

Cross Triathlon: Ever evolving MultiSport

By Nicola Hargreaves on 18/05/12 at 11:35 am

The 2012 Shelby County ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships and XTERRA Southeast Championships goes ahead this weekend as the biggest event on the ITU Cross Triathlon calendar. Now in its second year the race also marks a landmark partnership with XTERRA.

As a multidiscipline sport, triathlon has evolved to encompass a number of different forms, each playing an important development role over the course of the sports short history.  Cross triathlon first emerged in 1996 on the island of Maui, when mountain biking and triathlon met in a bold new racing format that consisted of an open-ocean swim, a mountain bike race and a trail run.

This fresh take attracted outdoor enthusiasts, adventure seekers, mountain bikers and triathletes. The mountain bikers brought their laid back style and bold self assurance, while the triathletes brought their intense training and avid dedication. ITU acknowledges the key role that XTERRA played in establishing this vibrant and dynamic format and XTERRA’s subsequent growth into the internationally recognised off-road triathlon brand it has become.

Today, a typical cross triathlon comprises of 1.5km swim in an ocean, lake or river, 30km mountain bike on off-road trails and a 10km trail run on a variety of surfaces. ITU’s first cross triathlon was the 2007 Panama PATCO Cross Triathlon Pan American Championships beginning a series of annual continental championships.

The inaugural ITU Cross Tri World Championships were held in 2011 in Extremadura, Spain with South Africa’s Conrad Stolz and Melanie McQuaid from Canada crowned the very first ITU Cross Triathlon World Champions. Extremadura was deemed a huge success with over 400 athletes competing across the elite, junior, age-group and paratriathlon categories in the swim, mountain bike and cross-country run discipline.

This year ITU has partnered with XTERRA to further raise the profile of cross triathlon to host the 2012 Shelby County ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships and XTERRA Southeast Championships. The course in Alabama’s largest park, Oak Mountain provides trails that lead through the almost 10,000 acres of pine-studded ridges and lush green hardwood bottoms and is widely praised by competitors.

The ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships are now an established annual event with Den Haag (The Hague), Netherlands already set to host 2013, as ITU continues to work hard in seeking new ways to strengthen cross triathlon as a proud commitment to the each and every sport under the ITU multisport umbrella.

With files from Team Unlimited/XTERRA

Find more details about this event - 2012 Shelby County ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships and XTERRA Southeast Championship