It may have been a banner weekend for Bradley Weiss (RSA) and Flora Duffy (BER), who captured the 24th Xterra World Championship off-road triathlon elite titles on a beautiful day at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua on Maui’s northwest coast on Sunday morning.
But not so much for New South Wales off-road power couple Ben Allen and Jacqui Allen (née Slack). While 2017 men’s winner Weiss was enjoying his second Xterra Worlds title and Duffy a record fifth, the Hills Tri Club pros were literally besides themselves sick.
Just days after Jacqui was forced to withdraw due to an untimely viral bug, husband Ben also fell ill but bravely toed the start and limped in 24th in the men’s pro field in a time of 2 hours 53 minutes 34 seconds over the 1.5-kilometre (1-mile) swim, 31-kilometre (19.2-miles) mountain bike and 10.5-kilometre (6.5-miles) trail run.
“The 2019 Xterra World Championships was bittersweet, for me,” posted Ben Allen on social media following the race. Jacqui withdrew due to a viral infection picked up two weeks ago and of course I got it days before the start.
“I gave it my all with what I had on the day, I walk away with my head held high. I know I have what it takes, but it’s not today! I wouldn’t have made the start line at all if it wasn’t for my amazing family, supporters, sponsors and friends ...THANK YOU!”
Like Ben, Jacqui also took to social media to announce her disappointment in not racing.
“I have clung to hope, of racing at the 2019 Xterra World Championships, but it breaks my heart to say I will not be racing,” posted Jacqui Allen, herself a 14-time Xterra race winner who finished second at the Elite World Cross Triathlon Championships in 2017. “I was hit by a virus three weeks ago and despite all my best efforts to get healthy I have been unable to shake it off.
Thank you so much to everyone for the well wishes and to our sponsors who have supported me to get here,” she continued. “I feel very blessed to be here in Maui and not being able to race this year only fuels the fire to come back stronger next year.”
Like Jacqui, 34-year-old Ben Allen, an 18-time Xterra race winner who finished third on the Xterra Asia-Pac calendar, also emphatically expressed a sincere desire to return.
“No words needed,” he captioned a post-race image posted on his official Facebook page. “My face speaks for #teamallen The downside to being an elite athlete! It ain’t pretty, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything! Being sick sucks, especially at the World Champs.
“All I know is this has truely hit deep for both Jacqui and I and the hurt is REAL. See you next year motherf***er!”
Now Ben and Jacqui will set their sights once again on the Tre-X Cross Triathlon Series hosted by In2Adventure, starting with the Victorian State Champs (Trex Goldfields), which also serves as a 2020 Age-Group ITU World Championships qualifying race — on November 23.
REMINDER: Only two months to go to the Goldfields MultiSport Festival, which features a half-marathon, 11k- and 5k running events, plus triathlon and kids races. Get In 2 it here: http://ow.ly/q99d50wwdHc
For more information on joining, or renewing, Triathlon Australia, click here: https://bit.ly/2Inlbbp