In most major triathlon series, competitors dismissing competitive drive and opting to cross the finish line together in solidarity is frowned upon. In cases where the finishers are out of the money, race directors simply choose one man or woman over the other. In cases where the win or money is involved, the race directors have the option of disqualification.
The XTERRA Asia Pacific Championship in Langkawi, Malaysia was an exception – and it is not clear what rule it proved.
At the finish of the men’s race at Langkawi, Sam Osborne, Kieran McPherson, Ben Allen and Bradley Weiss crossed the finish line together and were declared official co-champions.
The day started with Allen and Osborne emerging from the water together with Weiss and McPherson one minute arrears. By the 20 kilometer mark of the 29km mountain bike section, Weiss led the way as four men rode close together, single file. The rivals were anticipating a duel to the end, but, as Ben Allen recalled, “the last 5km of the bike we couldn’t find the signage on the course and we all went the wrong way.”
“There were markers out there but they were everywhere” McPherson told XTERRA media. “We'd get down a path and realize it went nowhere and have to turn around.”
“It was un-raceable at that point,” said Weiss.
The four who had lost their way managed to find their way back to T2. But with the will to compete gone, they decided to neutralize the event and run together as a group to the finish. The race committee then decided to uphold the decision.
The tied-for-1st place men were all credited with a total race time of 2:51:27. The next man to finish, David Escobar of Spain, was listed with a 2:58:39 finish time.
“We tried to pre-empt this from happening,” said Weiss. “We had been here from earlier in the week and were unclear where the course went. We had meetings to address our concerns but it didn’t get marked in time to pre-ride, so on race day we were still not sure where it went.”
After this race, the top four men in the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour remained in place with Osborne at 327 points, McPherson at 300, Allen at 290 and Weiss at 254.
Carina Wasle of Austria won her third XTERRA race in 13 days after wins at XTERRA Reunion Island and XTERRA Danao in the Philippines.
Jacqui Allen had the fastest swim by 1 minute and the fastest bike by nearly 4 minutes. After being passed by Wasle on the run, Allen went off course and Myriam Guillot-Boisset of France moved into second.
With the win, Wasle remains atop the women’s XTERRA Asia-Pacific Tour standings with 275 points to Allen’s 157, Penny Slater at 141 and Renata Bucher fourth with 131. Two races remain in the series.
XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship
April 29, 2017
S 1.5k / MTB 29k / TR 10.5k
T1 Bradley Weiss (RSA) 2:51:27
T1 Sam Osborne (NZL) 2:51:27
T1 Kieran McPherson (NZL) 2:51:27
T1 Ben Allen (AUS) 2:51:27
5. David Escobar (ESP) 2:58:39
8. Will Kelsay (USA) 3:12:59
1. Carina Wasle (AUT) 3:20:26
2. Myriam Guillot-Boisset (FRA) 3:32:53
3. Jacqui Allen (GBR) 3:44:00
4. Leela Hancox (AUS) 3:54:06