XTERRA Wellington Festival Preview: Launching the 2024 APAC Tour

The 2024 XTERRA Wellington Festival promises a blend of challenge and vibrant atmosphere in New Zealand’s capital on February 24 with the first stop on the XTERRA APAC Tour.

At the heart of the XTERRA Wellington Festival is the Full Distance Triathlon, standing tall as the marquee event. Renowned for featuring “the best downhill of any XTERRA on the planet,” the festival sets the stage for a day filled with intense competition and majestic scenery.

Wellington’s iconic hills, rugged coastlines, and panoramic views provide the backdrop for competitive off-road triathlon, duathlon, MTB racing and trail running experiences. With a total of 7 races on the schedule, including the flagship Full Distance Triathlon, competitors and their supporters can expect a day filled with action, from adrenaline-pumping races to the warm, welcoming embrace of true Kiwi hospitality.

Course Description:

The Full Distance Race kicks-off with a challenging 1,000m swim in the Tasman Sea, spanning two laps. While the sea is generally calm, conditions can vary, introducing choppy waters that add an element of unpredictability.

Transitioning onto land, the 31K bike course is a quick start that allows athletes to jockey for position. The route then narrows into technical singletrack, where strategy and skill come into play. A segment of 4WD track presents opportunities for aggressive riding, especially on the circuit’s standout downhill section. With an elevation gain of 690 meters, the bike course is both a physical and tactical battleground.

The race concludes with a 10K run characterized by its flat and fast terrain, inviting athletes to push their limits. Despite its straightforward appearance, the course’s slight undulations challenge participants to maintain a consistent pace. With a modest elevation gain of 93 meters, this final leg encourages competitors to give their all, setting the stage for a thrilling finish.

Elite Focus: The Reigning Champ – Maeve Kennedy’s Quest for a 3rd Title

A Balancing Act

Maeve Kennedy from Australia, the current APAC Champion and 13th best ranked XTERRA triathlete in the female division, articulates the complexity of the working athlete, “I don’t live the standard elite athlete life. I work full time and train around that. It’s always a challenge to find the right balance, life is very busy! I’m really lucky I have such a supportive partner to help me get it all done.”

As she gears up for the XTERRA Wellington Festival, Kennedy eyes her third title, having triumphed in the previous years of 2023 and 2021. Her notable 2023 finishes include 8th at the XTERRA World Championship and 5th overall at the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship.

Special Connections

Reflecting on her profound connection to the place and event, Kennedy shares, “Wellington XTERRA has a very special place in my heart. I met my soon to be husband there in 2020. Mark has been by my side supporting me at every race since.” She recalls her professional debut, “Wellington XTERRA 2020 was my first pro race. I didn’t come from a triathlon background, I grew up surfing the south coast of Australia and fell in love with the sport in 2018.”

Race Insights and Strategy

Kennedy’s strategic approach starts with her affinity for the swim, “It’s one of my favorite races! I love the swim, the more swell the better.” She continues with her race-day mentality, “I’ll be taking the race one discipline at a time. During the swim I focus on my breathing, I visualize transition, and the process of getting through quickly. On the bike, it always takes a little bit to find my rhythm, smooth is fast.”

She acknowledges the technical demands by explaining, “The downhills are more technical than they look, they are loose and at speed it’s hard to hold a line.” Yet, it’s the run where her strategy and endurance will propel her to the finish line, “I’m relieved when I get off the bike in one piece. I usually really enjoy the run, but it’s impossible to set a pace on that terrain. Just go hard and don’t look back.”

XTERRA Wellington Festival consists of 7 races including the Sprint Triathlon, Duathlon, MTB Race, and 21K, 14K, and 6K Trail Runs contributing to off-road racing action throughout the day with good food, cold drinks and great music closing out the show.


XTERRA is a global lifestyle brand that champions the outdoor enthusiast in their pursuit of relentless adventure. From pioneering the sport of cross-triathlon in 1996, XTERRA has grown to become a leading brand in off-road adventure through the XTERRA World Tour, XTERRA Trail Run World Series and the XTERRA World Cup, connecting an eco-aware community of worldwide explorers that seek to protect the places where they play. For more information, visit xterraplanet.com.

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