XTERRA Monthly Preview: May Gears Up as 2022 Season Gathers Speed

by XTERRA on 05/05/2022

This month XTERRA touches down in Brazil and Portugal for an all-out feast of culture, cuisine, and off-road racing, while the trail runners head to Malta, New Zealand, New Caledonia, and back to Brazil to battle it out as the 2022 season gets into full swing.

Brazilians know how to party, they rule Carnaval after all, and it should come as no surprise that they host one of the largest festival gatherings on the XTERRA Planet too.

Roughly 200km off the Sao Paulo coastline, the tropical island of Ilhabela can only be accessed by ferry. It was colonized hundreds of years ago by indigenous Brazilians, and is a popular tourist destination for locals and international travelers because of its regattas, beautiful beaches, and excellent restaurants.
“Ilhabela literally means ‘beautiful island,’” said long-time XTERRA Brazil organizer, Bernardo Fonseca. “And yes, the island is beautiful, and the people are too. This is a wonderful event for families, and every year more than 3,000 people come to celebrate life and enjoy nature here together.”

In addition to the signature off-road triathlon which has been held since 2005, the XTERRA Brazil weekend includes 1.5km and 3km swim challenges, an XTERRA kids race, 5/10/21km trail runs, and even a festive 5K night run.
"The energy here is so great, I've never been to another country that has such a festive atmosphere," said former XTERRA World Champion, Shonny Vanlandingham.

The challenge is great as well, and widely regarded as one of the toughest on the XTERRA circuit.  Hall of Famer Conrad Stoltz described it as "more of an adventure than a race."
And it’s home to the spectacular  pier-jump, a one-of-a-kind swim course feature found only in Brazil.

“The pier is lined three-deep for a raucous mid-swim moment of happiness before you have to launch yourself like a doomed sailor off the plank,” is how Dan Hugo once described the mid-swim run and jump off a 10-foot pier edge. 

After his visit in 2018, Kieran McPherson said “The course, the atmosphere, and the organization make this one of the pinnacle XTERRA events in the world.”


Since 2014, the gorgeous village of Golega has treated XTERRA racers and their families from around the world to a truly authentic cultural experience.

Whitewashed homes with red tile roofs sit in thousands of acres of farmland where roaming herds of sheep are tended to by shepherds and their dogs.
Just over an hour from Lisbon, Golega is one of the XTERRA World Tour’s  friendliest, easiest, and safest countries to visit. The organizers will even arrange a ride for you from the nearest train station at Entroncamento into town for free.

The town itself is famous for being the Capital of Horses in Portugal and each November since the 18th century has hosted a 10-day National Horse Festival that brings hundreds of thousands of visitors to watch the show and compete.
“When visiting Golega, be sure to take a walk through the romantic garden around the former studio of Carlos Relvas, a famous 19th-century photographer, and visit the Martins Correia Museum, devoted to the work of a contemporary sculptor. These two men were both born in Golega,” shared XTERRA Portugal organizer, Jaime Rosa.

It goes without saying that the famous Portuguese cuisine and wine of the region are equally important to experience, most particularly the locally grown produce - from the corn to the wheat, potatoes and tomatoes.
The course is unique as well, mixing a warm-water 1.5km swim with a 35km mountain bike that ventures from the village to the cork forests, and a 10km run that doubles as a tour of the area’s vineyards.
n Golega, athletes are forewarned to save some energy for the pasta party awards celebration, which has become known to carry-on long into the evening.


Malta, New Zealand, New Caledonia, and Brazil all are treating trail runners to exotic XTERRA challenges in the month of May.

On May 7, the second stop on the 2022 XTERRA Trail Marathon Series unfolds on the island of Gozo with coast-hugging 50km/21km/11km options. The 50km race is recognized for 2 ITRA points and is also a qualifier for the UTMB World Series.

On the same day, but halfway around the world, the XTERRA Wellington, New Zealand series is back in action with the Starlight Makara Peak Night Runs. There are 6km and 11km options, and the trails are so good it’s perfect for running under the stars (and organizers illuminate the tricky bits of the trail).  Later in the month (May 22) the Kiwi crew head to Red Rocks with a variety of options to explore the Cook Straights coastal tracks around the South Coast.
Not too far away, another amazing tropical island paradise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, New Caledonia, will host a challenging 22K mountain scramble on May 21 through technical terrain that takes runners to the top of several peaks for a splendid view of the plains and turquoise blue sea below.  There are 5K and 10K options as well, and even a “kids K” race around Rivland Paita Resort.

The chances to run away in May continue at the first of six races in the XTERRA Auckland Series. The  Waitawa Trail Race options range from short (5km) to “super long”  (20km+).
The month comes full circle on May 29 with another adventure in Brazil, this time at the XTERRA Ilha Grande Trail Run in the state of Rio de Janeiro.  

Explore the world with XTERRA, there’s an adventure out there just for you!