2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship: Triathletes & Trailblazers Ready for Battle

March 19, 2024

Key Points:

  • XTERRA Taiwan to determine Asia-Pacific triathlon and trail running titles with limited slots for global championships in Trentino, Italy and Maine, USA.
  • Sustainable trophies and medals from local wood sculptor emphasize XTERRA’s eco-focus.
  • Live commentary by XTERRA legends to offer in-depth analysis and historical insights for fans and athletes across the globe.

KENTING, TAIWAN /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – Set against the backdrop of lush tropical landscapes, rugged hills, and inviting ocean waters, XTERRA Taiwan plays host to the 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship on Saturday, March 23, 2024. This marks the second stop on the XTERRA APAC Tour, a series of six races across five countries. With a total elite prize purse of US$25,000, the Full Distance Race promises not only intense rivalry but also the crowning of the 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champion.

The excitement continues with the second annual Asia-Pacific Trail Run Championship on March 24, 2024, further amplifying the weekend with a 36K Trail Marathon and 21K Trail Half Marathon that adds extra heat and hardware to the competition. Offering a $5,200 prize purse, this dual event on Sunday brings together the region’s top trail runners for a showcase of endurance and speed.

Coinciding with the first stop of the 2024 XTERRA World Cup, the championship weekend is a magnet for elite athletes from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, converging for a spectacular display of off-road racing talent. Additionally, the Full Distance race on March 23 offers 58 slots for the 2024 XTERRA World Championship in Trentino, Italy while Sunday’s Trail Run Marathon and Half Marathon races serve as major qualifiers for the 2024 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Sugarloaf, Maine.

Reflecting on the previous year, Kieren McPherson of New Zealand and Maeve Kennedy of Australia emerged as the 2023 Asia-Pacific Champions, setting a high standard for this year’s competitors. Alongside the 36K Trail Marathon champions Maxim Chané (FRA) and Hậu Hà Thị (VIE), as well as Sebastien Carabin (BEL) and Tung Meng Yun (TPE) in the 21K Trail Half Marathon, these athletes now vacate the title of reigning champions amidst a field brimming with ambitious challengers.

Asia-Pacific Championship ‍Course Description

Prepare for the highlight of the weekend, a challenging race designed to push athletes to their limits. The competition begins with a swim in the Pacific Ocean’s welcoming waters, leading into a demanding mountain bike course across Kenting National Park. The final leg is a rapid run through lush tropical forests, allowing competitors to experience some of Taiwan’s most stunning landscapes.

Swim: 1.5km split into two 750m laps at Little Bay Beach, with a brief beach run between laps.

Bike: A rigorous 29K mountain bike course featuring climbs, descents, and single-track trails.

Run: A 12K technical trail run through varied terrain, including grassy patches and loose rocks redesigned to include two loops that reduce the total elevation gain while preserving the technical difficulty.

This course demands excellence in all three disciplines, earning the title of 2024 Asia-Pacific Champion for each age division.

Elite Focus: Asia-Pacific’s Finest‍

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship features an elite roster of athletes from this region ready to showcase their skills alongside the world’s best elites competing against them on the demanding course.

Here are a few top competitors from the Asia-Pacific region to look out for:


World Ranking – Name, NAT

12 – Kieran Mcpherson, NZL:

Kieran McPherson from New Zealand, the 2023 Asia-Pacific Champion, returns to Taiwan with a focus on consistency and strategic planning. After securing 2nd place at XTERRA Wellington to start the year, McPherson aims for a strong performance. “First races of the season are always challenging. This year is a very long season so it’ll be vital to not peak too soon.”

His strategy focuses on leveraging his strengths in the latter stages of the race while maintaining a broader focus on his own performance rather than the competition, “To not focus on who is on the start list, but more so on controlling my controllables.”

Eric Lagerstrom (USA) regards McPherson as a formidable competitor, sharing, “He’s always a podium threat on a good day.”

154 – Ben Allen, AUS:

Australian athlete Ben Allen, who secured 2nd at XTERRA Australia in 2023 and placed 4th at the Asia-Pacific Championships in 2018 and 2019, draws inspiration from his close support network and those striving for excellence. He emphasizes, “Family, loved ones, who help me through the ups and downs & anyone inspiring to be the best!” highlighting the pivotal role of support and ambition in his pursuit of success in the XTERRA APAC Tour this season.

410 – Yen Ching Chiang, TPE:

Yen Ching Chiang from Taiwan, who placed 14th at last year’s Asia-Pacific Championship and won XTERRA Taiwan in 2022, is recognized as one of the local leading talents and a celebrated hero. Also known by his English name Cliff, his journey within the XTERRA community is backed by significant local support, highlighting his growing prominence and the enthusiastic fan base he has attracted.

NR – Takehiro Irokawa, JPN:

Takehiro Irokawa, the 20-24 age group champion at XTERRA Japan 2023, embarks on his first year as an XTERRA Elite with a strategic approach. “I’ve been working from the bottom up in all three events,” he explains, aiming for a well-rounded performance. On tackling the 30K bike segment, he intends “to ride carefully for punctures and mistakes.”

To combat Taiwan’s heat and humidity, Irokawa prepared in a unique way: “Japan is hot in summer, but it is winter now, so I use the sauna to get used to the heat.” He intends to focus on his strengths and not let his nerves get the best of him: “I’m good at the swim and bike parts, so hopefully I can get ahead in the first half.”


World Ranking – Name, NAT

NR – Hannah Lee Young, AUS:

Hannah Lee Young from Australia, following her 8th place finish at XTERRA Portugal last season and a victory at the 2023 World Triathlon Cross Championships in Ibiza, is eyeing the 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific title. Her approach to preparation is unique, “I did sit down and watch last year’s race on Youtube,” highlighting the importance of visualization and mental readiness.

“I love XTERRA, it takes you to some incredible places & you travel with a purpose. My strategy is to stay in control of my effort. Fun is fast!” With training in Queensland’s hot, humid summer, she’s acclimated to Taiwan’s climate, planning to treat race conditions as “one of those hot training days.”

NR – Cheri Cho, HKG:

Cheri Cho from Hong Kong, after finishing 10th at the Americas Triathlon Cup Manta and 9th at the Asia Triathlon Cup Kota Kinabalu in 2023, steps into the 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship as a strong contender. Embarking on her first XTERRA competition, Cho is aware of the increased challenge, “This is my first time joining XTERRA competitions, my strategy is to go at my own pace and not get too excited at the start.”

With a background in swimming, she aims to leverage this strength by conserving energy for later stages, “Swimming has always been my strength. I will complete the swim with the least effort possible.” Cho also looks forward to a new opportunity, “I am most excited about meeting experienced athletes and making new connections.”

2024 Asia-Pacific Trail Run Championship: A Technical Test of Endurance

The 2024 Asia-Pacific Trail Run Championship in Kenting, Taiwan, enters its second year, presenting a course renowned for its technical challenges, dynamic terrain, and breathtaking panoramas. Featuring rapid sections and demanding ascents, the course culminates in a climb up the storied Menmaluo Mountain, offering athletes a 360-degree ocean view.

Scheduled for Sunday, the Trail Run Championship introduces the 36K Trail Marathon, beginning before sunrise to avoid the heat, followed by the 21K Trail Half Marathon. Both races provide an opportunity for 116 top age-group finishers in each distance to qualify for the 2024 XTERRA Trail Run World Championship in Sugarloaf, Maine, USA, highlighting the event’s significance as a gateway to global competition as a major part of the larger XTERRA Trail Run World Series.

Landry Benoit, XTERRA’s Asia-Pacific Technical Director, shares insights on the 36K and 21K trail runs: “It’s a fast course with some climbs, but the main challenge could be the temperature, which can vary. Runners might start with cool, windy weather, but as soon as they hit the river bed, the heat can strike hard.”

Benoit explains, “For the 36K Trail Marathon, we’ve added an extra 2K section, increasing the elevation. The course diverges at the famous Mt. Menmaluo where the 21K Trail Half Marathon runners start their way back, while the 36K Trail Marathon participants descend the other side of the hill to cover the extra distance ahead.”

He highlights the diverse terrain, “Runners will experience hills, forests, riverbeds, and technical sections with rope assistance. We’ve also navigated around an erosion-destroyed road, adding to the course’s intrigue.” Benoit adds, “These trails are among Taiwan’s best, offering just enough technicality for an enjoyable race.”

Key Favorites In the Men’s and Women’s Trail Marathon

Sandi Menchi Abahan, PHI:

Sandi Menchi Abahan, the Asia-Pacific frontrunner to possibly lead the pack in the 36K trail marathon, is on a path to represent the Philippines in the 2028 Olympics’ Modern Pentathlon, having also made history as the first Asian medalist at the Spartan World Championship. Reflecting on her international race experiences, she says, “Participating in very competitive international races always feels like going to war. Standing on the podium was very surreal.”

Raised in Baguio City, Philippines, her mountainous upbringing has shaped her trail running skills, “Growing up in a mountain town helped me master how to run the trails. It always feels like home to me.” She emphasizes the mental strategy in endurance sports, “I can talk with my brain. I’ve slowly learned how to manipulate my mind,” For Sandi, the trails are a source of clarity and grounding, giving her the slight edge against her counterparts from the Asia-Pacific region.

Lo Lok Yin (Rex Lo), HKG:

Lo Lok Yin (Rex Lo), fresh off a 25K victory two weeks ago at Victoria 162 in Hong Kong, is regarded as one of Asia-Pacific’s promising young trail runners. Discussing his approach, he says, “I study the race course map, elevation profile and any available information about the terrain. I focus on maintaining a steady pace throughout the entire distance. If I feel great in the race, I try to speed up in the last part of the race.”

Identifying climbing as his forte, Lo intends to “speed up in the climbing section and get more time to recover in the downhill.” Lo is also drawn to the event’s location, stating, “I think the natural beauty of XTERRA Taiwan [is] a captivating aspect of the event, because the scenery in Kenting is beautiful and I am looking forward to it.”

Awards & Sustainable Innovation

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship intertwines athletic achievement with environmental sustainability. Age Group Awards recognize top athletes across various age categories, while special Trail Run Championship awards highlight the Best Climber, Downhiller, and Sprinter.

This 2-day event also showcases a commitment to sustainability through unique prizes created by Tsung-Hsun Yang (Tim), a local wood sculptor and advocate for sustainable practices. Using a novel method, Tim and the Dehe Community have transformed “White Popinac” bark into distinctive trophies and finisher medals for the championship. This meticulous process, taking three days per medal, celebrates the XTERRA community’s achievements in harmony with the local environment.

Live Commentary With XTERRA Legends

The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship will be brought to life with live commentary from two renowned figures in the off-road triathlon world. Doug Hall, a veteran elite triathlete from Great Britain and the current XTERRA EMEA General Manager, will join forces with the iconic voice of Whit Raymond.

Known for his dynamic analysis and vivid descriptions of live action, Raymond has been a pivotal figure in XTERRA’s history, serving as the master of ceremonies at the very first XTERRA event in 1996 on Maui. His voice became synonymous with XTERRA, guiding audiences through the Maui World Championships from 1996 to 1999, and then from 2005 to 2021, in addition to numerous other XTERRA events in the US and Saipan. Together, Hall and Raymond promise to deliver insightful and engaging coverage of the championship, enriching the experience for fans and athletes alike.

The Asia-Pacific Championship Full Distance Race will be broadcasted live and free of charge, exclusively on xterraplanet.com via the XTERRA Live page. Set your reminders on Saturday, March 23rd for 5:50 am local time (GMT +8, Paris:10:50pm, New York: 5:50pm).


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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