IRONMAN VR Team Challenge Enters the Final Week of Showcasing the Asia Pacific Region on Facebook Watch Via the IRONMAN Now Page with Teams Taking on The Half-Distance Distance Duathlon Simulation

May 19, 2021

- Team Sam Sakai clinches the second week of competition in the Asia Pacific portion of the IRONMAN VR Team Challenge; Team Ines Santiago in second and Team Melissa Urie in third place - Tim Reed to join in the competition offering teams opportunity to bolster their bike scoring with Pro Wild Card Lifeline - Asia Pacific final week challenge will be taking place on Friday, 21 May at 7:00 a.m. GMT+8 / 9:00 a.m. AEST (Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET)

IRONMAN VR Team Challenge

  • Asia Pacific IRONMAN VR Team Challenge Week 3 taking place on Friday 21 May at 7:00 a.m. GMT+8 / 9:00 a.m. AEST (Thursdays at 7:00 p.m. ET) with three teams facing-off in a Half-Distance virtual duathlon.
  • Professional triathlete Tim Reed will join this week’s competition providing the teams an opportunity to bolster their bike scoring with Pro Wild Card Lifelines.
  • IRONMAN VR Team Challenge can be viewed on Facebook Watch via the IRONMAN Now page by visiting www.facebook.com/IRONMANnow.
  • Three regional team captains and their respective age-group teammates will compete for the final time in their own three-week-long competition cycles covering Sprint, Olympic and Half-Distance virtual duathlons. After Week 2 of the Asia Pacific region IRONMAN VR Team Challenge, we now head into the final Week 3 with a Half-Distance duathlon.
  • Each teammate is tasked with competing in either the bike or run segments to help build a total score for the team captains.
  • The region’s team captain with the most cumulative points at the end of the three-week-long competition will receive a $5,000 donation to the charity of their choice from the IRONMAN Foundation Your Journey, Your Cause fundraising campaign.

Team Asia-Pacific Team Captains

Asia Team Captains include Sam Sakai, an IRONMAN U Coach and Japan Community Manager of IRONMAN Asia. Sam is a strong advocate for endurance triathlon in Japan and finisher of multiple races across Asia, including the IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship. Ines Santiago from the Philippines is a mother of 2 and owns a garment manufacturing and retail company that specializes in hand-smocking and hand embroidery. She is a multiple podium finisher at IRONMAN 70.3 races in Asia. Representing Australia, Melissa Urie, a mental health nurse from Melbourne, Australia, who is an accomplished competitor in Ultra Triathlon, IRONMAN and IRONMAN 70.3 events. She is also a mental health nurse and is an avid triathlete who has competed in several multisport events in Australia. These captains are tasked with forming a duo or trio of athletes to join them each week for the competition scoring. This week’s athletes include:

Team Sam Sakai –

  • Genjiro-Gen Wakayama is a 4-time IRONMAN World Championship finisher and a 2-time IRONMAN 70.3 Japan podium finisher.
  • Kazuki-Kazu Kubono the fastest Japanese athlete in the 2019 IRONMAN World Championship.
  • Emi Sakai, Sam’s wife, is a 7-time finisher at IRONMAN World Championship as a professional triathlete. She is now retired and continues to train together with Sam.

Team Ines Santiago –

  • Ani De Leon Brown, also known as Coach Ani amongst the triathletes in the Philippines is a 46-year-old mother of two and is the coach of the National Triathlon Team and the Race Director of IRONKIDS Philippines. Not only is she a multiple-time of IRONMAN finisher across the Asia Pacific region, but Ani is the first-ever Filipina to have qualified for the IRONMAN World Championship in 2008 and has also led the biggest female represented contingent as well.
  • Jael Wenceslao is an avid runner and has multiple Abbott World Marathon Major races across his portfolio of achievements. The 40-year-old is also an accomplished ultramarathoner who holds a personal best of completing a marathon in 3:01 hours.

Team Melissa Urie –

  • Ruth Bloom, a multi-time IRONMAN finisher and an ambassador athlete for IRONMUMs, a community supporting mothers who participate in IRONMAN events, will take on both the run and bike this week.

Weekly Schedule

Friday, May 21

  • 7:00 a.m. GMT+8 / 9:00 a.m. AEST (7:00 p.m. ET) – Asia Pacific Week 3: Half distance duathlon

Asia Pacific Week 2 Recap:

Athlete Performance:

  • Combined Bike Times:
    • Team Santiago: 1:12:37
    • Team Sakai: 1:09:44
    • Team Urie: 1:14:17
  • Combined Run Times:
    • Team Santiago: 0:41:26
    • Team Sakai: 0:38:40
    • Team Urie: 1:00:14
  • Athletic Total:
    • Team Santiago: 1:54:03 (40 points)
    • Team Sakai: 1:48:24 (50 points)
    • Team Urie: 2:14:31 (25 points)

Social Media and Engagement:

  • Team Santiago: 25 points
  • Team Sakai: 20 points
  • Team Urie: 15 points

In-Broadcast Challenges:

  • Team Santiago: 20 points
  • Team Sakai: 20 points
  • Team Urie: 25 points

Overall Standings After Week 2:

  • Team Santiago: 175 points
  • Team Sakai: 175 points
  • Team Urie: 130 points

Rules and Processes

  • Each region competes in its own three-week-long competition and consists of a Sprint, Olympic and Half-Distance virtual triathlon simulation. The teams from North America competed during round one in a triathlon format on March 18; EMEA participated in round two with a duathlon format, while Asia Pacific started their portion of the competition on May 7
  • Three team captains and their chosen team members will compete simultaneously against each other in their respective run and bike segments.
  • Scoring is not only based on athletic performance; however, with the live audiences’ help, points will also be awarded for social media engagement and In-Broadcast Challenges.

Scoring Categories:  

  • Athletic Performance: Each week, team captains and their team members will test their endurance by competing in each of the respective disciplines of the Sprint, Olympic, or Half-Distance virtual triathlons. The scores for their bike and run segments for each distance are cumulative and combined with their selected team members’ bike and run times.
  • Social Media and Engagement: During the three-week-long competition, team captains will be given social media challenges; following each engagement, viewers will get the opportunity to vote on their favorite post, awarding the winning team with more points.
  • In-Broadcast Challenges: Throughout each region’s three-week-long competition, In-Broadcast Challenges will require athletes to think on their feet to show off their triathlon knowledge, helping them to earn more points and move them up on the team leader board.

IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series – Urban Racing

Coinciding with the IRONMAN VR Team Challenge, the IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series consist of six months of training-length challenges and virtual races that will take athletes on a tour of the best IRONMAN locales. In May, the IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series is heading “downtown” for all things Urban. Urban Racing will place athletes smack-dab in the middle of the action in some of the world’s finest cities providing Urban inspired racing. IRONMAN VR20 is inspired by the longest IRONMAN event on the circuit, the Little Debbie IRONMAN Chattanooga presented by McKee a Family Bakery. With a 2.4-miles downriver swim, a 116-mile bike across miles of backcountry roads of Northern Georgia, and a breathtaking run through vibrant downtown streets of Chattanooga, this race offers the perfect Urban racing experience for athletes who truly like to challenge themselves.

Each month will focus on a different terrain – expect to virtually visit race destinations in different regions within each terrain. Offering three weekday workouts plus one weekend VR race, the IRONMAN VR All-Terrain Series will also consist of multiple month-long challenges. These month-long challenges allow athletes to chase a certain number of kilometers for the month in whatever sport they like and on their own time. For more information of this month’s challenges visit here.

IRONMAN Foundation

Team captains will set up IRONMAN Foundation Your Journey, Your Cause fundraising campaigns where they will be able to collect donations for a charity and cause that is important to them. The winning team from each regional showcase will receive a $5,000 donation from the IRONMAN Foundation to further grow their Your Journey, Your Cause fundraising campaigns. To learn more about the IRONMAN Foundation and Your Journey, Your Cause visit here.

For additional details on the IRONMAN VC platform, visit www.ironmanvirtualclub.com/. Questions about the IRONMAN Virtual Racing Series can be directed to ironmanvr@ironman.com.

For more information on the IRONMAN brand and global event series, visit www.ironman.com. Media related inquiries may be directed to press@ironman.com.


About IRONMAN Virtual Club

The IRONMAN® Virtual Club™ (VC™) brings the global IRONMAN® community together virtually week-after-week. Launching in April of 2020, the platform gives athletes from around the world access to IRONMAN U Certified Coach curated workouts, training resources, and challenges that prepare athletes to compete in the IRONMAN Virtual Racing™ (VR™) Series. Athletes have the opportunity to train, compete, earn, and be rewarded as they set their goals towards a successful year of racing. In addition, through the Race Honorably campaign, IRONMAN’s goal is to provide an exceptional virtual racing experience with credible results that requires athletes to do their part by entering accurate data. Additional details about the IRONMAN VC platform can be found at www.ironmanvirtualclub.com/.

About the IRONMAN Foundation

The IRONMAN Foundation creates positive, tangible change in race communities by engaging athletes and volunteers to participate in programs that demonstrate service through sport and commitment to community. Since 2003, over $50,000,000 has been provided through giveback programs led by the IRONMAN Foundation to more than 9,500 local, regional, national and global nonprofit initiatives. Through these partnerships, IRONMAN and Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series participants are powerfully linked to the community and together help leave a positive legacy behind in race communities long after event day. For more information on IRONMAN Foundation programs, including TEAM IMF, Community Fund, Rock This Town®, Your Journey Your Cause, and Women For Tri, visit www.ironmanfoundation.org.

About The IRONMAN Group

The IRONMAN Group operates a global portfolio of events that includes the IRONMAN® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® 70.3® Triathlon Series, the IRONMAN® Virtual Racing™ (VR™) Series, 5150™ Triathlon Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll® Running Series, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virtual Running™ Series, IRONKIDS®, World Triathlon Championship Series, premier running events including the Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon™ and The Sun-Herald City2Surf®, Ultra-Trail® World Tour events including Tarawera Ultra and Ultra-Trail Australia™, mountain bike races including the Absa Cape Epic®, road cycling events, and other multisport races. The IRONMAN Group is the largest operator of mass participation sports in the world and provides more than a million participants annually the benefits of endurance sports through the company’s vast offerings. Since the inception of the iconic IRONMAN® brand and its first event in 1978, athletes have proven that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE® by crossing finish lines around the world. Beginning as a single race, The IRONMAN Group has grown to become a global sensation with hundreds of events across 55+ countries. The IRONMAN Group is owned by Advance, a private, family-owned business. For more information, visit www.ironman.com.

About Advance 

Advance is a private, family-held business that owns and invests in companies across media, entertainment, technology, communications, education and other promising growth sectors. Our mission is to build the value of our companies over the long-term by fostering growth and innovation. Advance’s portfolio includes Condé Nast, Advance Local, Stage Entertainment, The IRONMAN Group, American City Business Journals, Leaders Group, Turnitin, 1010data and Pop. Together these operating companies employ more than 17,000 people in 29 countries. Advance is also among the largest shareholders in Charter Communications, Discovery and Reddit. For more information visit www.advance.com.