XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship Weekend Recap
April 17, 2023
The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship off-road triathlon and trail running weekend treated thousands of participants and spectators to two incredible days of racing, parties, cultural connections and community engagements.
/ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – The XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship off-road triathlon and trail running weekend treated thousands of participants and spectators to two incredible days of racing, parties, cultural connections and community engagements.
Below you’ll find recaps from the first stop on the XTERRA World Cup that was held on Saturday, as well as a report from the first continental championship in the XTERRA Trail Run World Series.
Arthur Forissier, Alizee Paties win XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship
Arthur Forissier and Alizee Paties from France captured the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship race, the first of seven stops on the XTERRA World Cup, at Kenting National Park in Taiwan on Saturday, April 15, 2023.
It’s the eighth career XTERRA World Tour win for Forissier and the fifth for Paties.
In the women’s race, local elite Chang Chi Wen was first out of the calm warm waters of the South China Sea at Little Bay Beach followed by a big chase pack featuring Maeve Kennedy (AUS), Sandra Mairhofer (ITA), Suzie Snyder (USA), Paties, Solenne Billouin (FRA), and Loanne Duvoisin (SUI).
In the first kilometer of the bike Paties and Billouin, the reigning XTERRA World Champion, started pulling away from the rest of the field and those two had a close battle the rest of the way.
“I was feeling really good on the bike, managed my pace, and focused on the technical steep climbs, it was perfect,” said Billouin, who posted the fastest bike split of the day in 1:47:17.
For Paties, the strategy was to stay hydrated. Even thougsiah the race started at 6am, it was hot and humid early and both the bike and run courses feature grueling, steep climbs.
“This is a really tough course, and even harder in the hot weather,” said Paties.“I used my Camelback on the bike and drank a lot of water, a full two liters.”
Billouin was first into the bike-to-run transition by about 15 seconds, with Paties right behind and the two ran out on the 10K trail run together. About 4K into the run near the top of the climb Paties made her move and never looked back, taking the tape in 3:06:30, more than two minutes ahead of Billouin.
“Tried to manage my run, but it was quite difficult in the heat, you have to put your foot in the right place so you don’t twist an ankle, and on the uphill I pushed so I could be in front and do the downhill fast,” said Paties, who had the fastest run in 52:01.
“It’s a very special win for me, because I just quit my job two months ago so I could focus on racing,” said Paties, who focused her off-season training working on her run strength. “I’m proud of myself, and proved what I did this winter worked, even though it wasn’t easy.”
For Billouin, the runner-up performance was a welcome result for the season opener.
“I fell on the run a lot, and I tried to go with Alizee when she took off at the top of the climb but I was dehydrated and just wanted to save my position at that point. She was really strong on the run, and I’m happy to start the season with a second place, it gives me confidence, and now I can go back to training and be stronger for the long season.”
Loanne Duvoisin was strong all day, and just about one-minute behind Paties and Billouin on the bike by the top of the last climb. She had the second-best run split and finished just 22-seconds behind Billouin in third place.
“It was a really good race,” she said. “The first part of the bike I was strong and not too far away from the leaders, but I made some mistakes in the technical parts and I was smashed on the run. It was hard to keep a rhythm going on those steep climbs, and on the downhill it’s also really steep, and I turned my ankle so I couldn’t push, but I’m happy with my performance this early in the year.”
Mairhofer finished fourth and Kennedy came in fifth, earning the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champion elite title by virtue of being the top pro finisher from the APAC region.
Top 10 Results
Place – Name, NAT (Swim, Bike, Run – Finish)
1 – Alizée Paties, FRA (23:05, 1:47:43, 52:01 – 3:06:30)
2 – Solenne Billouin, FRA (23:05, 1:47:17, 54:28 – 3:08:42)
3 – Loanne Duvoisin, SUI (23:06, 1:48:50, 52:37 – 3:09:04)
4 – Sandra Mairhofer, ITA (23:03, 1:52:31, 55:27 – 3:15:35)
5 – Maeve Kennedy, NZL (23:02, 1:57:03, 54:29 – 3:18:02)
6 – Suzie Snyder, USA (23:04, 1:56:25, 58:51 – 3:22:32)
7 – Marta Menditto, ITA (23:57, 1:58:04, 59:28 – 3:25:27)
8 – Carina Wasle, AUT (25:30, 2:01:3 56:30 – 3:28:31)
9 – Georgia Grobler, RSA (24:26, 2:10:11, 56:37 – 3:36:10)
10 – Elizabeth Orchard, NZL (24:29, 2:03:09, 1:05:24 – 3:38:00)
In the men’s race, Michele “The Shark” Bonacina (ITA) was first out of the water in 19:55, with Felix Forissier (FRA), Lukas Kocar (CZE), Arthur Serrieres (FRA), Maxim Chane (FRA), and Arthur Forissier right behind. Kieran McPherson (NZL), Ruben Ruzafa (ESP), and Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen (DEN) were more than one-minute back, but would make their presence felt later in the race.
“It was a great swim for me today, I was able to stay with the lead pack, which was the first time for me,” said Arthur Forissier.
Bonacina and Felix Forissier were first onto the bike course but in no time the lead pack was six deep with Kocar, Chane, Serrieres, and Arthur Forissier joining the fray.
The dynamic changed when Ruzafa bridged the gap at about the 10K mark, passed everyone, and put the hammer down.
“When Ruben arrived we all had to go two times faster because he’s the king,” said Arthur Forissier. “It was the hardest moment of the race because the sun was rising, the track was hard, and Ruben was flying.”
While Ruzafa got the lead, he wasn’t able to completely pull away because Felix Forissier and Chane were riding strong and looking to take over … until they both flatted – at the same spot, from the same rock, about 22-kilometers into the bike course.
By the time Ruzafa arrived at the bike-to-run transition he had about 25 seconds on Arthur Forissier, with Sloth Nielsen two minutes back and Serrieres three minutes back in fourth.
Arthur Forissier posted the fastest run split of the day (42:18), caught Ruzafa just before the top of the climb about 5K into the run, and never looked back. He took the tape in 2:36:39, about one-minute ahead of Ruzafa in second.
“Feels really good to win this one, it gives me a lot of confidence for the rest of the World Cup,” he said. “I’m happy because it’s a long trip, and I put a lot of energy into arriving in good condition, and all those efforts paid off.”
Sloth Nielsen finished in third place, Kieran McPherson had the second-best run of the day to pass Bonacina, Carabin, and Serrieres and move into fourth. McPherson also won the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Champion elite title by virtue of being the first men’s finisher from the APAC region.
“I think I might have surprised some people, considering the top 8 ranked guys in the World were on the start line, but my team and I worked really hard for this so it wasn’t surprising to us,” said McPherson.
Sebastien Carabin (BEL), who had the best bike split of the day (1:28:38), finished fifth with Bonacina in sixth, and Serrieres, the reigning XTERRA World Champion and pre-race favorite, in seventh.
“I can just blame myself for coming here at the last moment,” said Serrieres, who arrived in Taiwan two days before the race as part of his early-season plan to stay on European time. “I had a great winter, I worked really hard, but this was my worst race ever.”
Top 10 Results
Place – Name, NAT (Swim, Bike, Run – Finish)
1 – Arthur Forissier, FRA (20:08, 1:30:47, 42:18 – 2:36:39)
2 – Ruben Ruzafa, ESP (21:19, 1:29:03, 44:06 – 2:37:45)
3 – Jens Emil Sloth Nielsen, DEN (21:23, 1:30:27, 45:34 – 2:41:11)
4 – Kieran McPherson, NZL (21:12, 1:34:14, 42:44 – 2:41:29)
5 – Sebastien Carabin, BEL (25:12, 1:28:38, 44:05 – 2:42:18)
6 – Michele Bonacina, ITA (19:55, 1:35:22, 45:44 – 2:44:04)
7 – Arthur Serrieres, FRA (20:03, 1:33:00, 49:20 – 2:46:13)
8 – Lukas Kocar, CZE (20:01, 1:37:32, 45:51 – 2:46:52)
9 – Félix Forissier, FRA (19:57, 1:43:33, 42:06 – 2:48:41)
10 – Maxim Chané, FRA (20:06, 1:42:40, 46:54 – 2:53:33)
All-time XTERRA Asia-Pacific Race Champions
Year – Elite Winners (Location)
2014 – Dan Hugo/Flora Duffy (Callala, NSW, Australia)
2015 – Braden Currie/Flora Duffy (Callala, NSW, Australia)
2016 – Braden Currie/Lizzie Orchard (Callala, NSW, Australia)
2017 – Weiss, Allen, Osborne, McPherson/Carina Wasle (Langkawi, Malaysia)
2018 – Bradley Weiss/Carina Wasle (Danao, Philippines)
2019 – Bradley Weiss/Penny Slater (Kenting, Taiwan)
2023 – Arthur Forissier/Alizee Paties (Kenting, Taiwan)
XTERRA World Cup Leaderboard
Today’s race was the first event in the inaugural XTERRA World Cup, off-road triathlon’s premier series for professionals.
Round two will take place at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, AL (May 20-21), rounds 3-thru-5 are in the EU with the XTERRA European Championship in Namur, Belgium (June 10-11), followed by XTERRA Czech (August 12-13), and XTERRA Germany (August 18-19), and round six heads to the Rockies in Avon, Colorado for the XTERRA USA Championship (August 26) before the finale at XTERRA Worlds in Trentino, Italy (Sept. 21 Short Track, Sept. 23 Full).
Find XTERRA World Cup details, standings, and full coverage at xterraplanet.com/world-cup.
2023 XTERRA World Cup Schedule
Date – Race (Location) Purse – Points
Apr 15 – XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship (Kenting, Taiwan) US$25,000 – 110
May 20 – XTERRA Oak Mountain (Shelby County, AL, USA) US$15,000 – 100
May 21 – XTERRA Oak Mountain Short Track (Shelby County, AL, USA) US$5,000 – 20
June 10 – XTERRA European Championship (Namur, Belgium) €25,000 – 110
Jun 11 – XTERRA Belgium Short Track (Namur, Belgium) €5,000 – 20
Aug 12 – XTERRA Czech (Prachatice, Czech Republic) €15,000 – 100
Aug 13 – XTERRA Czech Short Track (Prachatice, Czech Republic) €5,000 – 20
Aug 18 – XTERRA Germany Short Track (Zittau, Germany) €5,000 – 20
Aug 19 – XTERRA Germany (Zittau, Germany) €15,000 – 100
Aug 26 – XTERRA USA Championship (Avon, CO, USA) US$25,000 – 110
Sep 21 – XTERRA Trentino Short Track (Trentino, Italy) €5,000 – 20
Sep 23 – XTERRA World Championship (Trentino, Italy) €100,000 – 120
Read all about the XTERRA World Cup at https://www.xterraplanet.com/world-cup.
Chane, Ha win XTERRA Asia-Pacific 35K Trail Run Championship
Maxim Chane from France and Hau Ha from Vietnam captured the inaugural XTERRA Asia-Pacific Trail Run Championship 35K race at the picturesque Stony Brook Nature Farm in Kenting, Taiwan on Sunday, April 16, 2023, while Sebastien Carabin from Belgium and Tung Meng Yun from Taipei took home the half-marathon titles.
As the first of three continental championship races on the new XTERRA Trail Run World Series, runners competed for $5,200 USD in prize money and qualifying spots into the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship on October 1 at Sugarloaf Resort in Maine (USA).
It was nice and cool in Kenting National Park for the 6am start of the 35K race and Ha went out fast with the two lead men, Chane and Chang Che Hao, and no other female runners were able to keep pace with the exceptional 33-year-old runner from the mountain regions of Vietnam.
“It’s my first-time in Taiwan, and I was excited to discover the XTERRA Trail Run World Series here,” said Ha, who has won every race she’s entered over the last two years including the Doi Inthanon Thailand by UTMB 50K that qualified her for the OCC race in Mont Blanc.
“Today’s race was cool, I liked it a lot,” said Ha, one of the Asia-Pacific regions’ rising stars on the ultra running scene.
Her winning time of 3:27:34 was good for third overall, behind only Chane and Chang. Georgia Grobler from South Africa was second in 3:56:41, and Yen Hsiao Ching finished third.
In the men’s race, Chane, who raced the XTERRA Asia-Pacific triathlon championship race on Saturday, said he was able to take out his frustrations from yesterday’s race on the trails today.
“The triathlon yesterday killed me,” said Chane, who suffered a flat tire on the bike course and rode the last 10km on the rim and ended up in 10th place.
“It was super hot again today, and I ran with the second guy for a while and opened up the pace late in the race, but it was really hard. I couldn’t sleep last night because I was thinking about the flat, but this made my frustration a bit less and now I’m hungry for the rest of the season.”
Chane took the tape in 3:08:50, more than six-minutes ahead of Chang in second, who earned the APAC 35K title by virtue of being the fastest runner from the region. David Brackett finished in third.
In the half-marathon men’s race, Sebastien Carabin surged into the lead at the 3K mark of the run and never looked back, crossing the line in 1:43:45, more than 20 minutes ahead of the runner-iup Cheng Jui Chu – who earned APAC 21K title for being the top runner from the region.
“Amazing tracks like yesterday, such a beautiful place, and the course is tough with steep climbs and steep downhills, but you see wonderful landscapes everywhere you look,” said Carabin, who finished 5th in the triathlon yesterday while posting the fastest bike split of the day.
“I really enjoyed it out there today, was able to get a comfortable gap and run at my own pace, so it was a lot of fun.”
In the women’s half-marathon race Tung Meng Yun took the top spot in 2:44:25, with Mari Anker in second, and Han Hsiao Jiu in third.
“I was hoping for top three but didn’t think I would win it,” said Tung. “I loved the course and the pretty grassy hills. We don’t have trails like this up north in Taipei, the terrain is different, so this was a really great experience.”
There was also a 7K trail run, won by local legends Emmie Ries and Zang Jinyue. Ries won the overall in 39:01, with Wilson right behind in 39:02. Perhaps the most impressive performance of the day came from Lachlan McIlvaine, 10, who finished third overall in 40:55.
About the XTERRA Trail Run World Series
The XTERRA Trail Run World Series is an inclusive series that invites all trail enthusiasts to join the XTERRA community to connect, explore, and discover new and existing trails in idyllic running terrains the world over.
Designed to mix community and adventure, the series is open to all runners, from amateur to elite, individuals and pairs, with over 30 races in 20+ countries across Europe, the Americas, and the Asia-Pacific region.
Runner can compete individually, regionally or globally in the XTERRA Trail Run rankings, or push to the front of the pack to qualify for a place on the starting line at the annual and invite-only XTERRA Trail Run World Championship.
The XTERRA Trail Run World Series includes both half-marathon (15-34K) and full-marathon (35-60K) races, with individual and team (duo) categories available.
X marks the unknown. TERRA is earth. United, we are XTERRA – a brand born to discover unknown territory. Since our inception in 1996, XTERRA has been inspiring off-road adventure by connecting people with nature through events with a fun, family vibe. We offer 13 off-road race options, from triathlon-to-trail running, for participants of all ages and skill levels in 47 countries worldwide. We have a global perspective, we aspire to protect where we play, and live the XTERRA lifestyle everyday, everywhere we roam. Join us off-road at xterraplanet.com.