Battle Tested: 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Age Group Champions

The full list of 2024 APAC Champions, and a breakdown of the journey that earned them the crown

Written by
min read
In this preview:
No items found.


Beneath the looming shadows of Taiwan's famed Mt. Menmaluo, the 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship summoned a legion of the brave, where every stride and stroke was a battle against the untamed power of Mother Nature herself. 

Confronting one of the toughest locations in off-road triathlon on March 23 2024, triathletes from 15 to 77 years of age across 12 age group categories took on the merciless terrain, scaling punishing ascents, plunging down treacherous declines and facing the unpredictable force of the wilderness.

It was a clash where Asia-Pacific Champions emerged and others fell, in a relentless pursuit carved from mud, sweat, and tears. Facing a trial unparalleled, they embodied the essence of XTERRA—conquering not just the course, but the limits within.

Driven by a passion for adventure and the bonds formed along the way, open water swimmers, mountain bikers and trail runners united to seek more than victory, but a deeper connection with nature, the joy of new experiences, making every challenge a vibrant celebration of what it means to truly be alive.

Cian You Wang (TWN) / 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific F25-29 Champion 

The Merciless Terrain 

The unforgiving course showed no mercy through a 42.5-kilometer gauntlet, which began with a brisk 1.5K swim at the stroke of dawn. They emerged, drenched and determined by mounting their bikes to tackle a 29K MTB course, a labyrinth of ascents and descents woven with technical sections meant to test their mettle.

The final act, a 12K trail run, was a trial by fire through ever-shifting terrain. The sun scorched overhead, humidity clung like a shroud, and the deceptive steepness of the climbs taunted their every step. The terrain, ever-changing, was a mental crucible stretching to the horizon. 

In the end, the finish line was a myriad of exhaustion and elation, a stark reminder of the ordeal they endured. Athletes greeted by the dusty embrace of Kenting’s Stony Brook Farm, had navigated a course as unfathomable as the trails themselves, laying bare the essence of their willpower and the depth of their resolve.

Jason Hsieh (HKG) / 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific M40-44 Champion 

The Masters, Mentors and Legacy Builders

Within the ranks of the XTERRA Asia-Pacific Championship, Keiji Matsuba (JPN), at 69, not only stood out as the Men’s 65-69 Champion, but also embodied the wisdom and tenacity that defines the heart of this competition. With an overall time of 4:02:21, Matsuba, affectionately known as “Crazy Keiji” from Japan, shared his strategy, “In order not to lose concentration, we pass the riders in front of us one by one, and while occasionally calling out to each other, we gradually move up the rankings.” This tactic speaks volumes of the camaraderie and strategic mindfulness required in such grueling events.

Matsuba’s journey to XTERRA is as remarkable as his performance. Starting his cycling journey later in life, he reflects, “I started riding a bicycle after I turned 40. Then, around 1995, I started riding a mountain bike as training for mountain climbing.” His transition from seeking the adrenaline of climbing to embracing the challenges of mountain biking exemplifies a lifetime dedicated to embracing and conquering the extremes of nature.

His gratitude extends beyond the personal achievement, highlighting the community and support that fuels his passion, “I am grateful for the support of my friends and for the welcome of my wife in the hot weather.” Finishing 26th overall and notably 7th among age group athletes, Matsuba’s performance is an inspiration to his dedication, resilience, and a role model to the XTERRA community, inspiring athletes across generations to push beyond their limits.

Keiji Matsuba (JPN) / 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific M65-69 Champion 

Special mention goes to Masashi Ando of Japan in the Men’s 75-79 division born in 1947, this 77 year old master of trails took on the 1.5K swim and completed it in 43:06, then he battled through a grueling bike segment and prevailed in 4:37:25, but the longer the day proceeded, the higher the temperature rose and the fierce, punishing sun took no prisoners as several warriors were unable to make to the finish line. We honor Masashi Ando and everyone who sought to overcome the toughest challenges of the outdoors. Knowing that Mother Nature is undefeated, they emerged battle-tested, ready to confront her might once more in the arenas of future competitions.

Masashi Ando (JPN) / Asia-Pacific Championship / Taiwan

Jay and Charles Heller from Las Vegas, Nevada, marked a memorable chapter in XTERRA history. Jay, an XTERRA athlete since 1997, and his son Charles, who debuted in his first triathlon in Taiwan, encapsulated a legacy fueled by family and passion for perseverance. Jay, reflecting on the journey, shared, "The family, the athletes that you meet over the years and the camaraderie you’s really rewarding.” Charles, inspired by years of entering kid’s races and trail runs, remembers watching his father, “It's super cool to be racing with him and against him."

Jay Heller demonstrated his seasoned expertise, leading in his age group with a bike split of 3:30:44 and taking 3rd place when it was all said and done. Charles, at 17, stepped boldly into the competition, finishing with a total time of 5:19:20 ahead of his father and finishing 4th in his age group, showcasing his inherited talent and dedication. Their story, woven through the years and across the finish lines, speaks to the heart of the XTERRA community: a blend of family, ambition, and the unbreakable bonds forged in the heat of competition.

In the spirit of helping to build new talent within the XTERRA community, a standout moment came with Tagami Ryosuke from Japan, who, at just 15 years old, became the youngest Asia-Pacific Champion in the 15-19 age category during his first XTERRA event. Bringing his experience from the Suzuka City Marathon into play, Ryosuke expressed “I can run faster than last year so I know this will never age you.” He clinched his age group with a time of 3:51:23 and impressed further by securing the fastest 7K Trail Run time across all age groups the following day, clocking in at 34:51.

Tagami Ryosuke (JPN) / 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific M15-19 Champion 

The Surging Swimmers

Under the overcast skies following the overnight drizzle of rain that suddenly came to a halt when dawn broke on Kenting's Little Bay Beach, the stage was set for an exhilarating 1.5K open water swim, with 2 loops, marked by an Australian exit. The challenging conditions included a temperature of 23°C, humidity at 91%, and wind speed of 11 km/h. 

Yao Yu Tsai (TWN) / 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific M30-34 Champion 

Yao Yu Tsai (TWN) emerged as a formidable competitor, clocking the fastest swim in the men's 30-34 age group at 23:09, later clinching the Asia Pacific Champion title with a stellar overall  performance of 3:29:33. This feat positioned him as a top contender, just behind Nicolas Raybaud of France, across all participating athletes outside the elite category. 

In the women's race, Sue Teoh from Malaysia demonstrated her initial surge ahead with a swim time of 26:33, securing a notable 17th overall and 7th among age group athletes. She finished a close second in the women’s 45-49 category with a final time of 5:06:47, narrowly missing the top spot to Margaret Ko (TWN) by a mere 27 seconds.

Sue Teoh (MYS) / 2024 Asia-Pacific Championship / Taiwan

The MTB Shredders

Nicolas Raybaud of France soared through the men’s 35-39 age group, establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with. With a blistering bike time of 1:48:39, he surged ahead of the competition, outpacing even three elite athletes ahead of him. His exceptional performance set a benchmark for excellence on the course.

Nicolas Raybaud (FRA) / 2024 Asia-Pacific Championship / Taiwan

When it came down to the women, Shu Wei Hsu of Taiwan unleashed her dominance on all three segments in the women’s 30-34 age group. Her impressive bike time of 2:17:54 surpassed that of any other female competitor outside the top nine elite women. Crossing the finish line with an overall time of 4:33:15, she not only claimed the title of Asia-Pacific Champion in her age group, but also secured the third fastest time among all women age groupers in the field.

Shu Wei Hsu (TWN) / 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific F30-34 Champion 

The Trail Run Speedsters

Nicolas Raybaud of France continued his dominance on the course, blazing through the trail with a staggering run segment time of 57:53. However, the spotlight also shone on Tagami Ryosuke of Japan, the youngest athlete of the day, who showcased remarkable talent and determination. At just 15 years old, Ryosuke sprinted to the finish line with a run time of 1:09:52, claiming the title of Asia-Pacific Champion in the Men’s 15-19 category and leaving a lasting impression on the competition.

Tagami Ryosuke (JPN) / 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific M15-19 Champion 

For the top woman, Noriko Kumehara of Japan emerged as a trail-running powerhouse. With an impressive run time of 1:22:54, she surpassed all other age group competitors in the women’s race, finishing 6th overall and securing 2nd place in her 35-39 age group with a total time of 5:06:30. Kumehara was close on the heels of Yi Hsiu Yang of Taiwan, who claimed the Asia-Pacific Championship title in the 35-39 age group with a mere 12-second lead over Kumehara, solidifying Yang’s status as an all-around triathlete force to be reckoned with.

Yi Hsiu Yang (TWN) / 2024 XTERRA Asia-Pacific F35-39 Champion 

The Full List of Women’s 2024 XTERRA APAC Age Group Champions

The Full List of Men’s 2024 XTERRA APAC Age Group Champions
















No items found.
From this story:

Author Bio


Spread throughout Europe, the Americas, and Asia-Pacific, the XTERRA content team is a passionate group of racers, writers, photographers, and videographers working to capture the endless adventure of the XTERRA Planet.

Related stories


For news, event updates, stories and more.

Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later..
Like what you read?
Get more inspiring content right in your inbox!
Signing up means getting our weekly newsletter and occasional promotional content delivered straight to your inbox.
I'm not interested
Thank you!
We hope you enjoy the content.
Oops! Something went wrong!
We apologise for the inconvenience. Please try again later.