Multi-sport athletes rejoice as MetaSport introduces MetaMan this year, which will be South-East Asia’s only iron-distance triathlon event. Set in the idyllic location of Bintan Island, Indonesia, the inaugural event is scheduled to take place on 15 September.

Last weekend saw the launch of the race coincide with a training camp headed by veteran triathlon legend Cameron Brown put together by MetaSport. Brown is a 10-time National Ironman Champion and the only man who have not won at the Ironman World Championships to be included in the Top-10 list.

Students ranged from seasoned racers who have raced in other international races, as well as rookies who have never swum in open waters before. This gave a unique opportunity to learn and share from each other while under the tutelage of Brown.

The Kiwi imparted race knowledge and gave pointers to eager athletes looking to improve their form in the increasingly popular sport. The students were also given the opportunity to train and familiarise themselves with sections of the proposed MetaMan course.

Many locals have been heading over to the neighbouring Indonesian island, not to bask in the sunshine of sandy beaches, but to push their physical and mental fortitude in annual events such as the Bintan Triathlon and Tour de Bintan over the years.

The timing of MetaMan’s launch cannot be better, with the growing number of enthusiasts in the local triathlon family looking to longer distances. There has also been a large number of participants from Singapore taking part in the Ironman Western Australia (IMWA) in recent years. As such, the time seems right.

MetaMan will comprise of two categories; the MetaMan Full and MetaMan Half. The former will require participants to cover a swim distance of 3.8km, bike a leg of 180km, and finish off with a full 42.2km marathon. The latter category has the distances halved in all three legs.

The main reason why Bintan was chosen to stage the event is because of the terrain and features that do not exist within the Lion City. Space-constraint is definitely a problem here whereas the course in Bintan will bring participants through scenic routes and sections where the spectators are able to give encouragement.

“We’ve been planning MetaMan for a long time and we’re thrilled that we can now offer this unique race opportunity at Singapore’s doorstep,” said MetaSport’s Managing Director Nathalie Marquet. “Athletes would typically have to travel considerable distances to take part in such an event so it’s fantastic that we can host an iron-distance triathlon in our own backyard.”

Travelling to far-flung locations for such an event involves well-choreographed logistics, not to mention expenses for flights, accommodation and gear required for colder climates. As such, athletes easily fork out in excess of $3000 for a race weekend.

This event will thus give enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy the experience at possibly half that price.

The official partner for the event is Nirwana Gardens Resort, which has worked closely with MetaSport and hosted the two other races annually.

Said the GM of Nirwana Gardens, Mr Abdul Wahab, “We are delighted to add this new event to our portfolio and bring Bintan to the next level in terms of sports tourism. We look forward to welcoming the athletes and providing them with an outstanding experience of Bintan through the race, the warm welcome of the local population and dedicated service from our team.”

Along with Cameron Brown will be a field of professionals eyeing a juicy $60,000 prize purse. The amateurs will get to experience the magnitude of the event racing alongside (or behind) their idols.

MetaMan looks ready to be a unique race that could very well set the pace among Asia’s triathlon community. We cannot wait for September to come.