Jacobs nails 3rd Cobra Ironman crownBy Francis T.J. Ochoa
Philippine Daily Inquirer
LAPU-LAPU CITY—On the day the Iceman finally cometh, Peter Jacobs captured a third straight Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines crown while Caroline Steffen validated a reputation that flew in ahead of her to highlight a triathlon event embraced ever so warmly Sunday by the premier province of the south.
After the 31-year-old Australian crossed the finish of the lung-crushing 111.9-km test of physical limits under glorious and oft-grueling sunshine in 4 hours, 7 minutes and 26 seconds, an energetic crowd at the manicured grounds of the plush Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa ushered him into a podium of greatness reserved for top-tier triathletes.
“It’s quite a good milestone,” said Jacobs. “I’m proud of the achievement and it really motivates me to come back next year and do this all over again.”
Steffen, who flew into the country on the wings of a victory in a Spain race just six days ago, showed why everybody was mentioning her name with every breath of the word “favorite” by bucking fatigue and jet lag to annex the women’s crown in 4:20:48.
“I traveled straight from Europe after competing there and with all the travel, I had a little jet lag,” she said. “I was quite disappointed with my swim and I didn’t really feel good. But in the last 20K of the bike, I started to feel pretty strong.”
The athlete that delivered the pleasant surprise, however, was Augusto Benedicto. The former ice delivery boy, who went from fourth in his initial try at the event in 2009 to a hypothetical third in 2010 and second last year, finally ruled the Filipino elite class in 4:27:39.
“I knew I would fall behind in swimming so I just prayed that I would have the strength to make it out of the water so I could really pour it on in the run and bike legs,” said Benedicto in Filipino.
Monica Torres, supported by Herbalife in this race, took the gold in the Filipino women’s elite class by overtaking a badly cramping LC Langit in the first 2K of the run leg and finishing in 4:48:40.
“I was just having fun, trying to get more fit,” said Torres. “LC is a great athlete but she is just getting back in shape and I was just better trained than her coming into this event.”
Incidentally, the Unilab- and PMI-backed Benedicto, who turned 28 last Aug. 2, credited Torres for his ascent to the top, which he completed despite pain in his narrow lumbar canal.
Jacobs actually faced tough challenge from Cameron Brown through the swim-bike portion of the race but peeled away in the first 5K of the run leg to claim the crown.
Brown finished in 4:09:01, ahead of Canadian Mathieu O’Halloran (4:19:32).
American Bree Wee finished second in the women’s class with 4:27:24 while defending champion Belinda Granger dropped to third this year in 4:23:09.
Participants were in awe of the show of support by the province, with former Formula 1 champion driver Jenson Button getting the full cheering squad experience.
“It was a great race,” said Button. “It was a lot of fun and the kids were phenomenal.”