Globe empowers, leads digitization of Ironman
It was not only the participants of the recently concluded Ironman 70.3 Philippines who revealed their strength and abilities in being part of this grueling race.
The province of Cebu, dubbed Queen City of the South, seamlessly displayed its competence and prowess in hosting the largest and most challenging sporting event in the country to date. It has again impressed organizers, participants and guests as it demonstrated anew its capacity to handle major events and extremely large crowds as in the case of Ironman 70.3 Philippines, which drew over 2,600 athletes from across 56 countries as well as thousands of spectators.
The race finished with a surprising result in the men’s pro division with Australian triathlete Tim Reed taking the title as this year’s Ironman 70.3 champ, while Swiss national Caroline Steffen defended her title in the women’s pro division, marking a fourth consecutive win for her.
Birthday boy August Benedicto, who competed in the Filipino men’s Elite division got the perfect gift on race day as he finished first while triathlete pro Monica Torres easily won the Filipino women’s elite race. All finishers received the much coveted medal designed by Cebu’s very own Kenneth Cobonpue.
Despite some challenges, the Ironman 70.3 Philippines was deemed a complete success, a sentiment shared by many Cebuanos.
“The Ironman event was an overall success and it was very well organized. It was the first year I joined as well so I got to experience the event in its entirety,” said Bluewater Maribago resort manager Domiku Ugarte.
According to Ugarte, the digitization of Ironman that allowed the sporting event to become bigger and even more successful.
With the Internet and various social media platforms abuzz with updates, the people of Cebu is convinced that Ironman 70.3 was able to generate the needed mileage and gathered bigger attendance to the area.
“Social media played a huge part in getting information across and to have a good idea of what to expect during the race. Our team for one is very active in following the Ironman and Sunrise events page on Facebook and Instagram, so any update that was helpful to us, we would also relay it to our guests,” Ugarte shared.
Many spectators, who braved the heat and traffic, were getting regular updates through their mobile phones.
Globe was again this year’s official telecom partner of Ironman 70.3 Philippines. A strong supporter of the event since it was locally introduced in 2009, Globe provided Wi-Fi connectivity and laptops for the media center, cash support, and high speed Internet during the race to ensure that organizers, athletes, media and spectators are able to share their experience seamlessly through various social media platforms.
Flame It! Burgers COO Ella Christa Villacin similarly related how technology has been instrumental in helping them cope better with the demands of an increased business activity that goes with being one of Ironman 70.3 Philippines’ food seller.
Technology, she said, was what allowed for easy and hassle free ingress and egress during the race, and a quick and efficient coordination with their suppliers and drivers done mainly through text messages and voice calls.
“We definitely took advantage of social media in creating awareness. We announced on our Facebook page and Instagram account that Flame It would have a booth at the transition area. We kept updating these pages throughout the weekend, announcing our menu and delivery service to their hotel or resort,” Villacin related.
“Our staff used their mobile phones and this allowed us to make orders to the commissary promptly. As a result, were able to serve more customers as we had enough inventory during the entire time,” she added.
More than just bringing the action to Cebu, Ironman also brought in good business for the province.
“As a manager of Bluewater Maribago, we experienced full occupancy during the race weekend as well as a rise in food and beverage revenues. Many rooms were booked by triathletes and their supporters. I also noticed that a lot of locals from Cebu City booked rooms with us to be closer to the action,” Ugarte related.
“It was a great weekend for Cebu. The event definitely brought in more business that weekend for our booth at the transition area and at our store in Mactan, Lapu-Lapu. We also got a lot of exposure especially that there were visitors from other parts of the country. Having a selling booth in the event area made us see the full potential of our business. It made us realize that it is possible to serve freshly grilled burgers to 800 people which came in in spurts without sacrificing quality,” Villacin said.
Meanwhile, next year’s event is poised to be even more exciting and bigger as the Philippines is set to host the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship. Heading to Asia for the first time, the said event will offer a $75,000 professional prize purse and 30 qualifying slots for the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championship.
Technology and the crucial role it plays for the Ironman
Athletes continue to reap the benefits of digital technology.
Such was the case for the more than 2,600 triathletes that participated in the recently concluded Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Cebu.
Admittedly, technology has become a reliable partner for many athletes whether in the form of an App that could help them keep track of their progress, a Web channel that could give them a few tips from fellow athletes, or a phone feature that would not only allow them to store their own music playlist but also explore the many other things that the Internet has to offer.
“Most of the athletes you see here have done their registration online, and because Ironman 70.3 has limited slots, it is really crucial for every participant to have a very reliable Internet connection,” said Cebu resident and Ironman enthusiast Pearl Le.
“But this is not the only thing that the Internet has allowed me to do. The Internet and my mobile phone have allowed me to track the standing of my three children who joined this year’s Ironman race. As the event has some restricted areas, it was best that I have my phone with me always so I can check on their progress,” Pearl added.
For instance, the athlete tracker of Globe telecom, the official technology partner of Ironman 70.3 Philippines, has allowed families and supporters of Ironman triathletes to get real time updates on the performances of their favored athlete.
Pearl has been an avid follower of the Ironman 70.3 Philippines and considers it to be a family affair as three of her children were part of the recently concluded race.
Her two kids participated in IronKids while her eldest, Karl competed for Ironman 70.3. And for this 18-year-old triathlete, his first race showed an inspiring finish, as he managed to land seventh within his category.
As a first timer, Karl related that he needed to devote much of his time and energy for his training. Intense discipline, focus, and passion were needed for him to be in tip top shape, ready to be part of that grueling race. At some point, Karl admitted having to sacrifice time with friends and to miss out on some family gatherings.
“I prepared really hard and cancelled most of my hangouts with friends. My life was just school and training, and I joined every single race there was. My parents got the best coaches in town: Coach Philip Dueñas, who placed second in the overall Filipino Elite category for Ironman 70.3 Philippines 2014 and 2015, and Mary Joy Tabal, a silver medalist in the SEA Games held June 2015. I’m just really thankful,” Karl added.
Karl noted that digital technology played a crucial part in his overall performance. Technology, he said, allowed him to pore over information about the race, enabled him to become familiar with the globally renowned triathletes, and take inspiration from this knowledge that the Internet has made available to him.
“Technology helped me lot, especially in watching videos of the pros. I learned quite a lot of techniques on how to be better on a specific discipline and that was really helpful. Also, more importantly, I listen to music as this is one thing I believe we triathlete/athletes need, as it can somehow relax us and lessen the pain of our activity,” Karl concluded.