Weather a factor as Cebu Ironman gets going Sunday
LAPU-LAPU CITY—From among the greatest challenges that Australian Tim Reed and Caroline Steffen of Switzerland hurdled last year, nothing beats the punishment from the weather.
It will again be a huge concern for these champions along with the stellar cast of 33 other professional triathletes in today’s Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championship presented by Ford.
“Last year was hard enough and now you even have more guys in the mix,” said the 30-year-old Reed from Byron Bay, New South Wales. “I feel like I’m ready, but probably the biggest enemy out there is the heat and humidity.”
The 2015 Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific champion (Auckland) completed one of the hardest races in his career when he survived the energy-sapping heat here and defeated fellow Aussie Tim Van Berkel for the male pro title last year.
Reed, who ruled the Ironman Australia early this year, has a tougher field of rivals this time apart from Van Berkel in the 1.9-kilometer swim, 90K bike and 21K run test of endurance.
The 2014 champion Brent McMahon of Canada, Australians Sam Betten and three-time Ironman world champion Craig Alexander could frustrate Reed’s title-retention bid.
“We’ll see what happens in the run course,” said Steffen, the three-time defending champion in the female pro category. “It’s tough and it’s pretty hot. You have to play a little bit smart, cool yourself down and not rush into it.”
“I’ve learned my lessons here. Once you’re body is overheated, you can’t cool it down and that’s the end of your race,” added the six-time full Ironman champion who won the 70.3 around the globe 20 times.
Close to 3,000 participants from 43 countries will answer the starting gun at the break of dawn at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa.
“This is going to be exciting with Reed and Steffen hard pressed to defend their respective titles and with a host of others raring to fuel their respective bids,” said Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, founder of the organizing Sunrise Events, Inc.
The Ironman 70.3 As-Pac offers the biggest cash prize at $75,000 and the highest points earned, with $14,000 going to the champions in the elite category.
“We are truly honored to be chosen as host for the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship, marking the first time that this elite event is held in Asia, outside of Australia and New Zealand,” said Uytengsu.
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