Unstoppable Reed, Steffen conquer Cobra Ironman 70.3 | Inquirer Sports

Unstoppable Reed, Steffen conquer Cobra Ironman 70.3

By: - Reporter / @junavINQ
/ 03:11 AM August 14, 2016

Caroline Stefen

Caroline Stefen

THE MOST ruthless race of endurance in the Philippines was once an ambitious vision before it became a triathlon phenomenon.

Such was the transformation of the recent Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia Pacific Championships presented by Ford in Cebu after Sunrise Events Inc., spearheaded by its founder, Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, gave flesh to the annual swim-bike-run spectacle eight years ago.

“The first race in CamSur was kinda like Woodstock. Everyone thought they were part of this pioneering experience,” said Uytengsu, referring to the inaugural half-Ironman race that attracted 583 triathletes from 23 countries.

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Little did the organizers know that the 1.9-kilometer swim, 90K bike and 21K run event would experience tremendous growth built on a passion of delivering a world-class race in the country over the years.

The cruel swim held off the shores of Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, the blustery bike ride in Mandaue, Cebu City and Talisay, and the footrace finale on the flat and narrow roads of Lapu-Lapu lured almost 3,000 triathletes from 43 countries.

The main event featured a stellar cast of at least 30 male and female professional competitors, most of them world class.

It was the biggest turnout since 2009 as the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines upped the ante this year by hosting the Asia Pacific Championship.

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Australian Tim Reed and Swiss Caroline Steffen captured the male and female pro titles with Steffen, a two-time Ironman world champion, extending her reign over the same race course for the fifth consecutive year.

Reed, last year’s champion, successfully defended the Asia Pacific diadem he won last year in Auckland.

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The order of finish in the Filipino elite male and female also remained untouched for the second straight staging with August Benedicto and Monica Torres again celebrating at the finish line in triumph.

Five-time Ironman world champion Craig Alexander finished a far second behind Reed followed by Sam Betten, who completed a 1-2-3 performance for the Australians.

Radka Vodickova of the Czech Republic provided the challenge to Steffen in the swim leg and in the early stages of the bike sequence before the 2012 London Olympian sputtered going into the run transition.

Steffen, who won the half Ironman in different parts of the world 20 times, set a personal best clocking of four hours, 16 minutes and 19 seconds while Reed, the 2016 Ironman Australia champion, submitted the fastest time of three hours, 51 minutes and 46 seconds.

A heavy favorite coming into the race, Alexander checked in at 3:55:01 while Betten, the current back-to-back 5150 triathlon champion in Subic, was 5:29 behind Reed.

After Vodickova arrived two minutes after Steffen, Australian Sarah Crowley got third-place honors, making it to the finish ramp more than five minutes off the female pro champion.

Tim Reed

Tim Reed

Steffen and Reed credited the supportive crowd that lined the entire route for their success which translated into $7,000 each for the pro title holders.

A total of 50 slots to the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championships were awarded in the race supported by Philippine Airlines, Summit Water, 2Go Express, Asics, Gatorade, Prudential Guarantee, Oakley and Timex.

For the fifth consecutive year, world renowned Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue designed the finisher’s medal—the heart of an Ironman—and trophies inspired from the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

The IronGirl on Skirts 5K fun run and the Alaska Ironkids Triathlon, the side events of the Ironman weekend, took centerstage on Saturday.
Wacky Baniqued (boys’ 13-14) and Tara Borlain (girls’ 13-14) ruled their respective Ironkids groupings.

A big tourism hit buzzing with activity, the three-day event also featured a triathlon expo and pre-race activities such as the Ford Bike Out, TYR Swim Out and Alaska Run Out and Breakfast which aimed to impart the importance of eating nutritious food every breakfast and donated a generous financial assistance to a chosen public school within the community.

In the age group category, six Filipinos reached the top of the podium led by Brian Borling and Nikolai Jenkins. Borling of Team Herbalife ruled the male 25-29 bracket while Jenkins asserted his prowess in the male 30-34 category.

Mervin Santiago and Jenefer Paloma dominated the male and female 18-24, Christopher Eyao seized the male 40-44 crown and Keren Miers stood out in the male 55-59.

Other winners in the age group races were Australian Graham Crocker (male 65-69), Singaporean Sin Guan Tan (male 50-54), American Celma Hitalia (female 50-54), Todd Gilmore of Vietnam (male 45-49), Anne Lavandon (female 45-49), Janine Willis of Australia (female 40-44), Timothy Cosulich of Italy (male 35-39) and Hong Kong’s Suet Fan Wong (female 35-39).

Inquirer News editor Artemio “Jun” Engracia Jr. placed second behind male 60-64 champion Josef Gueta from Israel.

Celebrities Matteo Guidicelli, Xander Angeles, Ivan Carapiet, Kim Atienza, Paul Jake Castillo, Gilbert Remulla, Dyan Castillejo competed in the age-groups while Dingdong Dantes (swim), Gretchen Fullido (swim), Bubbles Paraiso (run), Sam YG (swim) and Anthony Pangilinan (bike) participated in the relay event.

Professional competitors, local tri heroes and age groupers as well as show biz personalities, top CEOs and up-and-coming stars raced in the most prestigious and challenging triathlon event on local turf.

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This magnificent turnout has, no doubt, clearly set another benchmark for the next edition of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines.

TAGS: Caroline Steffen, Tim Reed, Triathlon

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