Philippines ready for tougher full Ironman
It was only last year when it was announced that the first full distance Ironman in the Philippines will be held.
Wilfred Uytengsu, a grizzled triathlete himself and founder of Sunrise Events, Inc. which organizes Ironman Philippines, had long entertained the idea of staging a full Ironman race.
Uytengsu believes the timing is ripe with triathlon as popular as ever in the country.
“I’ve wanted to do a full for the last five years but I just didn’t think one, the community was ready,” Uytengsu said during a press conference Friday at Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center here.
“If you look at how the sport has grown for the last five years, it’s exponentially. Far wilder than my imagination could ever take us. And secondly, I also think that we have to be ready as a community to embrace this distance,” he said.
As a testament to triathlon as a fast-rising sport, there will be around 1200 participants for the whole distance Ironman alone.
The full Ironman, which is a 3.8-kilometer swim, 180 km bike, and 42 km run, will now be the centerpiece on Sunday instead of the usual Ironman 70.3. Although, the half Ironman remains part of race day as well as the age group classification.
Kiwis Cameron Brown, a 12-time Ironman champion in New Zealand, and Simon Cochrane are among the top contenders in the Male Pro category as they look to make history as the inaugural winner of Ironman Philippines while Filipino Arland Macasieb hopes to make a good account of himself against the tough field.
A special medal, made by renowned sculptor Daniel dela Cruz in collaboration with weavers from war-torn Marawi, will be given to each Ironman finisher.
But it will be a grueling road to the finish.
The race begins at ACEA beach as competitors traverse the 1.9-kilometer swim twice before riding out of Subic Bay and into the smooth roads of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) and back to Remy Field.
Participants then go for the last stretch with a two-loop run passing scenic views of the coast under the sweltering heat.
“For all the first-time Ironman athletes out there, a full distance is not two 70.3s,” said Uytengsu. “I promise you it’s gonna be a tougher course.”
“But when you come across the finish line and they call your name and they say you are an Ironman, you earned every minute of that course so we are proud we are able to break the full distance here and see what happens after Sunday if we’ll be back.”
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