Over 1,200 Triathletes Set to Race 226 Kilometers in First Ironman Philippines
“Ten years ago when we were in CamSur we had 450 athletes doing our first Ironman 70.3… [and] we have come a long way,” says Sunrise Events founder Wilfred Steven Uytengsu during the Meet the Pros press conference at the Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center.
The 2018 Century Tuna Ironman Philippines is a most welcome addition, finally, to triathlon’s commendable growth in the country. And while it’s taken this long, this year’s first full distance race serves as a fitting tribute to the inroads the sport has made to the Filipino community.
But the timing also felt appropriate for title sponsor Century Tuna who knew exactly what was happening right from the very start.
“We were there during the CamSur days when we were still a minor sponsor,” says Century Pacific Food, Inc. vice president and general manager Greg Banzon, “but we had the vision of being able to continue to share the vision of putting together world-class events for the global triathlon community.”
Banzon might have been on to something early on—and this year’s full distance race proves it. “We see the event as the perfect platform to promote a healthy lifestyle and we hope that this will inspire many Filipinos to pursue their own fitness journey.” And this time though, it looks as if triathlon is standing firm on its promise to make fitness and health a priority to more Filipinos with a statement that will take 3.8 kilometers of swim, 180 kilometers of bike, and 42 kilometers of run.
“Why are we doing this full distance race?” asks Uytengsu “We wanted to honor the sport, the distance, and Ironman and we believe with the course we have laid out, we will do justice to that. And why Century Tuna? I’ve known Greg as an athlete a long time and they have the same values about health and wellness. You just don’t want to work out your body, you also want to fuel it properly. They have the right product, and Greg being a triathlete understands what we do.”
“The past decade has been an extraordinary achievement of growth of Ironman and triathlon in the Philippines, and is a true testament to all Pinoys who are now largely represented at races all over the world,” adds Ironman Asia managing director Geoff Meyer.
The Ironman journey for the 1,278 participants from across 47 countries will begin at the ACEA beach with the mountain ridge as backdrop. Participants will traverse the 1.9-kilometer swim course twice to complete the swim course.
From there, they will have to ride out of Subic Bay and into SCTEX for a two-loop, 180-kilometer ride on a flat road, which will bring riders back into the transition at Remy Field. Athletes will then traverse a 42.2-kilometer, two-loop run.
Up for grabs is a $25,000 prize purse and 30 age group qualifying slots for the 2018 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. Meanwhile, the Ironman 70.3 category, which coincides with the full distance race, will offer 25 slots to the 2018 Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa.
This year’s medal is also a highlight. Created by sculptor and artist Daniel De La Cruz, the “Alab ng Puso” medal embodies the love for the sport of triathletes who participate in the sport. In addition, the ribbon used was created by dream weavers from Marawi City.
By Eric Nicole Salta | Photos by Javier Lobregat
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