Heat, humidity ramp up Palawan Ironman test
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—The weather will be a big factor when more than 1,200 triathletes take off early Sunday on a swim-bike-run competition as Ironman triathlon fever descends on Puerto Princesa for the first time ever.
The inaugural Ironman 70.3 Puerto Princesa takes place under expected hot and humid conditions although the skies will be partly cloudy, according to weather forecasts. Temperatures will be in the low 30s Celsius and humidity will be in the mid-90s as triathletes negotiate the 1.9-km swim, 90-km bike and 21-km run.
The swim is a single triangular loop off the Puerto Princesa Baywalk and the bike is a three-loop ride to the southern environs of the city up to the Iwahig Bridge and the run will be on the city’s streets, culminating in the Ramon V. Mitra Jr. Sports Complex, where the award ceremonies will be held.
The open sea will be calm, but the rolling bike and run courses will be tough when the heat and high humidity kicks in by mid-morning. The triathletes sampled the kind of hot and humid conditions on Saturday.
Organized by Sunrise Events and the city government, the inaugural Ironman event here will also be the climax of the hectic Ironman year that comes on the heels of the two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Mayor Lucilo Bayron upped the ante for the contenders when he offered a prize of P150,000 each for the top finishers of the men’s and women’s categories. The rest of the field will be competing in different age categories with 30 slots in the Vinfast Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Lahti, Finland, next year.
Top contenders for the men’s prize are Subic Ironman top Filipino finisher Satar Salem, Southeast Asian Games gold medalist Fernando Casares and top age-grouper Mervin Santiago.
Notably absent from the field is the country’s top Ironman 70.3 triathlete, August Benedicto, the top Filipino in the Megaworld Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Mactan, Cebu last August. He has returned to Germany where he now lives with his German wife and children. INQ