PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan — Eight-hundred-ninety-eight intrepid triathletes set out for an exacting test of physical endurance and mental strength in the IRONMAN 70.3 Puerto Princesa here Sunday, all seeking to summon their last reserves in the closing run stage in pursuit of triathlon glory.
With the current in the opening swim leg of the 1.9 km swim-90km bike-21k run event at manageable level, one’s title bid — both in the overall individual and in various age-group categories — could hinge on the tri-sports’ “bike for show, run for dough” mantra due to the decisive part it generally has in the outcome of each endurance race.
“On the bike, it’s difficult to know because it’s (course) looping. So, I think the chase is on the run,” said race director Neville Manaois. “But we will have a very fast, challenging race.”
It will indeed be a rush and doubly inspiring as the host city, through Mayor Lucilo Bayron, has upped the ante, putting up an additional P150,000 each for the fastest overall male and female in the blue-ribbon event organized by the IRONMAN Group/Sunrise Events Inc. kicking off at Puerto Princesa Baywalk Park and ending at the Ramon Mitra Jr. Sports Complex.
Reagan Nabua and John Alcala, who placed third in the IM 70.3 Subic last March and in IM 70.3 Cebu last August, respectively, headline the cast in the men’s side that includes bets from 25 other countries with focus also on Melvin Santiago, the first Filipino to cross the finish line in the IM World Championship in Kona, Hawaii recently.
Fer Casares, a two-time SEA Games gold medalist and the first Filipino to successfully complete a World Cup event, is also worth watching.
Also expected to crowd the fancied bets are Jailani Lalama, Abdul Toroganan, Yoejan Prudente, Mervin Santiago and Bohol 5150 champion Satar Salem, along with other bets from the US, Hong Kong, Guam, Singapore, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, India and Japan.
The battle in the women’s side is also tipped to be fierce and furious with Chery Auto PH Tri Team’s Alessandra Castaneda, the fastest Filipina in the IM 70.3 World Championship in St. George, Utah last month, and this year’s two-time 5150 champion Bea Quiambao of the Next Step Tri team leading the chase.
Claire Adorna, a two-time SEAG gold and silver medalist, will vie in women’s relay under the AFP Tri Team.