Olongapo junior triathletes dominate IRONKIDS
LAPU-LAPU CITY – Be it rain or shine, around 2,000 triathletes take off and race through the roads of Mactan Newtown here in Cebu as the Megaworld IRONMAN 70.3 Philippines fires off Sunday, Aug. 7.
Presented by AIA Vitality and organized by The IRONMAN Group/Sunrise Events, Inc., triathletes from around 46 nations are expected to traverse a mix course of 1.9-kilometer swim, 90km bike, and 21km run with a refreshing seaside view and the newly-built Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX), the country’s longest bridge, being the highlight scenery of the race.
The CCLEX itself, which links Cordova and Cebu, extends up to 8.9km and takes away almost 10 percent of the race’s three-loop bike track as the race kicks off at 6:20 a.m.
The 1.9km swim will feature a single loop clockwise course which will both start and end at Mactan Newtown Beach while the three-loop run course begins in Mactan Newtown heading to Punta Engano Road and culminates at the finish line along Mactan Newtown Blvd.
All eyes would be on Czech Republic’s Petr Lukosz as the man to beat in the premiere triathlon event, having dominated the full distance of 3.8km swim, 180km bike, and 42k run last March in Subic.
Filipinos Jethro Ramos, who finished an hour after Lukosz’s feat five months ago, and Satar Salem, who ruled the Sun Life 5150 in Bohol last month, are also on the radar as top contenders. Lukosz and Ramos head the 40-44 division while Salem spearheads the 25-29 age category.
Jeff Edwards, managing director for IRONMAN Asia, expressed gratitude to the city of Lapu-Lapu, citing mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan, for a job well done in hosting the return of IRONMAN after a two-year lull due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It has been quite a journey to finally return here since 2019,” said Edwards. “It’s just remarkable to return here now to see this great energy and spirit. The amazing people here, I mean, this is incredible.
“We really don’t see this very often in IRONMAN races around the world, this incredible spirit. This is remarkable. I’ve been really moved by this as my first visit here to Cebu,” he added.
Edwards also described the bike course, stealing the race’s spotlight, to be an “incredible visual experience” for the triathletes.
Mayor Chan, for his part, said hosting the IRONMAN wasn’t a walk in the park for Lapu-Lapu but it goes to show that the city is slowly recovering and improving — economic and tourism-wise — after the pandemic and since Typhoon Odette wreaked havoc last December 2021.
“Rest assured that the city of Lapu-Lapu will always support this event and this will give us the [chance] for bouncing back [with regards to] our economy. As we all know, two years after the pandemic, and the situation during Typhoon Odette, Lapu-Lapu City is now bouncing back,” added the local chief executive.
Meanwhile, Olongapo junior triathletes dominated the IRONKIDS Saturday, Aug. 6, paraded by Darell Bada and Adrian Ungos of the Olongapo Junior Trackers in the 13-14 boys and girls categories, respectively.
Bada, who finished the mix 400m swim, 12km bike, and 3km run course after 33:22, trailed at third in the swim leg and finished exactly five minutes before letting off some steam in the bike (18:40) and run (9:42) courses, making him the fastest on the pedal and on foot.
The bike course saw a close race from some of the contenders but Bada and eventual first runner-up Carron Canas, who registered 34:08, went toe-to-toe as the latter clocked 18:44 but was left behind in running with 10:29. Connor Hodges placed second runner-up with 35:13
Ungos, for her part, recovered from her early slump and bounced back from fifth in swimming (6:30) and zoomed in with her bike en route to becoming the female 13-14 champion with a total of 38:23.
She finished the bike course first with 19:32 and took over Eleora Avanzado, who finished first runner-up with a total of 39:15 and the category’s fastest swimmer with 5:51.
Avanzado yielded the lead and finished with a 21:34 time on the bike. Despite topping the run course with 11:50, she still fell short against Ungos, who clocked 12:21. Maria Raagas followed suit for a second runner-up finish with 40:15.