Steffen, Reed Win the 2015 Cobra IM703 Championship Title


The Ironman PROs

Cobra Ironman 70.0 Philippines Pro Champions Caroline Steffen and Tim Reed. Photo by Jamil Buergo

2015 #CobraIronman703 Pro Champions Caroline Steffen and Tim Reed. Photo by Jamil Buergo

Swiss Miss Caroline Steffen took home her fourth Cobra Ironman 70.3 championship title on August 2, 2015, in Mactan, Cebu.

Alaska Tri-Aspire’s Pro triathlete Caroline Steffen, who goes by the monicker Xena, proved her being a warrior princess as she led the women’s Pro category in the swim leg. And despite having a broken chain and a bike crash, the crowd saw her in her running perfect form to land her in the top spot.

From his recent winning at the 5i50 in early this year held in Subic, Australian Tim Reed battled it out with his contemporaries in the men’s Pro to win his first Cobra Ironman 70.3 championship title.

The festive beach front of the Mactan Shangri-La on an early Sunday morning teemed with triathlon Pros, Filipino Elites, age groupers, relay participants and spectators from all corners of the country and across the globe. Vintas donned with colourful banderitas line up along the designated swim course. As the excitement crept up, the Pros took off followed by the Filipino Elites. Age groupers and relay participants seeded themselves in their respective swim time finish of the 1.9km swim course.

Defending champion Brent McMahon made it first off the swim to the transition followed Reed and Tim Van Berkel. The 90-kilometre bike course was a close competition among the top three contenders. As the race progressed, the speeding bikes coursed through the four cities namely Talisay, Mandaue, Cebu and Lapu-Lapu, with Reed taking over the lead with Van Berkel close behind. McMahon trailing on the third spot. Steffen held strong on her lead. Approaching the 40th kilometre, 15 times Ironman Champion Belinda Granger was a few metres behind. Soon, she gained her lead back putting Granger on the second spot, with Dimity-Lee Duke catching up; Kathryn Haesner, Beth Gerdes and Carole pedalling for the fourth, fifth and sixth spots.

2015 Cobra IM703 Philippines Finisher's medal designed by Kenneth Cobonpue.

2015 #CobraIronman703 Finisher’s medal designed by Kenneth Cobonpue.

From transition area to the run course, the endless queue of spectators filled the sides of Punta Engano Rd. where the final leg of the race was taking place. It’s a two-loop course of the 21 kilometre run with a turn around point at the Discovery Bay with the scenic seaside as the backdrop. Loud cheers emanated from the crowd as Pros and Elites covered each kilometre of the course. It was the most festive leg of the race as there are several cheer dancers donned in colourful attires performing their routines.

The male Pros pounded each kilometre of the road towards the finish line. The eventual champion, Tim Reed made made the top podium in 3:46:03, 2 seconds ahead of second placer Tim Van Berkel (3:46:05). Brent McMahon slipped into the third spot (3:50:23), followed by Mitch Robbins on the fourth place (3:55:20). World Champion Crowie Alexander completed the roster of the male Pro champions (3:57:11).

Caroline Steffen made an impressive finish (4:23:54) by winning her fourth championship title. Beth Gerdes slipped into the second spot (4:29:07) past the third placer Dimity-Lee Duke (4:29:36), Kathryn Haesner made it to the fourth spot (4:32:15). Belinda Granger gracefully retired from competitive racing as she reached the finish line for the fifth spot (4:42:00). Carole Fuchs completes the line up of the female Pro champions (4:43:39).

With Jamie Jacobs, my favourite IM Champion Belinda Granger, Pete Jacobs and Justin Granger at the Cobra IM703 finishers' lounge.

With Jamie Jacobs, my favourite IM Champion Belinda Granger, Pete Jacobs and Justin Granger at the #CobraIronman703 finishers’ lounge.

The Filipino Elites

While the Pros battled for the top spot in their category, our Filipino Elites did not flicker as they boldly raced for supremacy amongst themselves in the 70.3 mile distance.

August Benedicto of Team Unilab bagged the top spot (4:28:36), Team Ford Forza’s John Philip Duenas came in second (4:28:42), and Alaska Tri-Aspire’s Banjo Norte made the triumvirate of the local male champions complete (4:29:05). Always regarded as the fastest Filipina triathlete, Monica Torres towered over her female contemporaries (4:39:37) with a 13-minute lead against the second placer Maria Hodges (4:53:09). LC Langit made it to the third spot in 5:05:30.

****

The annual Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines is the most anticipated sports and tourism event in the country, especially in Cebu as not only the Pros, Filipino Elites and CEOs partake to compete but also age groupers and celebrity triathletes join in the individual and relay categories. Matteo Guidicelli and Piolo Pascual were a total crowd drawer as loud screams echoed everytime they pass.

Giorgia Guidicelli at the run leg turn around point. #CobraIM703Ph

Giorgia Guidicelli at the run leg turn around point. #CobraIronman703

I positioned myself at the 18th kilometre mark at the first pass, which was right next to the tunnel heading towards Plaza Independencia. As I busied myself with the live updates of the ongoing race, here comes Matteo Guidicelli coming off the tunnel who first recognised me and called my attention. And to think that I’ve known him and his family for only a few months! Later that afternoon, he shared that he felt good during the swim and bike legs, however, it was rather challenging for him during the run leg. His equally athletic sibling,Giorgia, remained tough and strong despite the increasing temperature when I spotted her at the turn around point. Giorgia made her second podium finish in a 70.3 race.

The event concluded with the awarding ceremony held at the golf course area of the Shangri-La, Mactan. As the event wrapped up, it was announced that the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific World Championship will be hosted by Cebu in 2016!

The finisher’s medal and winner’s trophy was designed by world-renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue.

For complete race results, please visit: 2015 Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippine Results

Congratulations to the winners and finishers!

For race updates, like Cobra Ironman 70.3 on Facebook: Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines
Twitter: @CobraIronMan703
Instagram: @cobraironman703/

Registration for the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship 2016 opens on October 1, 2015, 8am (Manila Time, GMT+8). Log on to www.ironman703phil.com

See you all in 2016!

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Alaska IronKids Uphold the Meaning of a True Champion


Cebu, Philippines- August 1 was a memorable day for our Alaska IronKids as they participate in the Alaska IronKids support Gatas for Breakfast, a practice run for a good cause. It was an enriching experience for the IronKids participants as they not only practiced running with the Ironman Pros like Pete Jacobs, Caroline Steffen, Belinda Granger, and Alaska Tri-Aspire Team Coach Matt O’Halloran, Banjo Norte and Jenny Guerrero, they also shared a nutritious breakfast with milk to over 1,500 young students of Mactan Elementary School. This effort to foster a healthy consciousness among individuals and families—through the combination of exercise and proper nutrition—is Alaska’s way in helping fight against the increasing number of overweight and undernourished children in the country. Having a healthy and active lifestyle does not only involve physical activity but also proper nutrition, living up to Alaska’s key meesage, Nutrition.Action.Champion.

For more information, check out the Alaska IronKids website, www.ironkidsphil.com.

For live Twitter updates, follow @ALASKAsportshub or search the ff. hashtag: #Alaskaironkids #GatasforBreakfast #MilkSelfie.

Alaska Tri-Aspire Team Launched!


Professional Triathletes Caroline Steffen and Pete Jacobs

Professional Triathletes Caroline Steffen and Pete Jacobs

The Alaska Tri-Aspire team is a professional triathlon team composed of 2 of the world’s best professional triathlon athletes and 5 Filipino elite development athletes. The Alaska Tri-Aspire team aims to produce legitimate professional athletes who can compete in the 5i50, 70.3 IronMan, XTERRA events and athletes who can represent the Philippines in the Asian Beach Games, Asian Games and Olympic games.

Members of the team are professional athletes Pete Jacobs from Australia who is the 2012 Ironman World Champion and Caroline Steffen from Switzerland who is an ITU World Long Distance Champion and multiple Ironman champion. The Filipino Elite composed of Banjo Norte, Jenny Rose Guerrero, Noemi Galeos, Christine Hipol, Jonard Saim and Juan Carlos Abad will be under Coach Mathieu O’Halloran’s guidance in training to become a world-class team that can represent the country in triathlon races worldwide. The elite team is mainly composed of Filipino athletes because Alaska Milk Corp. wanted to focus on developing and nurturing grassroots talents.

Let us all cheer as the Alaska Tri-Aspire Team proudly wave the Philippine flag at the races they will conquer. Their unrivaled passion, fearless determination and steadfast discipline will bring them closer to monumental victories Filipinos around the world will be proud of.

Meet the Team!

In the Photo (L-R): Christine Hipol, Jenny Guerreo, Coach Matt O'Halloran, Noemi Galeos,Banjo Norte, Jonard Saim & JC Abad

In the Photo (L-R): Christine Hipol, Jenny Guerreo, Coach Matt O’Halloran, Noemi Galeos,Banjo Norte, Jonard Saim & JC Abad

Noemi Galeos

  • 24 yrs. Old from General Santos City
  • Overall Champion, Women’s Category, 1st Davao Xtrail Triathlon, Davao City, 2014
  • 2nd place First Duathlon Koronadal, Koronadal City, South Cotabato, 2014
  • Overall Champion, Women’s Category, 1st Tri-Generals Club Race, Sarangani Province, 2013

Christine Hipol

  • 21 yrs. Old from Manila
  • 1st place in Tri MANILA (March 2014)
  • 3rd Female Overall in the Ultimate Tri Ilocos (March 2014)
  • 3rd Female Overall in Aquaman 2014
  • 3rd place in the Tri NOAH (November 2013)
  • UP Women’s Champion in the 75th UAAP Swimming Championships (Sept 2012)
  • Team rank in 4th place in the 3rd Asian Waterpolo Cup

Jenny Rose Guerrero

  • 28 years old from Manila
  • Olympian in the 200m breastroke
  • Multiple SEA Games medalist
  • 1st Overall Subic Bay NAGT, February 2014
  • 2nd Elite Pico De Loro Triathlon, April 2014
  • 1st Filipino Elite 5i50 Subic Bay, June 2013
  • 2nd Filipino Elite Cebu 70.3, August 2013
  • 2nd Filipino Elite 5i50, October 2013

Juan Carlos Abad

  • 15 yrs. old from San Juan, La Union
  • New and the best swimmer in the team
  • 1st 15-16 Tri United 3 Subic Bay (October)
  • 4th Overall Tri Noah (November) Can potentially be the Top Junior triathlete in Asia, and the 1st South East Asian to compete at the Olympic Game

Jonard Saim 

  • 24 yrs. old from General Santos City
  • concurrently on the Philippine National Triathlon Team
  • The 2nd best Olympic distance athlete in the country
  • 2nd Elite Tri United 1 Subic (March)
  • 2nd Elite Candon City (March)
  • 3rd Elite Pico De Loro (April)
  • 18th Elite Asian Triathlon Champs (May)
  • 2nd Elite Philippines National Games (June)
  • 2nd Filipino Elite Century Tune 5150 (June)
  • 2nd Elite Tri United 2 Laiya (July)
  • 5th Filipino Elite Cobra Ironman 70.3 (August)

Banjo Norte

  • 20 yrs. old from Cagayan De Oro City
  • 2nd Overall Dinagat Island Challenge (May)
  • 1st Overall Mantagale Off Road Triathlon (May)
  • 1st Filipino Elite Cebu 70.3 (August)
  • 2nd Filipino Elite 5i50 Subic Bay (October)
  • 1st 18-24 Taiwan 70.3 (November)

Coach Mathieu O’Halloran

  • 27 yrs. old from Canada who is currently on sabbatical as a Professional Triathlete to focus on coaching
  • Trained at the Canadian Triathlon Center in Victoria, BC as a junior national triathlete for 4 years
  • Lived and trained in Kenya in 2007 to learn how Kenyans run
  • Became a member of teamTBB in 2007, the world’s premiere triathlon team under the legendary Coach Brett Sutton
  • Achieved top 5 performances in 5i50, 70.3, Ironman and ITU Long Distance events around the world
  • Country Coach, Alaska teamTBB Philippines: 44 podiums including 21 victories, Top 10 placing at the Asian Junior Championships, 5 Filipino Elite podiums, 2 Filipino Elite crowns
  • Coaches athletes from 5 different continents: 5 Kona qualifiers, multiple Ironman, Ironman 70.3 and 5i50 podium finishes

The Cebu Trip and the Cobra IronMan 70.3 Philippines Experience Final Part


At  the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, Lapu-Lapu City

At the Marcelo Fernan Bridge, Lapu-Lapu City

Despite coming to Crimson Resort and Spa a little late the previous night and having a few hours of sleep, I still have a good sleep. Thanks to the very comfy accommodation at the resort. I woke up around 3am to get ready for the big race. The warm shower and the oh-so-mouth-watering breakfast buffet sumptuously prepared at Saffron Café jumpstarted the day. I was later joined by Tin, Rudnie, and Rone.

It was a cold rainy morning. While waiting for the van, rain was drizzling as gusts of wind occasionally send ruffles of leaves and branches nearby. We boarded the van as soon as it arrived and we headed off to the race venue at Shangri – La Mactan. Roughly a kilometer or so from the venue entrance, traffic was already building up, not to mention the continuous drizzle. Race participants and non – participants have decided to go on foot instead. The weather wasn’t really good to reckon with.

I knew that it’s gonna be a long and tiring day. But then again, I knew that it’s gonna exciting and a whole lot of fun. After the short briefing, I met up with my rider and took the early grayish, cold, rainy and deserted road of Lapu – Lapu City down to the turn-around point in Talisay. Droplets of rain felt like cutting through my skin and the cold wind numbing my skin. At half past 6 in the morning, we drove past groups of people who lined up along the streets waiting for the racers to pass by.

Students in their PE uniforms, CAT uniforms and in civilian clothes have already filled the sidewalks. Children and adults alike mingled with the rest of the crowd.

In the photo (left to right): Top - Jacqui Slack & Ben Allen, with IM World Champion Pete Jacobs, with IM World Champion Chris McCormack; Bottom - with Belinda Granger; with Luke and Meg Gillmer

In the photo (left to right): Top – Jacqui Slack & Ben Allen, with IM World Champion Pete Jacobs, with IM World Champion Chris McCormack; Bottom – with Belinda Granger; with Luke and Meg Gillmer

Soon, the lead pack of triathletes came rushing at the first turn around point. Courtney Atkinson was leading the male pros, Banjo Norte of Alaska Team TBB was leading the Filipino Elites, Caroline Steffen, also of Alaska Team TBB was leading the female pros. The crowd never failed to give the racers a boost with the loudest cheers, giving them a push. As it has been the talk of the town, young and old alike were anticipating for celebrity triathlete Piolo Pascual to pass by. And whether you would like it or not, despite the murmurs hounding his preference, he still got the loudest cheers ever. Tessa Prieto-Valdes was in her usual flamboyant outfit. Well, I guess she won’t be a Tessa if she doesn’t dress up like the way she always does.

The 90 – kilometre bike ride seemed like a breeze for the pros and the elites. However, along the route, there were racers who had to go off road due to a broken chain or a flat tire. From the bike course, we moved to the run course to catch up with the lead pack. We were driving at around 60-80 kph! When I got to the race venue, I proceeded to the run course. I had to go on foot as all motor vehicles were not allowed along the run course.

I was running along with some of the triathletes – with a backpack, a mobile phone on my hand. And yeah, I was in my running gear the whole time so I was kind of prepared for it.

While at the run course of the race, I witnessed a lot of really good and positive things. One – Bree Wee who is a female pro triathlete, gave one male participant a really good push when she saw him walking. Caroline Steffen, also a female pro, gave her team mate Filipino Elite Jenny Guerrero a push that she needed. Sometimes, a light pat on the back is all someone would need to keep going. Later that day, I had the opportunity to speak with Jenny, who placed second in the Filipino Elite W Category. She shared that at some point during the run, she felt almost giving up and she her family was her source of strength to make it to the finish line. Ironman World Champion Pete Jacobs, at one time, was pacing with Alaska Team TBB mate David Dellow. They were in a chika-pace. You could see either men grinning.

It was a pretty tough competition for the male pros. Towards the last 2 kilometres of the race, Courtney Atkinson was way ahead, and Pete Jacobs was catching up. Pete could have sprinted the last 2 kilometres or so to make it to the second spot, just a few seconds behind Atkinson.

In the photo (left to right): Ramon Pestaño, Nylah Bautista, Jeff Lo & Coach Ani de Leon-Brown

In the photo (left to right): Ramon Pestaño, Nylah Bautista, Jeff Lo & Coach Ani de Leon-Brown

I had the opportunity to cheer for my triathlete friends like Tess Leono, Ramon Pestaño, Jonah Rivera, Tito Don Causing, and pros like Jacqui Slack and Ben Allen, Belinda Granger and Justin Granger, Elite triathletes like Jenny Guerrero and Dhill Anderson Lee.

Having grown up in Cebu and being a Cebuano himself, Matteo Guidicelli had a huge following as well. People holding flaglets printed with his name were lined up along the run course.

The race was very festive. Students cheerily chanted everytime a racer passes by. Their positivity and their happy disposition radiated that you would feel energised. Indeed, the Cebuanos love the festive ambiance of the 70.3 Cobra Ironman Philippines.

Back at Shangri – La, we took our lunch after a pumped up race. It was only then that I felt tired. While waiting for the press presentations and the awarding, I can’t help it but take a power nap.

Later that afternoon, the awarding was held at the Shangri – La Mactan grounds, recognising the top five men and women in the Pro category, top three in the Filipino Elite, Age Group and Relay categories. Winners deserve the medals and trophies created by world – renowned designer Kenneth Cobonpue.

AMC Media Team

AMC Media Team

That night, we stayed at Be Hotel. Before retiring, I packed my bags just to be ready for the flight back to Manila early morning.Our flight was scheduled an hour later due to a long queue in the check in counter. I took the chance to pick a couple of baggage tags and a souvenir shirt at the Island Souvenir Shop before heading to the boarding area. The four day event was pretty hectic but it was worth all the efforts. The experience was one for the books. Tired but I had fun. I learned new things. I met new people. I rendezvoused with good friends. Can’t ask for more. And I can afford a really big Smile.

Big Thank You to AMC Team!

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