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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The Cebu Trip and the Cobra IronMan 70.3 Philippines Experience Part 1


Day 1.

At the Crimson Resort & Spa

At the Crimson Resort & Spa

From the airport, we stopped by the Starbucks along Airport Rd. for breakfast. By mid – morning, we proceeded to Laguna Garden Café for the local media briefing. While the staff was preparing the venue, we took the 11am buffet lunch. The afternoon’s itinerary was not so full yet, a bit relaxed. We proceeded to the Media Center at Shangri – La Mactan. At the race venue, I checked the already busy Expo Center. Triathletes had their bikes done, some were taking their free time to shop for IronMan and sports stuff.  We had a nice dinner, and feeling the need to rest, we proceed to Crimson Resort and Spa for the evening’s accommodation.

Getting off the van, the staff of the resort helped us in unloading our bags, and loading them onto a waiting golf cart that took us to our villa. At long last, I could take off my shoes and get into my boxers. I freshened up, brushed my teeth, put on a singlet and slid into the cozy bed for a goodnight’s sleep.

Day 2.

I woke up around 5 in the morning as planned. I put on my running clothes and did a 30 – minute easy run around the cemented path walks around the resort, plus a few uphill sprint repeats. I felt the need to workout because it’s been more than two days since my last workout, and the food the day before felt like filled me so much. I need to burn some calories. At half past five in the morning, the sun was just about to rise, the sky in gray and orange hues, the breeze was a little humid. I wasn’t surprised to run into at least three people who were jogging around the place. The resort looked like it was made for health – conscious individuals.

Photos (from left): 1. Crimson Resort Luggage Tag; 2. Breakfast at Saffron Café; 3. Crimson Resort Souvenir Shop

Photos (from left): 1. Crimson Resort Luggage Tag; 2. Breakfast at Saffron Café; 3. Crimson Resort Souvenir Shop

That 3o – minute workout was good enough to jumpstart my day. After taking a bath, we had our breakfast at Saffron Café, where a sumptuous breakfast buffet was being served. I had a bowl of cereal, two glasses of milk, egg omelet, stir fried veggies, fish fillet and mixed fruits.


Meet the Pros Press Conference


I spent the most part of the day at the race venue, Shangri – La Mactan. If I don’t hang around the Media Center, I was just at the Expo Center. The Expo Center was always busy. It was teeming with more triathletes, media people and non – participants by the hour. The day’s schedule included attending a press conference for the Alaska IronKids, and Meet the Pros press launch.

It was only Friday and the race wasn’t starting until Sunday, but the hype was all over the place, especially at the Meet the Pros press conference. First, Jemma Rix, an Australian singer, a stage actress, and the better half of professional triathlete Josh Rix, was the opening act with her outstanding performance of Titanium. The hype crept up when apl.de.ap of The Black Eyed Peas performed the hit singles Bebot and Where is the Love. Everyone was singing along. The crowd was amazing! Cameras kept flashing. Practically, everyone had their camera phones taking photos and videos. It was wild!

Whilst at the Expo Centre, I bumped into the pretty Noelle de Guzman, aka Kikay Runner, my friends Honey and Rey, Doc Minnie Tomas, Miko and Doc Toto, and the Riveras – Jonah, Jane and Isabelle. I had the opportunity to have my photo taken with professional triathletes like Belinda Granger, Jacqui Slack and Ben Allen, Chris “Macca” McCormack, Pete Jacobs, and Caroline Steffen. I was on a #fanmode. I can’t let the rare chance pass me by. And I’m quite certain that you all will agree with me on that.

We capped the night with a dinner at Krua Thai restaurant. We then boarded the van to take us to Crimson Resort.

Steffen, Atkinson Dominate the 2013 Cobra Energy Drink IronMan 70.3 Philippines


2013 Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines WPro and MPro Champions Caroline Steffen and Courtney Atkinson

2013 Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines WPro and MPro Champions Caroline Steffen and Courtney Atkinson

It’s a run away win for both the Alaska Team TBB’s Caroline Steffen and the Australian Courtney Atkinson who took the 2013 Cobra Energy Drink IronMan 70.3 Philippines WPro and MPro Division top spots by storm. 

Caroline Steffen clocked in at 04:16:12, crossing the finish line with an 11 minute lead against the second placer Bree Wee, while Courtney Atkinson finished off the race in 03:58:07, with just a little over a minute lead from the 2012 Champion Pete Jacobs.

The swim start was literally bumpy due to heavy rains and winds the entire night prior to the race. The inclement weather that Sunday morning of August 4 did not deter the strong – willed champs, Filipino elites, age groupers and celebrity triathletes from taking on the challenge of the much awaited IronMan 70.3 Philippines. Coming to the race venue, a lot of them had to be on foot because of the traffic build up leading to Shangri – La Mactan. 

In the Photo (from left): WTC CEO Andrew Messick,2nd Place Bree Wee, 5th Place Monica Torres, Champ Caroline Steffen, 4th Place Jacqui Slack, 3rd Place Belinda Granger; Lapu Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, SEI CEO Fred Uytengsu & Cobra Energy Drink Brand Mgr. Jeff Mendoza

In the Photo (from left): WTC CEO Andrew Messick,2nd Place Bree Wee, 5th Place Monica Torres, Champ Caroline Steffen, 4th Place Jacqui Slack, 3rd Place Belinda Granger; Lapu Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, SEI CEO Fred Uytengsu & Cobra Energy Drink Brand Mgr. Jeff Mendoza

Coming off from the swim course, the windy bike ride may have been a challenge for the racing champs because of wind resistance, but Atkinson made his first U – turn at the 29th kilometre way ahead of the other pros. The second pack of racers included Pete Jacobs, Chris McCormack, Brent McMahon, David Dellow, Josh Rix, Anthony Devos, Ben Allen, and Frederik Croneberg. The powerful quads of Steffen were all she needed to make the great lead on from her contemporaries. She was in the third pack of racers, who were all males. She was indeed living up to her monicker, Xena. Racing up on the second spot was Bree Wee, followed by Belinda Granger, Jacqui Slack and Philippines’ Monica Torres, who was competing in her first ever 70.3 as a Pro. The 90-kilometre bike ride transitioned to the 21 kilometre run course along the Punta Engaño Road. 

In the Photo (from left): WTC CEO Andrew Messick, 2nd Place Pete Jacobs, 5th Place Brent McMahon, Champ Courtney Atkinson, 4th Place Chris McCormack, 3rd Place David Dellow; Lapu Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, SEI CEO Fred Uytengsu & Cobra Energy Drink Brand Mgr. Jeff Mendoza

In the Photo (from left): WTC CEO Andrew Messick, 2nd Place Pete Jacobs, 5th Place Brent McMahon, Champ Courtney Atkinson, 4th Place Chris McCormack, 3rd Place David Dellow; Lapu Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, SEI CEO Fred Uytengsu & Cobra Energy Drink Brand Mgr. Jeff Mendoza

All participants had to make a couple of loops to complete the run course. Courtney Atkinson consistently held his position in the top spot after completing his second U – turn, up to the finish line. Catching up for the second place was Pete Jacobs, Alaska Team TBB’s David Dellow ended up on the third spot, followed by Chris McCormack and Brent McMahon for the fourth and fifth places, respectively. Caroline Steffen remained strong maintaining her lead among the WPros, and even gave Jenny Rose Guerrero, Alaska Team TBB’s Filipino WElite, a little push at some point along the run course. Bree Wee locked in on her second spot. And even while on the race, she gave one participant who was already walking some boost by telling him to keep going. Belinda Granger was also holding on to the third spot, with Jacqui Slack and Monica Torres taking the fourth and fifth spots, respectively. Each of them maintaining a significant lead from the other.


Filipino Elites

Filipino WElite 2nd Place Jenny Guerrero and Filipino MElite Champion Banjo Norte (rightmost), with Alaska Team TBB Manager Alex Bok (middle)

Filipino WElite 2nd Place Jenny Guerrero and Filipino MElite Champion Banjo Norte (rightmost), with Alaska Team TBB Manager Alex Bok (middle)

Despite being relatively new in the Filipino Elite Men’s category, Banjo Norte of Alaska Team TBB clocked in at 04:26:44, beating the more seasoned Filipino triathletes – 2012 Champion August Benedicto, and John Phillip Duenas, with a finish time of 04:32:38 and 04:33:18, respectively. 

Among the Filipino Women Elite, Allesandra Araullo – Gonzalez emerged as the top finisher with a time of 05:05:33. Taking the second place was Jenny Rose Guerrero, crossing the finish line in 05:20:02. Ani de Leon – Brown filled the third spot with a finish time of 05:22:43. 


Alasaka Team TBB

Alaska Team TBB, which was formed in 2012, was well represented in both the Pro and Filipino Elite categories. The Pros category was participated in by Caroline Steffen, David Dellow and resident coach Matt O’Halloran while the Filipino Elite was joined in by Jenny Guerrero, Dhill Anderson Lee and Banjo Norte.

Coach Matt is proud of the protegés for standing out among their contemporaries. Though not winning any spot in the Filipino Elite category, Dhill Anderson Lee won the Swim Time bonus, and he is set to work more on his runs. Jenny shared that she was already on the verge of giving up and would already wanted to walk during the last leg of the race. Teary – eyed, she shared, “My family was my motivation to keep going.” And her perseverance really paid off.

Banjo Norte, on his first IronMan podium finish, was “really grateful for all the children who lined up along the streets cheering for the triathletes.”

Alaska Team TBB (from left): Professional Triathlete and Coach Matt O'Halloran, David Dellow, Caroline Steffen, Filipino Elites Banjo Norte, Dhill Anderson Lee & Jenny Guerrero

Alaska Team TBB (from left): Professional Triathlete and Coach Matt O’Halloran, David Dellow, Caroline Steffen, Filipino Elites Banjo Norte, Dhill Anderson Lee & Jenny Guerrero

World-famous and the Philippines’ pride apl.de.ap of The Black Eyed Peas participated in this year’s Ironman 70.3 Philippines, who competed with his relay team. Though considered as legally blind (in US standards), he went out to show that physical challenges can’t stop a person from achieving his dreams. Other celebrities who participated in the event were Piolo Pascual, Matteo Guidicelli, Isabelle Daza, Erwan Heusaff, and Drew Arellano. Tessa Prieto-Valdes, who competed in the relay category last year, was back in the game in the individual age group category.

The awarding ceremonies followed at the Shangri-La Mactan grounds, where Top Finishers in the Pro, Filipino Elite, CEO, Age Group and Relay categories were recognized. World – renowned furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue designed this years Winners’ Trophies and Finisher’s Medal. The even wrapped up with an after-event party held at Mövenpick Hotel.

Here are the Top Winners:

Top Winners

MPro

WPro

1st Place Courtney Atkinson 03:58:07 Caroline Steffen 04:16:12
2nd Place Pete Jacobs 03:59:09 Bree Wee 04:27:49
3rd Place David Dellow 04:02:22 Belinda Granger 04:33:50
4th Place Chris McCormack 04:03:15 Jacqui Slack 04:39:31
5th Place Brent McMahon 04:04:05 Monica Torres 04:52:08

Filipino MElite

Filipino WElite

1st Place Banjo Norte 04:26:44 Allesandra Araullo-Gonzalez 05:05:33
2nd Place August Benedicto 04:32:38 Jenny Guerrero 05:20:02
3rd Place John Phillip Duenas 04:33:18 Ani Karina Brown 05:22:43

For a complete list of winners in the Individual and Relay categories, please visit the following links:
Cobra Energy Drink 70.3 IronMan Philippines Individual Official Results
Cobra Energy Drink 70.3 IronMan Philippines Relay Official Results

Cobra Energy Drink IronMan 70.3 Philippines 2013 was participated in by 2,150 triathletes from 35 countries. Ironman 70.3 is a triathlon event with a total distance of 70.3 miles (113km) covering 1.2 mile (1.9km) swim, 56 mile (90km) bike ride and 13.1 mile (21km) run. It was a race with a feel of a festival. An event that the Cebuanos and the global triathlon community is looking forward to.

For more race details, please log on to: http://www.ironman703phil.com/

Follow Alaska Sports Hub on Twitter: @AlaskaSportshub

Steffen, Jacobs to Defend Championship Title in 2013 Cobra Energy Drink IronMan 70.3 Philippines


Cobra Energy Drink IronMan 70.3 Philippines on August 4, 2013 @ Shangri-La Mactan

Cobra Energy Drink IronMan 70.3 Philippines on August 4, 2013 @ Shangri-La Mactan

Three-time 70.3 IronMan Philippines Champion Pete Jacobs and 2012 Women Pro Champion Caroline Steffen return to Cebu to defend their respective title in this year’s edition of Cobra Energy Drink IronMan 70.3 Philippines. 

Set in the historic Cebu, approximately 2,150 triathletes from 35 countries across all six continents are expected to swim, bike and run in the the biggest and most exciting multi-sports event of the year. The event is happening on August 4, 2013 at Shangri – La Mactan. The IronMan 70.3 Philippines is a three leg event starting with a 1.2 mile (1.9km)open water swim, 56 mile (90km) bike ride across four cities in Cebu – Lapu Lapu, Mandaue, Cebu City and Talisay, and 13.1 mile (21km) run along the coast of Punta Engano, Lapu Lapu City. 

On top of the Pro, Elite and Age Group categories, a new category has been added – the CEO Category, which caters to CEOs and managing directors of top corporations from six countries. 

The biggest names in the world of triathlon are definitely coming to the Philippines. 

Fresh from her back to back championship titles, Belinda Granger is sure to be one of the tough contenders of Alaska Team TBB’s Caroline Steffan. Bree Wee of the United States, who placed second in 2012,  and Xterra World Champion UK’s Jacqui Slack will be back to race for the top spot. Christie Sym of Alaska Team TBB and the first and only Philippine Pro Monica Torres will make the tough race even tougher.

Among the Men Pros, Triathlon Word Champions Three-Pete Jacobs, Chris “Macca” McCormack, Xterra World Champion Ben Allen, Cameron Brown and Alaska Team TBB’s Matt O’Halloran, who placed second and third in 2012, respectively, Fredrik Cronberg of Sweden, and the Irish Michael Murphy, are to watch out for. 

Dhill Anderson Lee and Banjo Norte, and Jenny Rose Guerrero of Alaska Team Team, Arland Macasieb, August Benedicto, and Noy Jopson are some of the Filipino Elites competing in the Elite Category.

Local celebrities Isabelle Daza, Piolo Pascual, Erwan Heusaff, Solenn Heusaff, Drew Arellano and Matteo Guidicelli, and sports bloggers Noelle de Guzman and Jefferson Lo will be competing in their respective age group categories. Teams of three will also be competing in Men, Women and Mixed Relay categories.

Adding to the luster of this year’s IronMan are the Winners’ Trophies and Finisher’s Medals, which were designed by the world-renown designer Kenneth Cobonpue. 

Catch the action live as it happens on August 4.
Follow us on Twitter: @AlaskaSportshub for the real time updates of the race. 

For more race details, please log on to: http://www.ironman703phil.com/.
For more information on Alaska Sports program, please log on to: http://www.alaskamilk.com.ph/.
To know more about the Alaska Team TBB, please log on to: http://www.teamtbb.com.ph/.

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