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 TeamTBB Launch


Photo Credit: Alaska Team TBB

With the rising popularity of multisports in the country, Alaska Milk Corporation (AMC) launches its own triathlete team. As the title sponsor of Team Bike Boutique, the team is now called Alaska Team TBB.

I had the opportunity to be invited to the press presentation of Alaska Team TBB on April 18, 2012 at the Grand Ballroom of Dusit Thani Hotel in Makati City. The team is composed of 10 triathletes; four of which are already professional players in various international multisport events.  Joining them are six local young and promising triathletes who were hand picked to become part of the team.

Before the formal program started, I had a little chat with Ali Fitch at the lobby of the Grand Ballroom. I was blessed to be sharing the same table with a fellow blogger The Jazz Runner Sir Rene Villarta. During lunch, he ordered a different set of meal for me since he knows I don’t eat meat. Thank you, Sir!

Things were all so new to me – a lot of ‘firsts’ in the life of a blogger. I was very careful with my actions.  I don’t want to leave a bad impression to among those who are present.  Moreso, to the client.  Just outside the ballroom entrance, Alaska milk products in vanilla and chocolate flavor were made available to all the guests.  By the entrance to the ballroom were the life – size standees of the triathletes.

Here’s your chance to know more about these triathletes. The foreign pros who are joining Alaska Team TBB are Caroline Steffen, David Dellow, Ali Fitch and Mathieu O’Halloran.

Caroline Steffen
Photo Credit: Alaska Team TBB

Caroline Steffen is a 33 year old triathlete professional from Switzerland.  She became pro in 2009, and went on to bag the Second Place in the 2nd 2010 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, and won in the 2012 ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championship.

David Dellow
Photo Credit: Alaska Team TBB

Australian David Dellow was a member of the Australian Elite World Championship Team in 2007 and 2008. He is also an eight–time participant of the World Cup and has been into more than 100 races.

Photo Credit: Alaska Team TBB

Ali Fitch, 39 years old and also an Australian, has been a pro since 2005. Her winnings include 2nd Place in 2007 Ironman Malaysia, and 2008 Ironman Canada, and First Place in 2008 Coeur d’Alene Olympic.  Ali has had several other victories in her name.

Mathieu O’Halloran
Photo Credit: Alaska Team TBB

The fourth international professional triathlete to join the team is Mathieu O’Halloran.  A pro since 2007, he has already participated in over 100 hundred races.  He represented Canada in three Junior World Championships.  He bagged the First Place in the recently concluded Zambales Beach Games Triathlon and Bantayan Beach Games Triathlon in the Philippines.

The six young professionals who were handpicked to form part of the first Alaska triathlete team are Nena Torres, Loren Dale Echavez, Dhill Anderson Lee, Martin Torres, Marc Altura and Banjo Northe.

Nena Torres is a 16-year old triathlete from Cagayan de Oro. At her age, she already won for herself several podium finishes in local swimming and running competitions. She bagged the First Place in 2008 Super Tri–Kids, Second Place in 2009 Super Tri–Kids, First Place in both the 2009 CDO Kids Aquathlon, and in 13 – 15 SUBIT mini – sprint in 2010.

Another female joins the team – the 19-year old Loren Dale Echavez from the Queen City of the South, Cebu City. She has been running with her sister who was once a part of the national triathlete team.  She has already won several medals and recorded personal best in swimming. She finished First Place in the overall out of the water relay in 2011 X – Terra Cebu.

Dhill Anderson Lee is from Manila. This 21-year old has already gained multiple medals at international competitions.  He was the first relay swimmer out of the water in 2010 Cobra Ironman 70.3 in CamSur.

Another protégé joining the team is Martin Torres, 17 years old, is also from Cagayan de Oro. He won 2nd Place in 2009 Super Tri – Kids in Cagayan de Oro; 7th Place in 2010 Junior SUBIT mini – sprint; and First Place in 2010 CDO Tri – Kids Aquathlon.

Marc Altura, 17, from Manila has parents who are Polo Tri Members.  He has had multiple victories in his age group.  He placed 5th in 2011 Junior Elite SUBIT, and 2nd Place overall in 2011 Anvayan Cove Triathlon.

Completing the team is the 19-year old Banjo Northe from Cagayan de Oro.  His victories include 3rd Place Overall in 2010 Val Naga Triathlon; Second Place in 2011 Philippine National Games Junior Division, First Place in 2011 CDO Off Road Duathlon, and First Place Overall in CDO NAGT.

From Left: Loren Dale Echavez, Banjo Northe, Marc Altura, Dhill Anderson Lee, Martin Torres & Nena Torres
Photo Credit: The Jazz Runner

These six promising young triathletes have been training with the four international professional triathletes. As AMC President and CEO Fred Uytengsu mentioned, “Alaska Milk Corporation aims to help them become future triathlete professionals by giving them the support that they need through proper nutrition and training.” With Alaska’s entry to multisports, Mr. Uytengsu hopes that this will give way for the children to develop and embrace a healthy lifestyle.

The launch of Alaska Team TBB coincides with Alaska Milk’s support of the Olympic – distance Century Tuna 5i50, which will be held in Subic Bay on June 24, 2012. AMC through Sunrise Events introduces the Olympic – distance triathlon composed of 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run. This is the first 5i50 triathlon sanctioned by the World Triathlon Corporation (WTC) to be held in Southeast Asia.

The partnership of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) with this event, according to Mr. Roberto Garcia, the administrator of SBMA, said that “sports is a tourism master thrust in Subic.”

“It’s more fun-tastic in SBMA.” Garcia added, referring to SBMA as the official venue of the multisport from 2012 to 2014.

Towards the end of the press presentation, invited media had the opportunity to ask the members of Alaska Team TBB.

Nena Torres, when asked how does she feel to be training with the four professional triathletes, said that “it’s a dream come true, and I look forward to train with the four professionals, and they will be my inspiration until the end.”

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