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

See you all in 2016!

5i50 Philippines 2012 Held in Subic

I left the office a little past 12 midnight on July 23, 2012 to pack my things up for the trip to Subic. I packed my overnight bag with the things I need for the two day event. The event: Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon.

I arrived in Trinoma a little early. While waiting, and having gone from a night shift, I thought some espresso would get me pumped up a bit so I ordered for a grande hot white chocolate mocha breve at Starbucks. About half an hour later, a white van drove by. We got in and headed towards NLEX, stopping by the gas station where we had breakfast at Pancake House.

The van took us through the long stretch of NLEX, exiting to the provincial road bound for Pampanga. The espresso I had didn’t really help. I slept for the most part of the trip. Arriving at SBMA, we checked in at Subic International Hotel.  The lunch at MeatPlus was heavy! We then proceeded to Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC) where a press con for the professional triathletes and race briefing was to be held, where I came across Mish Miravilla.

Matt O’Halloran on his training and his thoughts about the race, said “I pretty much train all around the same 2 kms in laguna. Where I live, there’s a compound with a 2.6km loop  where I did all my riding indoors. So it was a lot of intensity and a lot of training on my own and I’m looking forward to more ride outdoors. Ha ha ha!

I lived in subic on and off for four years. So I know this course like the back of my hand, honestly.

My thoughts about the course is like a video game. It’s like a point to point race. It’s always changing. There’s no laps. You’re just always going up, down, left, right, flat hills. It’s technical. It’s hard. It’s fast. So I think it’s great.”

What can he advice to aspiring triathletes? “Be a student of the sport.”

At the media center, triathletes like Erwan Heussafe, LC Langit, Coach Ige Lopez, Monica Torres and Kuya Kim Atienza gamely posed for photo ops. I was assigned a rider who will take me to the various areas of the race course. Around 5pm, we checked some parts of the race course, the start line at Hanjin Port and the Transition Point.

Our dinner at Golden Dragon Restaurant was great. But I had to excuse myself quite immediate to meet the Running Princess of Subic, Jess and her cousins at Friday’s Harbor Point, who at that time, were also having dinner. As usual, the food was a feast! The dinner was almost over, but from what I gathered, they stayed back and had to order another set of food. The reason: Arland Macasieb just arrived at Friday’s! We waited until Arland Mac was done with his dinner, so Jess can have her photo taken with him. It was pretty late when we left Harbor Point. I proceeded to my hotel suite to get a few hours of sleep. Our call time the following morning was 4.

After breakfast, along with other media people, I boarded the van going to the Transition Point from swim to bike. The rider guy took me to Hanjin Port.  I also chanced upon on my running friends Gaston Fernando Zubiri, who was making his triathlon debut. As soon as all the participants were ready, the gate was opened towards the dock, where racers will take the 1.5k swim leg of the course. After the gun start, I proceeded to the finish line at All Hands Beach Resort where racers will transition for the bike leg.

It was a close competition for pros – Csaba Kuttor, who was first out of the water, and David Dellow who came out next. Dhill Anderson Lee, who was competing in the age group category came out third. Both Dellow and Lee are from Alaska Team TBB. Among the women pros, Belinda Granger was the first out of water.

Riding the motorcycle, I asked the rider to take me to the bike course. The course was reminiscent of the Subic International Marathon route that I participated in early this year. The 40k bike leg included a Timex Challenge at the Subic International Airport.  The whole of the runways were all for the racers. It’s where some triathletes had challenges as their bike’s chain snapped off. I saw one of them  towing his bike out of the race course. At this time, Kuttor was still on the lead. The bike course took the participants to SBECC where they transition for the run leg.

The 10k run course took the participants through a long stretch of flats towards the direction of Subic Homes (it’s where we stayed during Subic Int’l. Marathon). During the run leg, Kuttor who was on the lead for the most part of the race, was overtaken by David Dellow before the Subic Golf Course U – turn point. At half past 8 in the morning, the temperature has already crept up. The  participants were trickling one after another as they take on the 10k course. Belinda Granger was way ahead of her contenders. Dellow and Granger emerged as Top Winners in the men and women pros category, respectively. (Click here for the list of winners).

Back in the activity area, I met with Jess who was taking photos. I also met Alex of Philippine Skyrunning Association, who was giving support to her team mates in the Team Unilab Triathlon Team, which included Meyo and Drew Arellano.

I was having a late lunch with Jess at a café in SBECC when I got an SMS that the awarding has already started. Belinda Granger and David Dellow, who were declared as winners, led the milk shower. I have not anticipated it. I got covered by milk, and even Jess’ camera got a taste of milk! Ben Allen who was sitting behind me, was smiling when he said I got milk all over me.

The event wrapped up as soon all the awards were given – from the pros to age category winners.

For Alaska Team TBB profiles, please click HERE. Get to know more about the pros HERE.


**5i50 is an Olympic – distance Triathlon event. It is composed of 1.5k swim, 40k bike ride and 10k run.

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