Pili, Camarines Sur- Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines reels off with a big bang early this morning, August 14, at the CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC) of the Provincial Capitol Complex here as over 1,100 triathletes from 28 countries prove their mettle in various categories of the event conceded to be the biggest triathlon spectacle in the country.
The Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines will be the last qualifying race in Asia leading to the 2011 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada on September 11, 2011 in the wake of the cancellation of Ironman 70.3 China scheduled for May 29.
The power-packed field includes 11 seeded professionals and over a score of Filipino Elite triathletes among 813 registered individual participants and 99 teams in the men, women, mixed, collegiate and relay categories.
Twenty-five slots for the half-triathlon Lake Las Vegas Ironman 70.3 World championships are up for grabs in the various age groups to qualified finishers here, as well as 30 slots in the full triathlon Ironman World Championships in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii on October 8, 2011.
This year’s Cobra Ironman 70.3 will be the last of a three-year franchise of organizer Sunrise Events all to be staged at the CWC in CamSur, but there is high optimism in local multi-sports circles it will be renewed or extended.
Asia-Pacific’s managing director Murphy Reinschreider of World Endurance Sports Group (WESG), formerly the World Triathlon Corp., will be on hand during the event to evaluate how far the Ironman has progressed and what Sunrise Events has in mind for the future as part of the franchise renewal process.
“I’m hoping for recertification for another three years. We realize there are constraints in making the Ironman bigger, like hotel accommodations in CamSur, but on the other hand, the support we are receiving from Gov. LRay Villafuerte is incredible. The WESG will assess the situation after which we’ll sit down to hopefully work out an agreement,” Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Jr. Alaska Milk president and CEO and organizer Sunrise Events president said.
Nevertheless, with the experience gleaned from the outings of the past two years, principal movers Gov. LRay Villafuerte and Fred Uytengsu promise participants and spectators alike that this year Cobra Ironman 70.3 will be a refreshingly different version of the events being held in other parts of the world.
“I want to be hands-on in handling this event . . . Our people will be a big part of the event,” according to Gov. Villafuerte who related that foreign participants have been telling him the Ironman Philippines is very different because of the love that our people give them.
Zero hour on Sunday, August 14, for the participants will start as early as 4:30 a.m. at the transition area for check-in and race numbering. All roads at the CWC will close 6:00 a.m. in preparation for race proper mass starts.
Swimming will take off in four waves starting with the pros and Filipino elite at 6:15 a.m., followed five minutes later by the bulk of participants in their age group packs and then the rest of the members of the relay teams.
Expected to lord it over the race are eleven professionals led by Australian Pete Jacobs who is very keen on capturing a back-to-back championship, 11-time New Zealand champion Cameron Brown, Dan Brown of the Philippines, Hong Kong-based Frenchman Erich Felbabel, Australians Luke Gillmer and Justin Granger, Jesse Thomas of the US.
Female professionals include Hawaiian Bree Wee who was third runner-up in the maiden 2009 Cobra Ironman 70.3, Australian Belinda Granger and Americans Katya Marie Meyers and Amanda Stevens.
At least 20 Filipino Elite triathletes will join as well as local personalities like Fernando Zobel de Ayala, Cong. Nonoy Andaya, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Tessa Prieto-Valdez, Anthony Pangilinan, Mateo Guidicelli, Drew Arellano, Eric Buhain, Rio de la Cruz and local triathletes Franklin Peñalosa and Frederick Eleazar.
From reports of GBClaveria/MMEC.