SAM Betten of Australia successfully defended his title in the on Sunday at Subic Bay Freeport.
The 28-year old Australian crossed the finish line at Remy Field at the SBMA Island with a time of two hours, six minute and 55 seconds, his best ever time in the 1.5 kilometer swim, 40km bike and 10km run after coming off a less than stellar performance in Ironman 70.3 in Vietnam.
“To win two times in a row and defend my title is an amazing feeling (especially if you) have a target on your back,” Betten told reporters after the race.
To counter Subic’s heat and humidity, the Aussie said he maintained a “controlled and consistent” strategy throughout the race used a big lead after coming out of the literally “hot water.” On the bike, the 6-4 Betten tried to “ride solid” by not attempting anything “crazy” while running as hard as he could while keeping his heart rate as low as he could.
Betten’s biggest challenger and countryman, Mitch Robbins,` was beset by two flat tires on the bike and acclimatizing to the heat but was still able to finish second (2:21:07) while completing the podium was Slovak Michal Bucek (2:28:05).
Finishing second overall was Amelia Watkinson of New Zealand who clocked in with an impressive 2:10:59 to better even her male counterparts. A relative newcomer to Philippine shores, the Kiwi said she would return to defend her title next year.
“I do quite well in the heat… I like the heat better than the cold,” noted Watkinson, who said she benefited from her past races in Thailand and disciplined herself to hydrate as much as possible. “I loved the swim… I got my own space straight off the gun and raced consistently from the swim up and picked it up to the way home. I had a fast transition out of the bike and kept the pace quite even.”
The title for fastest Filipino was decided in a down-the-wire finish with Paul Jumamil of Bohol (2:19:08) beating favorite August Benedicto by a slim six-second lead. Third place went to Banjo Norte.
On the local distaff side, Danielle Infanta took the top Pinay elite post with 2:50:50 followed by Amale Jopson. Early favorite Monica Torres had to withdraw due to injury.
Choosing the race over his high school graduation, 18-year old Abdullah Adiyah traveled solo from Bahrain to become the fastest age grouper in his first trip and 5150 race in the Philippines.
“To be honest I came here not thinking I’d win at all. I had exams. My graduation was yesterday. I as only training for two weeks and surprisingly I had a really good swim – I was first out of the water and on the bike I was catching many of the pros and I had some cramping on the run since I didn’t get much run training,” he told SPIN.
The second edition of the annual event drew a field of 926 participants and 34 tri-relay teams. The 2016 race also saw the inaugural Sunrise S2 Sprint distance of 750m swim, 20km bike and 5km run. ###