A YEAR after ruling the race, Mervin Santiago returned stronger and better prepared to once again dominate the 7th Anvaya Cove Invitational Triathlon held on Sunday at the scenic and technical course of Anvaya Cove Beach & Nature Club in Morong, Bataan.
The 22-year old Santiago overcame steep climbs in the bike leg to pull away from his rivals in the Male Elite Olympic Distance race (1.5 Km swim-40 Km bike-10 Km run) with a time of two hours, 43 minutes and 23 seconds.
He fnished more than three minutes over Raymund Velasco (2:46:34). Finishing third was veteran Abe Tayag (2:54;52).
"This race is tougher because it's longer but the course especially in the bike remained the same and my familiarity with it helped me," said Santiago, now a fitness and triathlon coach of Sante Barley.
Emerging as champion on the distaff side in the event sponsored by Globe, Ayala Land Premiere, Folded & Hung,PACSPORTS-CLUB CAR, Veda Spa, Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), Asian Centre for Insulation Philippines (ACIP), Standard Insurance and Gatorade was 43-year-old Lyka Leather as she had banked on her running prowess to complete a come-from-behind win over Nylah Bautista.
After a grueling bike race that saw her behind by just 30 seconds to Bautista coming out of Transition 2, Leather pulled away for good to finish in 3:46:59.
Bautista came in almost 13 minutes (4:00:28) while Ana Maria Karina Mendoza took third with 4:36:23 time.
Other age group winners in the male division were Genesis Nergara (18-24), Timothy Mallario (25-29), Jethro Ramos (30-34), Mark Adrian Hernandez (35-39), Junrox Roque (40-44), RJ Lorenzo (45-49), Juan Ramon Felix (50-54), Catalino Mandi Jr. (55-59) and Brigilio Balaba (60-over).
Female winners were Irish Ivy Domingo (18-24) and Ma. Theresa Andres (25-34).
Youth Olympic Games campaigner Vicky Deldio and her siblings Nica and Anne took titles in the female Sprint and Mini-Sprint (13-to-15 and 16-above) categories.
Nicoli Roxas (1:38:48) emerged men’s champion in the Sprint Distance race while Brent Velalo (39:48) and Leonard De Ocampo (59:44) topped the male mini-sprint.
Tri Delta/999 Seth made up of Aries Louie and Ron Pineda (1:28:09) took top honors in the Team Relay while Team Pangilinan composed of Hannah Kathleen, Anthony and Donny Pangilinan ruled the Family Relay.
In the SuperTriKids division, Anton Vince Castillo and Calista Felise Silamor dominated the 8-under boys and girls aquathlon while Samuel Compton and Isabella Pascual (boys and girls 9-10) and Juan Francisco Baniqued and Samantha Borlain (boys and girls 11-12) claimed the triathlon titles.