CEBU will host the largest ever triathlon in the Philippines as almost 3,000 participants are set to take part in the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship on August 7.
In a press event held at the Shangri La The Fort on Thursday, Sunrise Events Inc. CEO Wilfred Uytengsu said this is also the first time the event will be held in Asia, and outside of Australia and New Zealand, in its 20-year history.
Uytensgu recalls their inaugural race held in 2009 drew 580 triathletes in Camarines Sur.
“From the ‘Woodstock’ event in CamSur, never in my wildest imagination did I think we would be here eight years later having the privilege of hosting this event in the Philippines … We are truly privileged but also pressured because now is the chance for the Philippines to shine and to show what we can do.”
The Cebu series has become so popular that slots ran out in 28 minutes after online registration was officially opened last October.
Considered an international event with triathletes from 43 countries, the Cebu Ironman CAST will be bannered by returning champions Tim Reed and Caroline Steffen who lead a world-class field of 35 professional triathletes that will also feature 2,869 equally determined competitors in the Filipino elite, CEOs, age groups and relay divisions.
The swim-bike-run race will offer US$75,000, the biggest prize money ever put up in the country and the highest points earned.
“On its fifth year in Cebu, the province will be ready to welcome all the participants and their families with the traditional Cebuano warmth and festivities.” said Cebu provincial administrator Mark Tolentino.
Also at stake for the top finishers are 50 slots to the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Among the celebrites expected to see action in Cebu are Piolo Pascual, Matteo Guidicelli, Paul Jake Castillo, Dingdong Dantes, Gretchen Fullido, Kim Atienza, Apl de Ap, Dyan Castillejo, Ivan Carapiet, Bubbles Paraiso, Xander Angeles, Anthony and Maricel-Laxa Pangilinan, Sara Black, Gilbert Remulla and Uytengsu himself.
Internationally-renowned Filipino industrial designer Kenneth Cobonpue will once again be crafting the medals and trophies for the winners.
To make the sport more spectator-friendly, the event will be aired for the first time via live streaming in 120 countries to over two million viewers on www.ironman.com courtesy of Globe Telecoms.
“Triathlon: it’s more fun in the Philippines. And we will show them in 30 days why they’re here,” Uytengsu said.
The event presented by Ford, Globe Telecom, Philippine Airlines, Summit Water, 2Go Express (official courier and logistics partner), Asics, Gatorade, Prudential Guarantee, Oakley and Timex and Mactan Resort and Spa, in support of the Department of Tourism, Tourism Promotions Board, Cebu Province, Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu City, Mandaue City, and Talisay City. Other sponsors include, Alaska, David’s Salon, Intercare, Gu Gel, Kenneth Cobonpue, Megaworld Mactan Newtown, Sun Life Financial, and TYR.