CEBU CITY -- There will be plenty of thrill and drama when the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines and the Alaska Milk IronKids Triathlon take place in this southern city on Sunday.
Defending two-time champion Pete Jacobs of Australia will be eyeing a “Three-Pete” in the race that has lured a huge field of 1,340 individuals and 125 relay teams from 31 countries.
An interesting sidelight will see Briton Jenson Button of McLaren, the 2009 Formula One world champion, running the race with his girlfriend, Japanese fashion and lingerie model Jessica Michibata.
Other than Jacobs, the male professionals in the field include Fredrik Croneborg from Sweden, Justin Granger from Australia, Jesse Thomas from the United States and Alaska Team TBB’s very own Mathieu O’Halloran, originally from Canada but now a resident in the Philippines.
Defending women's champion Belinda Granger is fresh from her triumph at the Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon in Subic. She hopes to win a second consecutive title against familiar face American Bree Wee, who finished third place in last year’s race.
The Filipino elite category promises be a three-way race among Arland Macasieb, Noy Jopson and Neil Catiil.
On the other hand, an emerging rivalry among Polo Tri, Fitness First, Yellow Cab and Century Tri Hard will determine, at least for now, the best triathlon team in the country.
Alaska Milk IronKids Triathlon, meanwhile, will have the kids taking to the open sea for the first time ever. The local junior version of the international triathlon series Ironman, is open to kids age 6 to 14 years old and aims to promote an active lifestyle among kids.
After swimming in a shallow man-made lake the past three years, participants face a 1.2-mile swim in the sea starting at the beach of the Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa in Mactan Island.
The 56-mile bike ride will traverse four cities (Lapu Lapu, Mandaue, Cebu City and Talisay). The culminating 13.1-mile run will be at Punta Engano, Lapu Lapu City.