MORE than 400 triathletes are expected to test their mettle in the 2014 Vaseline Men XTERRA Off-road Triathlon Series happening on March 15 in Liloan, Cebu.
One of the world’s premier off-road triathlon events, the XTERRA Off-road Triathlon Series in the country serves as one of the qualifying events for the World Championship in Maui, Hawaii this October for the elite group of finishers.
Brand manager Jonathan Pua said they are happy how the challenge in the triathlon series has grown over the past two years.
“We’re back in Linoan for the third year, now with an even more difficult route. Kung mahirap ang last year this will be even more difficult. We have close to 400 participants now, making it one of the biggest XTerra triathlon events in the past two-three years,” Pua said during a press conference at the Milky Way Cafe in Makati City on Thursday.
The national championship event highlights two race categories - Lite and Full. The XTERRA Lite involves a 500-meter swim, 15.5-kilometer mountain bike and a 5-kilometer trail run, while the XTERRA Full involves a more grueling 1.5-kilometer swim, 35-kilometer mountain bike ride and a 9.2-kilometer trail run.
Race director Princess Galura said that as of March 4, 376 participants have registered for the off-road race and she is confident the total number will reach up to 420 on race day once Cebu-based racers sign up. At least 200 participants will take on the Full course, 102 in Lite and 14 teams in Relay.
Registration for the triathlon events is ongoing on their official website, www.Xterraphil.com and will remain open until March 8.
Galura said there is a major difference between off-road and road racing, saying triathletes may face the challenges of racing in "sand, gravel or lime - it might be anything."
Revealing the race maps, organizers said this year's race will be more difficult than past versions.
Categories for the off-road triathlon are Pro, Filipino Elite, Age Group (Full and Lite) and Relay (Full and Lite).
Expected to battle it out in the Pros are Australian Ben Allen, three-time winner of XTerra Philippines and up-and-comer tri “poster boy” Dan Hugo of South Africa who is coming back after finishing behind Allen last year.
A close race between Bajo Royte and Joseph Miller in the Filipino Elite is also expected.
The distaff side in the Pros features a strong field with contenders Swiss Renata Bucher, Mieko Carey of Guam and the British tandem of Jacqui Slack and Daz Parker.
Sunrise Events and Alaska Aces owner Fred Uytengsu will be competing in his age group. Actor Matteo Guidicelli is also expected to defend the title he won in his age group in 2013 while his father Jan Luca has already signed up.
Cash prizes totaling US$50,000 are to be given to winners in the Pro Division while a total of Php120,000 would be contested for podium finishers in the Filipino Elite.
The Vaseline Men XTERRA Off-road Triathlon Series is also sponsored by ABS-CBN, Air Asia, Aqua Sphere, Coca-Cola FEMSA Philippines, David’s Salon, Devant, Department of Tourism Philippines, Intercare, LBC Solutions, Prudential Guarantee, R.O.X, Salomon, Shotz, Smart, Timex, Titay’s, and the Municipality of Liloan.