CEBU — Caroline Steffen asserted her supremacy, winning her fifth straight women’s title, while Tim Reed successfully defended his crown on Sunday in the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships.
The 38-year-old Swiss star Steffen finished in four hours, 16 minutes and 19 seconds before a cheering crowd at the Shangri-La Mactan Hotel and Spa.
Czech challenger Radka Vodickova finished 10 seconds later and Australia’s Sarah Crowley came in third in the 1.9-kilometer swim, 90km bike and 21km run race.
“I’m pretty stoked. It’s pretty unique to win five times in a row, to do it in the Philippines… it’s amazing!” said Steffen.
Vodickova was first out of the water and the bike but saw her lead of a minute and 30 seconds evaporate as Steffen made her move in the run.
As his strategy from previous pro elite races in the Philippines, “Timbo” Reed relied on a solid run to create a four-minute gap against fellow Australian and three-time Ironman World Champion Craig “Crowie” Alexander, making it two wins in a row for the former basketball and rugby player in 3:51:46.
Sam Betten came in at third, making it a podium sweep for the Aussies in the race from the picturesque island of Mactan and passed through the cities of Lapu Lapu, Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay.
“I think Crowie is a better runner in the heat so I put pressure on him on the bike, a few times I nearly got away and we didn’t quite get there ... When we got to the run as soon as I got there I couldn’t control myself and ended up running quite fast,” said Reed.
August Benedicto captured his fourth Ironman 70.3 Male Filipino Elite title, besting John Philip Duenas and John Leerams Chicano.
Monica Torres staged a triumphant return to the event, beating Maria Hodges and Ana de Leon-Brown.
Close to 3,000 participants in the elite and age group categories in the first ever staging of the Asia-Pacific regionals outside Australia and New Zealand.