SUBIC – Five-time world champion Craig 'Crowie' Alexander and reigning Asia-Pacific titlist Tim Reed of Australia lead the largest cast of pros ever signed up for action on Philippine soil, raring to stamp their class in the inaugural Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay Triathlon which unwraps on Sunday.
Alexander, who won the Ironman world title thrice and the Ironman 70.3 diadem twice, and Reed, fresh from his Ironman 70.3 AsPac conquest, seek to live up to expectations against a star-studded cast of triathletes answering the starting gun in the 1.9K swim-90km bike-21K run race.
Aussie Luke McKenzie, who is somehow familiar with the conditions of Subic having reigned in the Century Tuna 5150 Triathlon a couple of years back, looks to maintain his winning tradition in this former US naval base, joining equally determined bets Josh Amberger, Dan Brown, Christoph Schlagbauer, Christoph Knossalla, Tim Green, Matthias Knossala, Ceric Lassonde in the record roster of contenders in the event sponsored by Century Tuna and organized by Sunrise Events, Inc.
Swiss Caroline Steffen, three-peat champion in previous Ironman 70.3 races in the country, banners the aspirants for the women’s tiara, which is expected to be as exciting and tough with Belinda Granger, Emma Bilham, Katy Duffield, Emi Sakai, Parys Edwards, Ali Fitch, Carol Fuchs, Dimity Lee-Duke, Beth Gerdes as challengers.
Sunrise chief Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Century Canning Corp. GM Greg Banzon, and SBMA chairman Roberto Garcia unveiled the colorful jeepney-shaped medals and trophies during the meet and greet with the pros on Saturday.
Alexander and some of the top pros were also on hand to witness the action in yesterday’s Alaska IronKids Triathlon I and assist Uytengsu in feting the winners, led by Brent Valelo of Team Yellow Cab and Nicole Danielle Eijansantos, who dominated the 13-14 age brackets.
The 14-year-old Valelo negotiated the 300m swim, 9K bike, 2K race that started at WOW Swimming Pool and ended at Remy Field in 30 minutes and 21 seconds to beat Sabino Mangalicmot (31:43) and John Caleb Barlin (31:59) in his last IronKids triathlon stint while Asian championships veteran Eijansantos logged 34:52 in the girls’ side, outclassing Christine Levi Gaspar (35:49) and Una Janius Sibayan (36:52).
Joining them in the honor roll were Juan Francisco Baniqued (33:56) in boys’ 11-12; Tara Borlain (34:08), who beat big sister Samantha (34:38) in girls’ 11-12; Mark Grist (17:17:16) in boys’ 9-10; Dayshaun Ramos (19:45) in boys’ 6-8; and Justicia Mariearl Tan (21:33) in girls’ 6-8.