SUBIC – Mitch Robins ended fellow Australian Sam Betten’s 5150 reign with a fiery windup while Guam’s Manami Iijima upended Dimity Lee Duke with a solid start as they crowned themselves the inaugural Black Arrow Express 5150 pro champions on Sunday.
Robins fought Betten practically on even terms in the swim and bike stages then unleashed a strong finishing kick in the last of the two-loop run to foil the three-peat champion’s bid and nail his second Philippine championship in the 1.5k swim, 40K-bike and 10K run race.
“In any day, a win is a good day. Sam (Betten) is such a tough competitor, he’s beaten me so many times. But today, I simply managed the heat a little bit better and that just gave me an advantage in the end,” said Robins, who won in 2013 as a first-time Philippine visitor before settling for runner-up honors in the last two Subic 5150 races behind Betten.
Robins timed 1:54:56, while Betten clocked 1:55:58.
Finishing behind Betten by a mere second in the opening swim leg, Robins battled his veteran rival pedal-for-pedal in scorching heat as they turned in identical clocking in the bike stage, setting up a thrilling duel in the deciding run part which Robins ruled in 36:08 minutes behind a blistering run in the last four kilometers.
“It’s not what I hoped for but it’s a really tough race. I pushed really hard and was very happy but the result was not what I wanted in the end,” said Betten, who lost steam in sweltering condition in the stretch. He wound up with 1:56:03 with leg times of 18:31 (swim), 57:10 (bike) and 37:10 (run) in the first of three Olympic distance triathlon races sponsored by Black Arrow Express and organized and produced by Sunrise Events, Inc.
“If you look at our growth the last 10 years, it’s spectacular, so I expect to continue to grow. We’ll have more races next year and we have so many people coming into the sport. The future is really bright for triathlon,” said SEI founder and president Wilfred Uytengsu, who also vied in the event along with Black Arrow Express president/CEO Allan Brizuela.
Meanwhile, Iijima posted a remarkable 20:29 clocking in the swim for a huge three-minute cushion over Duke. Iijima held on for the win despite slowing down in the bike (1:07:30) and run (42:10) stages. She took the gold in 2:13:56.
“I think I did really good despite some hiccups in my training and in the race. I’m very happy and thankful for such an amazing event. So happy to wrap up my season here,” said Iijima.
Duke failed to match Iijima’s hot start, clocking 23:32 in the swim and finished with a 2:14:58 that included 1:05:32 in the bike and 41:52 in the closing run leg.
Hong Kong’s Leanne Szeto placed third in 2:24:49.
Czech Jakub Langhammer clocked 2:00:29 for third in the men’s pro side while Tim Linn of the US and Aussie Dan Brown timed 2:08:07 and 3:43:03, respectively.
National team mainstay John Leerams Chicano turned in an impressive performance of 1:59:28 to rule the Asian Elite side while placing third overall while Alexandra Ganzon took the Asian Elite women’s diadem with 2:27:55 clocking.
Other category winners were Andrew Remolino (M15-19) (1:02:39), Neil Aynera (M20-24) (1:03:02), Dennis Borbolla (M25-29) (1:18:34), Benjie Zapanta (M30-34) (1:08:52), Mark Que (M35-39) (1:19:49), Antonio Lavadia (M40-44) (1:19:15), Rowelly Piodo (M45-49) (1:23:39), Gracito Racca (M50-54) (1:28:23), Albert Bartilad (M55-59) (1:27:26) and Jerry Reyes (M65-69) (2:28:30); Bea Quiambao (F15-19) (1:23:15), Alyzza Santiago (F20-24) (1:32:13), Judith Bellosillo (F30-34) (1:34:20), Lourdes Ramos (F35-39) (1:27:10), Minnie Tomas (F40-44) (1:33:54) and Julie Ching (F50-54) (1:56:51).