SOME of the best world’s triathletes battle for honors in the Regent Aguila Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships on Sunday at Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City, with Australia’s Tim Reed gunning for his third regional crown and compatriot Melissa Hauschildth seeking back-to-back titles.
Reed, the 70.3 Asia Pacific champion in 2015 and 2016, goes for No. 3 against a powerhouse cast of men's pros headed by reigning Ironman AspPac king Braden Currie of New Zealand, three-time full distance IM winner Tim Van Berkel, recent Davao Ironman 70.3 champ Mauricio Mendez of Mexico, 2017 IM AsPac boss Josh Amberger of Australia, and five-time world titlist Craig Alexander, also of Australia.
"My training hasn't been quite what I have wanted but I'll come out there to fight for whatever finish, you know. If it's 10th place, third or first, I'm just happy to race and really looking forward to compete against a world-class field,” said Reed.
A total of 19 elite triathletes dispute the men’s crown in the $75,000 event put up by Aguila Energy Drink and Regent Food Corp.
"You always have your work cut out in races of this caliber because you have to beat the best athletes, but I feel okay," said Alexander, also eyeing a strong finish in the event backed by venue hosts Province of Cebu, City of Lapu Lapu, Mandaue City and Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa.
Hauschildt, meanwhile, looks to keep her women's tiara against 14 equally talented challengers, including Davao IM 70.3 queen Radka Kahlefeldt of the Czech Republic, four-time IM 70.3 Phl conqueror Caroline Steffen of Switzerland, Dimity Lee Duke and Beth McKenzie along with Anna Eberhardt, Lauren Goss, Bruna Mahn, Sabrina Stadelmann, Lisa Tyack, Lauren Brandon, Grace Thek, Simone Maier, Holly Khan and Manami Iijima.
"I've had a great season so far and I want to sustain it," said Hauschildt, the two-time half-distance IM world champ who is fresh from her triumph in the 70.3 European and North American championships.
The competitors start in the beach front of Shangri-La, swim for 1.9K then tackle a new course for the 90K bike, traversing two cities and tackling the head and cross winds of Talisay City, before running a 21K two-loop course of generally flat terrain of mixed asphalt and concrete roads of Punta Engano.