Tim Reed of Australia has won the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Sunday morning for his third straight title (Photo by Jamil Buergo)
MACTAN, Cebu – Tim Reed displayed another spectacular performance to wrest his third straight Ironman 70.3 Philippines title while a new women’s champion emerged as Amelia Watkinson totally dominated the women’s field in the ninth edition of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines Sunday morning at the Shangri-la Mactan Resort and Spa in Cebu.
The 32-year old Reed emerged third out of the water but wasted no time catching up with the erstwhile leaders in the early stages of the 90km bike leg. After the 5km mark, Reed already took the lead and never looked back. Reed eventually clocked 1:16:55 in the bike leg, about 5 minutes from the second best time.
Reed finished the 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run in just 3:54:07. Xterra World champion Mauricio Mendez from Mexico bagged silver as he crossed the finish line in 3:56:46. Rounding up the top 3 is Ryan Fisher (4:00:20) from Australia.
In the distaff side, Amelia Watkinson of New Zealand led from start to finish as she redeemed herself from a subpar performance last year to take home her first Ironman 70.3 Philippines championship. Watkinson is no stranger to Philippine races as she has dominated the olympic distance races of Sunrise Events Inc last year in Subic and Bohol but has struggled in the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific championships in Cebu last year. She finished the course in 4:29:17.
Noticeably missing in the women’s pro race was 5-time Cobra Ironman 70.3 champion Caroline Steffen, who opted to skip the 70.3 race due to pregnancy. However, she still joined the race as a relay participant in the swim leg.
Despite suffering a bike crash, Australian Jacquiline Thistleton finished second overall female with 4:35:53. Kerry Morris took third place with 4:39:11.
In the Asian Elite competition, Banjo Norte has dethroned 3-time champion August Benedicto to finish eleventh overall with a time of 4:35:51. Coming out of the water first, Norte slowed down in the bike as he made way to his 21km run in fourth place. But an impressive 1:33:57 performance in the 21km run proved to be enough as he finished the race almost 6 minutes better than teammate Paul Jumamil (4:41:35) and Joseph Miller (4:49:36). Norte previously held the local championship in 2013.
Leanne Szeto of Hong Kong took the Asian elite women’s title with 5:16:01.
Earlier in the week, Filipino triathletes registered for the first ever full distance Ironman Philippines to be held in Subic next year. Apparently, it was just the beginning of bigger things to happen for Philippine triathlon next year. Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo together with Sunrise Events Chairman and CEO Wilfred Steven Uytengsu announced that the country will once again host the Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific championship which will happen in August next year in Cebu. In addition, the Province of Cebu was awarded the hosting of Ironman 70.3 races for the next five years. The announcement of events next year are all in commemoration of Sunrise Events Inc’s tenth year of hosting Ironman.