The stage is set for the biggest triathlon event on Philippine soil as the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championships presented by Ford blasts off on Aug. 7 in Cebu.
SUBIC – Debuting Caroline Steffen of Switzerland and Casey Munro of Australia wasted little time making their marks in the Century Tuna 5150 Triathlon, dominating the premiere pro division races right on their first tries here, Sunday.
A champion in Ironman 70.3 competitions but vying in the 5150 Olympic distance triathlon race for the very first time, Steffen blitzed the opposition and wrested the women’s pro diadem from three-peat-seeking Australian Belinda Granger with so much to spare.
Steffen, nicknamed “Xena” after the TV heroine, finished the 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run race inside the SBMA in 2:15:32, blowing past Granger who checked in much later at 2:25:05.
Local ace Monica Torres hoisted the Philippine flag as she came in third with her 2:28:20 effort.
Steffen’s training buddy Munro made an equally impressive romp in the men’s pro category of the Century Tuna-sponsored event that drew 1,285 participants.
A former pro cyclist, Munro banked on his riding skills to lay the foundation for a victorious campaign in 2:07:22, beating compatriot Michael Murphy (2:08:26) and Simon Agoston (2:09:13) for the title.
Jonard Saim ruled the men’s Filipino elite category, clocking 2:13:45 against Banjo Norte’s 2:14:46 and John Chicano’s 2:15:20.
Ma. Claire Adorna topped the distaff side, submitting 2:32:45 against Jenny Rose Guerrero’s 2:42:28 and Lea Coline Langit’s 2:46:26.
Steffen made the female pro race a no contest, beating holder Granger by nearly 10 minutes.
“I didn’t expect it like that. That’s a pretty big margin for an Olympic distance race but of course, I’m more than happy I did it. I had a good day and I just went for it,” said Steffen, who netted $2,000 for the triumph.
Munro kept the Australians’ stranglehold on the men’s pro division, which was won by Luke McKenzie last year and David Dellow in the inaugural division in 2012.
“I had a perfect race today,” said Munro.” I played it tactically and used my strength – biking – to beat the others.”
The event was backed by Gatorade, Alaska, Aqua Sphere, Timex, Smart Live More, PLDT, Dept. of Tourism, Planet Sports, P&G, Prudential Guarantee, Intercare, The Philippine STAR, DeVant, LBC, Oakley, Subic Bay and GU Roctane.(pr)