Ironman: Pressure falls on Swiss Caroline Steffen
Joey Villar (The Philippine Star) - August 11, 2019 - 12:00am

LAPU LAPU CITY, Cebu, Philippines — Swiss Caroline Steffen is doing well juggling the responsibilities of being a professional triathlete and a mother.

So when the 40-year-old Steffen races in the Regent Aguila IRONMAN 70.3 today at the Shangri-La Mactan Resorts & Spa here, her mind will be on snaring a sixth title and her 20-month-old son Xander, whom she brought along in the event powered by Philam Vitality.

“Motherhood and being an athlete are very challenging,” said Steffen, who has won five IRONMAN 70.3 titles, including one in this same venue three years ago. “Now I’m already a mother and loving every second of it. The sport has taken second place.”

Steffen had doubts if she could return to old form when she gave birth to Xander in December two years ago. But she successfully overcame the challenges and all the bumps in the road.

She made a premature return to action five months after giving birth and managed a third-place finish in Vietnam last year, forcing her to take a step back and focus more on regaining her shape.

It paid off with two runners up finishes in this event last year behind eventual winner Radka Kahlefeldt of the Czech Republic and in Davao last March before snaring her fifth IRONMAN 70.3 crown in Subic in June.

Steffen will have added pressure to win with all the attention falling on her after Kahlefeldt of the Czech Republic, another favorite, withdrew due to injury.

“Racing here is always special and while I will think of Xander, I will also be determined to win title with equal zest,” said Steffen.

Minus Kahlefeldt, Dimity Lee Duke of Australia, Beth McKenzie of the US, Laura Wood of New Zealand, Amanda Wilson of Australia and Frankie Sanjana of Great Britain are the other participants expected to give Steffen a run for her money.

Defending champion Mauricio Mendez of Mexico and former titlists Tim Reed of Australia and Terenzo Bozzone of New Zealand will be the stars to watch out for in the men’s side in this race covering 1.9 kilometers of swim at the Mactan beach, 90km of bike at the Mactan Newtown to Talisay and 21km of run at Punta Engano.

“This weekend, we celebrate our eighth year in Cebu,” said Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, who founded Sunrise Events, Inc.

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