'Iron' women gear up for IM 70.3 showdown

'Iron' women gear up for IM 70.3 showdown
From left: Anne Reischmann, Aleisha Wesley and Els Vissner

MANILA, Philippines – Alongside their male pro counterparts, 13 intrepid women of diverse backgrounds and abilities set their sights on the IRONMAN 70.3 Lapu-Lapu in Mactan, Cebu Sunday, prepared to test their limits in pursuit of triathlon excellence.

Among them are seasoned campaigners and debutantes in the Asian circuit, promising a rousing battle of strength, speed and stamina across the demanding 1.9 km swim, 90km bike and 21k run on a world-class racecourse. This guarantees an unpredictable finish in a race marking the return of professional athletes and the premier endurance event presented by Megaworld and The Mactan Newton to Cebu.

“This is my inaugural IM 70.3 in Asia and I anticipate a challenging race. I’ve heard many positive reviews, particularly about the energetic crowds along the run course. So, I’m definitely excited,” said Germany’s Anne Reischmann, a three-time Top 10 finisher in the 70.3 World Championships.

The forthcoming event, which has so far attracted 1,353 entries in various individual age categories and relay events, also offers coveted slots to this year’s VinFast IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand in December, with 45 available across various age group categories. Additionally, 15 slots are earmarked to promote female participation, underscoring the event’s commitment to gender equality in sports.

To ensure the seamless staging and success of the event organized by The IRONMAN Group, the host city has maintained constant coordination with the organizers and event partners since January.

“We’ve collaborated closely with industry partners to ensure that all participants enjoy a relaxing, unique and unforgettable experience in our city,” said Lapu-Lapu City Rep Cynthia Chan. “Our hope is that they will not only finish the race strongly, but also immerse themselves in the warmth, hospitality and beauty of the Lapu-Lapu City community.”

Australian Aleisha Wesley, holder of multiple titles in duathlon, sprint and standard distances, emerges as a prominent figure, determined to clinch her first IM 70.3 crown after a fifth-place finish in Melbourne last year.

Multi-titled Dimity-Lee Duke, a familiar face in the local scene, seeks to relive her past triumphs, including a breakthrough win in Subic 5150 in 2017.

United Arab Emirates’ Lottie Lucas, who finished third in last year’s IM 70.3 Davao, is also expected to contend, along with Els Vissner of the Netherlands, who placed 15th in last year’s World Championships and recently secured a runner-up finish in the IM New Zealand.

Others tipped for success are Hungary’s Zsanett Bragmayer, who finished 12th in the Tokyo Olympics making her 70.3 debut, sophomore pro Leanne Szeto of Hong Kong, who claimed second overall in her age-group in the IM 70.3 Desaru Coast in Malaysia last year, and Kiwi Angharad Llewellyn, who posted a 12th place effort in her maiden IM 70.3 event in Geelong in the Oceania circuit last month.

Rounding out the women’s pro cast are United Kingdom’s Lucy Bryam, Swiss Nina Derron, Sophie Perry of Australia, New Zealand’s Samantha Kingsford and Heather Neill.

Meanwhile, a total of 622 participants will see action in the Reyna Bulakna Run on Friday, while 258 youngsters brace for a spirited duel in the RLC IronKids set at The Reef Island Resort on Saturday.

Backers of the event are Vinfast, Hoka, Roka, Breitling, Athletic Brewing, Hyperice, Maurten, Santini, AG1, Wahoo, Qatar Airways, Fulgaz, TriDot, Always Advancing, Nirvana, Compressport, Ekoi and Outside.

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