Freeman Cebu Sports

Ironman 70.3 makes grand comeback in Cebu today

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — After a longsome pause from the pandemic, the hotly-anticipated Ironman triathlon event finally makes its grand comeback in Cebu with almost 2,000 athletes from 46 countries seeing action in the Megaworld Ironman 70.3 Philippines presented by AIA Vitality early morning today at the Megaworld’s sprawling Mactan Newtown in Lapu-Lapu City.

“Cebu has always been a crowd favorite among our races in the Philippines. This is the location that our international athletes always look forward to. For our grand return since the pandemic, we want to give them the best action while ensuring that our race venues and routes remain safe with the help of our LGU partners. This has been planned for the longest time and we are more than ready to give our athletes the ultimate racing experience,” said Sunrise Events General Manager Princess Galura.

“It was a difficult resting period for us because we understand and know the spirit of triathlons. This big return in Cebu will just be the first of many triathlons to come,” said Sunrise Events Inc. Founder Fred Uytengsu.

It will be both a foreign and familiar experience for the participants as the event’s big return features the tried and tested racing areas in Lapu-Lapu and Cebu City while at the same time introducing new routes such as the municipality of Cordova, the newly-built Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX) bridge, and Megaworld’s Mactan Newtown as the race central and starting point.

An ultimate test of strength, endurance and mental toughness for the athletes, the punishing three-in-one showdown begins at 6:20 a.m. with the 1.9-kilometer open water swim starting and ending at the beach front of Mactan Newtown.

It will be followed by a formidable 90km bike stage from Mactan Newtown all the way down to the South Road Properties (SRP) and back via the newly-completed Pilipog-Gabi road in Cordova and the CCLEX bridge, the region’s new landmark.

Now heralded as the longest and tallest bridge in the country, the 8.9km road that hovers 52 meters above the Mactan channel will be an enduring challenge for the athletes.

“This is the first time for the bridge to host a triathlon and it is all the more opportune that it will be for Ironman. We understand the long-running tradition between the race and Cebu. And with this partnership, we hope to be a part of that tradition,” says CCLEX General Manager and President Allan Alfon.

Finally, athletes will go through a 21km run along the Punta Engano stretch in Lapu-Lapu City and will finish across Savoy Hotel.

With Megaworld as the title sponsor, its flagship property in Cebu, The Mactan Newtown, will prove to be a perfect centerpiece for what is highly regarded as the Crown Jewel in Asia for triathlons.

“We are excited to show athletes and their supporters the beauty of Mactan. More than a challenge for the athletes, the big race will also mark a return of triathlons in Cebu which would further boost tourism. And as a prime location in Lapu-Lapu City, The Mactan Newtown is ready to welcome these athletes and their throngs of supporters,” said Jennifer Ann Palmares-Fong, Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Megaworld.

As expected, host Philippines has in the most number of entries in the individual category with 668 followed by Singapore and Malaysia with 63 and 57, respectively.

The United States will parade 51 triathletes followed by Hong Kong (42), Japan (40), Australia (25) United Kingdom and Korea (22), China (21), France 16, Thailand (7), Germany and Netherlands (6), India (5), Switzerland and Ireland (4), Denmark, Italy, and Vietnam (3),Taiwan, Indonesia, Belgium, Guam, New Zealand, Canada, and Spain (2).

The Russian Federation, Ukraine, South Africa, Ukraine, Sweden, Saudi Arabia, Poland, Norway, Antarctica, Morocco, Montenegro, Bermuda, Brazil, Guatemala, Kenya, Cambodia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, and Macau are also represented in this grueling tri-sport action that offers slots to the 2023 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Lahti, Finland.

“Cebu has always been one of the most significant race venues that we have in Asia so we see it very appropriate to have the big return of Ironman here. It’s the perfect venue that highlights the beauty of the City’s manmade and natural structures as well as exhibits just the right levels of challenge that our athletes can look forward to,” said Ironman Group Managing Director Jeff Edwards. — Caecent no-ot Magsumbol


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