Freeman Cebu Sports

Ironman 70.3 ‘peaceful, memorable’

Caecent No-ot Magsumbol - The Freeman

The 10th year of the Ironman (IM) 70.3 Philippines, mainly held in Lapu-Lapu City yesterday, ended generally peaceful and memorable for everyone, making it truly a victory in Mactan island.

From the first staging of the IM 70.3 in 2012, the battle of super-athletes in Lapu-Lapu have constantly improved throughout the years that it eventually paved the way to becoming the best spectator race among the Ironman races globally in 2018.

Even after the mayorship of Paz Radaza, Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan with the able support of his wife, Lapu-Lapu City Lone District Representative Cindi Chan, continued hosting the event until the Covid-19 pandemic came.

The event returned in 2022 with a new route featuring the Cebu-Cordova Expressway (CCLEX).

“Napakaganda ng kalye natin sa bike and run sa Cordova (going to CCLEX and SRP) pati na yun sa run sa Punta Engano,” said Sunrise Event and Ironman Philippines’ General Manager Princess Galura.

After skipping 2023, the IM 70.3 returned to Lapu-Lapu City this year under a memorable month for every Oponganons and the rest of the Filipinos because of the “Kadaugan sa Mactan”, which celebrates local hero Lapulapu’s victory over Ferdinand Magellan, which falls every April 27.

Moving the race date in line with the Kadaugan sa Mactan indeed was such a welcome development for everyone, not only for the locals but even to the visiting participants from different areas in the country and abroad.

The extreme heat of the sun did not hamper the mood of everyone—the participants, spectators, and the locals.

Out of over a thousand participants, there were those who missed the cut-off while two others were brought to the hospital for proper treatment due to dehydration.

Dr. Kris Parilla, event medical director, said there were also participants who suffered abrasions and wounds, but they were too minor to merit a trip to the hospital.

There were, however, no reports on participants collapsing due to the heat.  This was attributed to the extra effort organizers put in, like providing ice, water, and sprinklers in different stations.

“Well, kasi from the very beginning, we’ve been telling them (participants) na mainit. We were communicating, mainit, mainit, mainit,” Galura said.

 “Sa side naman namin, alam naming na kailangan kaming mag-support sa course…So, sa swim obviously, wala kaming magawa kasi basa sila. Merong konting current pero marami namang nakatapos sa swim…Yung bike, very happy sila kasi very scenic, maganda talaga,” she added.

“Tapos yung run, dun talaga nagkakatalo…. Kung napansin nyo, dakdakan talaga ng ice dito…Also, we thought them (people we hire here from Cebu) how to do it to mitigate the heat. Also hydrants, fire trucks, water tankers, misting areas, etcetera. Meron pa rin tayong na-dehydrate pero very few, almost close to zero percent, which is good,” Galura further said.

On the side of the Lapu-Lapu City Police Office, Lt. Col. Junnel Caadlawon, deputy city director for operations, reported that the event was generally peaceful.

“With the deployment of our…uniformed personnel, as of this hour (which was already beyond 3pm, the cut off period of the entire Ironman 70.3 action), wala tayong reported incidents…Generally peaceful kayo,” he said.

Concerning the traffic, it was also learned that everything was manageable, from Cordova town to the South Road Properties in Cebu City and back.

Galura stressed that the success of the event was a collaborative effort, not only of with the local government unit but also with the private sector.

Ironman 70.3 Lapu-Lapu pro champions Henri Schoeman of South Africa and Netherland’s Els Visser couldn’t agree more, saying the experience was made memorable by the warmth and support that the locals showed them and the rest of the participants.

“It’s my first time in the Philippines and definitely not my last time in the Philippines!” said an ecstatic Visser, the women’s pro champion.

“It’s an incredible place…A very, very special place…. In the first 10 kilometers on the bike, my ears are just hearing…all the cheers and cheers…. I’ve never seen a crowd like this. And people are so happy and so passionate about the sport and so it really helps to race in these extreme conditions…with all the incredible people out there,” she added.

Schoeman also thanked all the people who came out to show their support.

“It’s so amazing here in Cebu, with all the people supporting…. To come out even if it’s extremely hot and support, you…really, I wanna thank all the people that came out to support…. It makes the race really more enjoyable,” he said.

With positive feedback all over, Mayor Chan was so happy with all their efforts paying off he looks forward to next year’s edition, with Cebu Governor Gwen Garcia, who graced the event, also expected to again give her all out support.

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