Alexander, Steffen seek CT Ironman repeat

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Five-time world champion Craig Alexander and Caroline Steffen try to make it back-to-back as they banner the elite field in the Century Tuna Ironman 70-3 which gets going on March 12 in Subic Bay.

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Alexander and Steffen both took command in the 21km run stage of the premier triathlon event, which includes the 1.9km swim and 90km bike legs, to dominate their respective sides last year but the duo braces for a tougher outing this time against a field featuring some of the world’s leading triathletes.

They include Tim Reed, the inaugural CT Ironman champion who is out to atone for his third place finish last year, along with fellow Aussies Tin Van Berkel, Dan Brown, David Mainwaring and Sam Betten, Germans Michael Raelert, Till Schramm and Johannes Moldan, Swiss Ruedi Wild and Sven Riederer, Eric Watson of Bahrain, Ritchie Nicholls of Great Britain, American Kevin Collington and South African Johan Stofberg.

Firming up the stellar men’s roster in the event event put up by title sponsor Century Tuna and presented by Century Quality Bangus are Kyle Buckingham of South Africa, Dan Wilson, Jake Montgomery, Jason Hall and Guy Crawford of Australia, and Benjamin Williams and Iain Alexandriris of the US.

Steffen will also be hard-pressed to keep her women’s tiara with Czech Radka Kahlefeldt, Germany’s Imke Oelerich, and Aussies Dimity Lee Duke, Kate Bevilaqua, Sarah Lester and Imogen Simmonds going all-out to foil her back-to-back title drive in the event organized and produced by Sunrise Events, Inc,

A huge field, including 29 pros and six in the Asian Elite division, make up the early roster of the annual event with SEI expecting the list to hit over 1,000 in the next two weeks.

The inaugural run drew 902 participants while 823 took part in last year’s edition of the event backed by marketing partners AlcoPlus, Cetaphil, Daylong, Devant, Department of Tourism Region 3, Omega Pain Killer, PLDT Subictel, Regent, Sanicare and Storck with The Philippine Star, Cignal, Hyper HD, AsiaTRI.com and FinisherFix as media partners. For details, visit www.ironman703subicbay.com, facebook at im703subic or twitter at subicbayim703.

Great Britain, the US and Australia, noted for their top triathletes, are fielding in 23, 22 and 20 entries, respectively, Singapore has 16, Guam 14, Japan 12, Germany 11 while Switzerland has 10, guaranteeing a spirited battle for top honors in various age-group divisions.

Other countries participating are Argentina, American Samoa, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Spain, France, Greece, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Hungary, Indonesia, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Monaco, Mexico, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Thailand, Uruguay and Vietnam.

Aside from the centerpiece pro and Asian Elite, other titles to be disputed are the 18-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69 and the 70-and-above age categories.

Also on tap is the relay competition featuring the mixed and the all male and all female classes, according to SEI.

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