Josh Amberger and Ashleigh Gentle put on strong starts to dominate their respective divisions and finally nail the big one as the Australian bets ruled the centerpiece pro division in the 2014 Safeguard Active 5i50 Triathlon in Tanglao, Bohol on Sunday.
Amberger, who placed sixth in Ironman 70.3 St. Croix, fourth in Ironman 70.3 Boise this year, turned in an impressive 16:19-minute clocking in the swim leg, clocked a fast 55:38 time in the bike stage before slowing down a bit with a 39:36 showing in the run leg of the $10,000 event sponsored by Safeguard Active.
The 24-year-old Amberger, who also finished second in the Ironman 70.3 Muncie, submitted a total time of 01:55:54, beating compatriot Eric Watson for the coveted crown and the top net purse of $1,500.
Watson, a former Bunburry Olympic Distance and Mandurah Olympic Distance State champion, rallied in the run stage with a best 37:14 clocking but just couldn’t overhaul Amberger’s big cushion in the first two events. He wound up second in 2:01:46 and took $937.50.
Michael Murphy kept Amberger in check in the swim stage with a 16:20 effort but sputtered in the next two legs (1:02:32 and 41:35), settling for third in 2:04:20 worth $637.50 while Justin Granger ended up fourth in 2:10:22 in the event backed by Bellevue Resort as the official hotel and 2Go as the official courier and logistics provider.
Gentle, on the other hand, hurdled her first big test this year with flying colors, clocking 2:02:00 to beat veteran Belinda Granger by 13 minutes for the ladies diadem in the event organized and produced by Sunrise Events, Inc. and hosted by Bohol for the first time,
The 23-year-old Gentle timed 18:20 in the swim leg, clocked 1:02:32 in the bike stage then closed out with an impressive 37:00 in the run event to run away with the victory also worth $1,500 in the event which drew 667 triathletes from 28 countries.
Granger came in second in 02:15.00 while Filipina Monica Torres, who moved up to the pro class after ruling the elite division in the Century Tuna 5i50 the last two years, rallied in the run leg with a second best 41:45 clocking to salvage third in 02:15:46. Carole Fuchs wound up fourth in 02:18:13.
Banjo Norte pounced on top swim leg finisher Juan Carlos Abad’s struggle in the bike and run stages and clocked 02:09:13 (19:35-bike, 1:03:12 and 42:07-run) to top the elite category worth P24,000 while Lorhiz Lopez shared the spotlight by topping the ladies’ elite section with a 02:36:48 clocking, also worth P24,000.
Mark Hosana came in second in 02:13.02 while Philip Duenas finished third in 02:15:07.
Abad put in an impressive clocking of 16:59 in the swim leg but sputtered with 1:06:05 in the bike stage and a slow 48:10 in the run to wind up fourth in 02:15:46 followed by Joseph Miller (02:17:26), Jerry Ycong (2:17:59) and Emmanuel Comendador (02:22:15).
Other backers of the event were Aqua Sphere, Coca-Cola Femsa Philippines, David’s Salon, Devant, Intercare, Planet Sports, Prudential Guarantee, Rudy Project, Smart, The Philippine STAR and Zoot.