BOHOL: Sam Betten and Dimity Lee Duke head a big field of over 600, including newcomers, elite performers and the pros as they slug it out in a test of strength and stamina in the Bellevue Resort 5i50 Triathlon firing off today at the Bellevue Resort in Panglao Island.
Although the Aussie tandem remains the triathletes to beat owing to their form, experience and skills, reversals are not being ruled out both in the men’s and women’s side of the centerpiece pro category of the 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run event as well as in the elite and age group competitions.
Top Filipina triathlete Monica Torres, a consistent top finisher, has begged off due to personal reasons but Rebecca Ohlwein, Betten’s girlfriend who has been competing since 2012, is in the fold, ready to challenge Duke along with Amelia Watkinson and Michelle Duffield.
“Looks like it’s gonna be a hard one tomorrow (today). There’s a couple of new girls here, they haven’t raced here before and hopefully I can cash in on my advantage. But they’re quality athletes,” said Duke of her chief rivals, particularly Watkinson.
“She (Watkinson) comes in red-hot. She won the Subic 5150 a couple of months ago. I’ll just keep an eye on her. But anything can happen. I have to give it my best and let’s see what happens,” added Duke, the 2016 Bangsaen Triathlon Thailand champion, who also finished third in the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 in Subic early this year.
The Bellevue Resort 5150 will fire off at 6:28 a.m. on Nov. 6 with Wave 1 composed of the pros and Filipino elite while the male age group 15-39 will start at 6:30 a.m. The male age group 15-39 will flag off at 6:35 a.m. while the female age groups and relay teams will start at 6:40 a.m.
Cut-off time for the swim stage is at 7:40 a.m. while the bike and finish line cut-offs are set at 10:10 a.m. and 12:10 p.m., respectively.
Spicing up the event is the Sunrise Sprint race, a 750m swim, a 20k bike and a 5k run event for beginners and for those who has been off the circuit and out to make a comeback. The 102-athlete field will start at 8 a.m. for the male division and 8:05 a.m. for the female side.
“While we acknowledge that triathletes look to compete in the Ironman series, we also realize that one needs to start somewhere and the Sunrise Sprint race does exactly that,” said Fred Uytengsu, founder of the organizing Sunrise Events Inc. “The distance is still challenging for the novice triathlete and we hope to encourage many athletes to start with this (distance).”