A banner international field, led by last year’s XTERRA World Tour Philippines champion Ben Allen of Australia, gears up for a bigger, tougher challenge in the Vaseline Men XTERRA Off-Road Triathlon 2014 which fires off March 15 in Liloan, Cebu.
Allen, who also posted three other victories last year in Saipan, Guam and New Zealand, will be joined in the keenly-awaited event by Michal Bucek of Slovakia, Charlie Epperson, Dan Hugo and Bradley Weiss in the men’s side plus a slew of local triathletes in a test of skills and stamina.
Bucek topped the 70.3 Challenge in Taiwan last year and placed second in the Yilan Olympic Distance Tri while Epperson won the Olympic-Distance Guam National Triathlon and XTERRA Boys Blaze Trail Run last year.
Hugo, on the other hand, dominated last year’s XTERRA South East championship and placed runner-up and third in XTERRA Mexico and XTERRA Brazil last year, respectively.
Weiss, meanwhile, is coming off a victory in the Totalsports Challenge and won last year’s Pro Male Totalsports Challenge winner, making the battle for the crown a toss-up among the leading foreign bets in the event sponsored by Vaseline and organized by Sunrise Events, Inc.
An equally exciting clash also looms in the distaff side with XTERRA Australia and New Zealand champion Renata Bucher and Mieko Carey, who dominated last year’s XTERRA Japan tilit and Guam National Triathlon spearheading the field.
Over 300 triathletes have so far signed up for the swim-bike-run event with the roster expected to swell in the next few weeks. For details, visit www.xterraphils.com.
Competition is expected to be fierce with the organizers making slight changes in routes, including two transition areas. Transition 1 will be the starting point for the swim leg at the Seafront Beach Resort in Liloan while Transition 2 will serve as the finish line at the Liloan Elementary School.
The field will vie in the 1.5km open water swim while the LITE participants will compete in a 500-meter, straight one-loop course.
The bike is a mix of single tracks, fire roads, farmlands, grasslands and paved roads where full tri participants to complete two loops of the 18km course. The LITE field will complete one loop.
The run course is similar to the bike layout with the trail featuring a combination of terrain, single track, fire roads and paved roads with long technical climbs.