Over 800 triathletes, including 22 pros and six in the Asian Elite division, make up the early roster in the 2017 Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 firing off next month in Subic Bay.
Organizers expect the international field to hit over 1,000 when the third staging of the premier swim-bike-run event is held on March 12. The inaugural run drew 902 participants while 823 took part in last year’s edition.
Craig Alexander of Australia and Swiss Caroline Steffen will gun for a repeat of their feats last year although the duo are in for a tougher challenge this time with a host of others raring to foil their back-to-back title bids, including inaugural champion Tim Reed, Sam Betten, Jason Hall and Dan Wilson of Australia, South African Johan Stofberg, Till Schramm of Germany and Eric Watson of Bahrain, who are all tipped to contend for the championship.
The CT Ironman 70.3 will actually cap a three-day weekend of fun and competition with a 2GO Bike Service and Expo slated on March 10 and the Alaska Ironkids and the highly popular Century Tuna Superbods: The Underpants Run spicing up the action on March 11.
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 the organizing SEI.
The 1.9 kilometer swim will start and end at the Acea Beach in Subic Bay with the 90km bike course also to fire off at the Acea Subic Bay to the Floridablanca interchange via Tipo Tollgate and back. The 21km run will start at the Subic Bay Convention Center (SBECC) and transit the SBMA en route to the turnaround at Acea Beach with the finish line at SBECC.