Australian Tim Reed pulled off a rare three-peat while Amelia Watkinson of New Zealand took the women’s crown as they shared top honors in the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa on Sunday in Cebu.
Reed poured it all out in the bike and run legs as he rallied from a fourth-place effort in the opening swim stage to dominate the men’s field for a record third straight time.
“Every win is different. This is a really pleasing result for me because I worked really hard for this,” said Reed, who clocked 3:54:07 to beat Mauricio Mendez of Mexico by more than two minutes.
“I knew I was very fit and I knew I’d have a good chance. If somebody else beat me but I put in a really good performance, I’m okay with that. Today (yesterday) was just all about focusing on myself and racing as hard as I could,” he added.
Mendez rallied in the run to finish at second place in 3:56:46 while erstwhile pacesetter Ryan Fisher, also from Australia, settled for third in 4:00:20.
Meanwhile, Watkinson also up her pace in the bike and run parts to turn a slim two-second lead in the swim and dominate the women’s side of the annual event produced and organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. and backed by title sponsor Cobra Energy Drink and presentor Tourism Promotions Board Philippines and Summit Natural Drinking Water, the official hydration partner.
Watkinson timed 4:29:17, six minutes and thirty-six seconds ahead of Jacqueline Thistleton in a big improvement to her sixth place finish in last year’s Asia-Pacific Championship.
Kerry Morris of Australia came in third in 4:39:11.
“I was sixth last year. You always take something from the bad races so it’s not a hindrance to come back and try to be better,” said Watkinson.
Fil-Am Kim Kilgroe settled for seventh in 4:58:58.
Local bet Banjo Norte topped the Asian Elite division in 4:35:51 while compatriots Paul Jumamil (4:41:35) and Joseph Miller (4:49:36) wound up second and third, respectively.
But tragedy marred the ninth staging of the 1.9k swim-90k bike-21k run event like it did in 2012 as one of the participants succumbed during the swim stage after apparently suffering from what appeared to be a heart attack.
In an official statement, Ironman Philippines confirmed the incident, saying that the triathlete required medical attention in the swim part of the race and was transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.
“We are deeply saddened to confirm the death of one of our athletes following the IRONMAN 70.3 Philippines in Cebu. The athlete required medical attention during the swim portion of Sunday’s race and was properly transported to a nearby hospital where they were treated. Our condolences go out to the athlete’s family and friends, whom we will continue to support,” said the statement.
In 2012, a biker fell off his mount and hit his head on the gutter and died of sudden blood clots in the lungs.