Tim Reed exudes confidence as he shoots for a rare feat against a crack field out to foil his three-peat bid in the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines which gets under way today at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa in Cebu.
“This time of the year, I’m extremely fit and I built my season getting strong and ready to race. I saw the start list and it makes me excited. When you got good guys alongside you, they push you to a level you wouldn’t do if they weren’t there. We’ll make each other race a lot better,” said the 32-year-old Reed.
While he exudes confidence as he sets out to extend his dominance in the grueling 1.9k swim, 90k bike and 21k run event which he has ruled twice over, including the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship last year, Reed remains wary of the field, including Xterra world champion Mauricio Mendez of Mexico.
Mendez, for one, is out to re-display the form that netted him the Xterra off-road crown as well as the Ironman 70.3 Cozumel and Los Cabos titles in his home country last year.
“I’ve been doing triathlon since I was 10. I grew up doing this. There’s just excitement and motivation coming from it. It’s my true passion, what I love the most and combining those kinds of things,” said the 21-year-old Mendez. “The skills in off-roads, just the combination of endurance. It’s great. It’s going to be a good race. I’m just enjoying these stuff.”
Meanwhile, Dimity-Lee Duke hopes to score a follow-up to her Regent 5150 Triathlon win in Subic as she tries to atone for her forgettable fifth place finish last year ruled by perennial champion Caroline Steffen of Switzerland.
Steffen, however, has opted to forgo her title defense and instead join the relay category of the event which stakes $5,000 to the winners in the men’s and women’s elite pro sides and berths in next year’s World Championship in South Africa.
But the depth of the women’s field remains as talent-laden as ever with Jacqueline Thisleton, Alise Selsmark, Kirra Seidel, Monica Juhart and Kerry Mulholland, Hungarian Anna Eberhardt, New Zealand’s Amelia Watkinson and Fil-Am Kim Kilgroe all going all out to foil Duke’s bid in the event supported by Asics, Gatorade, Prudential Guarantee, Philippine Airlines, Globe, Oakley, TYR and Active Network.
“I’m feeling good. I am excited to be back here racing with amazing athletes. I am grateful to be with this kind of caliber field. I am proud to represent my heritage. It’s an exciting weekend for me and I’m looking forward to it,” said Kilgroe, seeking to improve on her 10th place effort in her rookie season last year.
Close to 3,000 triathletes from a record 52 countries are vying in the country’s premier triathlon 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.
From the waters of Shangri-La Mactan, the elite field will tackle the bike phase which features a climb at Marcelo Fernan Bridge heading to Cebu International Convention Center, the iconic Plaza Independencia, Cebu South Coastal Road and Talisay City before returning to Shangri-La Mactan for the closing run stage.
The run is a two-loop course along Punta Engaño towards Discovery Bay and back again to Shangri-La Mactan.
The event also features a slew of local celebrities, led by Matteo Guidicelli, Kim Atienza and Dyan Castillejo, who are competing in the full distance, with Enchong Dee (swim), Piolo Pascual, Gerald Anderson, Jake Cuenca (bike) and Kim Chiu (run) doing the relay.
Other backers of the annual event are Mactan Resort & Spa, Lapu-Lapu City, Megaworld, Sun Life Financial, David’s Salon, Intercare, Alaska, GU, Timex, DeVant, Regent, Omega Pain Killer, Sanicare, AlcoPlus, Bionic Cebu, Daylong and media partners The Philippine Star, ABS-CBN Sports + Action, AsiaTRI.com and Finisher Pix.