Swiss Ruedi Wild and Czech Radka Kahlefeldt unleashed a big finishing kick to pave the way for their coronation as the new king and queen of the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay on Sunday.
Wild, a first-time campaigner in the Philippines, made a mighty effort in the last 10 kilometers of the run to steal the thunder from Aussie world champions Craig Alexander and Tim Reed and be the No. 1 in what’s largely considered a strong field in the premier triathlon event presented by Century Bangus, Department of Tourism, and Tourism Promotions Broad.
The 34-year-old two-time Olympian finished the 1.9K swim, 90K bike, 21K run race in 3:48:24, dethroning the legendary Alexander (3:48:57) and reigning world titlist Reed (3:50:17) for the men’s pro diadem in the race organized and produced by Sunrise Events, Inc.
Kahlefeldt forced a similar handover in the women’s side as she submitted a winning 4:22:13, a good three-minute and 43 seconds ahead of 2016 ruler Caroline Steffen of Switzerland. Dimity Lee-Duke was a far third at 4:41:57.
August Benedicto and Jenny Guerrero shared the limelight as they ruled the men’s Asian Elite and Filipina Elite, respectively. The multi-titled Benedicto dished out top form in ruling his division in 4:25:42 while Guerrero stamped her class with a 5:14:23 effort.
In pursuit of the lead pack after the bike stage, Wild turned up the heat in the closing run event and caught up with pacesetting compatriot Sven Riederer at the 11K mark. Keeping up his pace, Wild took the lead going to the last four kilometers and seized a 10-second gap against the chasing Reed and Alexander.
“It took me a little while to get ready for the run, put the socks on and those guys were starting really fast in the first two kilometers. But I knew it wasn’t about the first two kilometers; it’s about the second half of the run,” said Wild, who admitted to being a slow starter.
“When I broke away, I just kept pushing without looking back, tried to stay as strong as possible. I was 100 meters or so ahead and I knew if I could keep the pace, I had a very good chance. I did that and now I celebrate a great victory here against a strong field and I’m very happy,” he added.
Kahlefeldt and Steffen headed into the run together then the former cranked it up, gaining a 25-second lead as they approached the 7K mark.
“Basically I know the run will decide (the winner). Last year, we swam and rode together but Caroline just disappeared in the run. This year, it was the opposite. I just ran and pushed all the way, knowing how strong Caroline is,” she said.
The event was sponsored by 2Go Express (official courier and logistics partner), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (venue partner), Acea Subic Bay (host hotel), Manila North Tollways Corp. (bike course partner), Gatorade (official sports drink), Saucony (official footwear and apparel partner), and TYR (official swim cap partner).
Media partners were The Philippine Star, Hyper HD on Cignal, TriLife, Asiatri.com, and Finisher Pix. It is also supported by Alaska, David’s Salon, GU Energy Gels, Intercare, Prudential Guarantee, Premier Waer and Sante Barley and backed by marketing sponsors AlcoPlus, Cetaphil, Dalong, Froehlich Tours, Inc., Sanicare and Storck.