Australian Laura Wood exudes confidence as she shoots for no less than a triumphant campaign in her first-ever stint in Cebu, hoping to bank on crowd support in the second Regent Aguila IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships powered by Philam Vitality unfolding Sunday in Mactan.
Coming into the event in top form, Wood said she’s looking forward to drawing inspiration from the fans whose all-out support has marked every IRONMAN staging in the country’s triathlon hub that has also caught the fancy of many endurance race campaigners.
“I’m most looking forward to the spectator support in Cebu,” said Wood, seeking to finally score a breakthrough after a third place effort in IRONMAN 70.3 Subic and a runner-up finish in Davao 5150 early this year.
“This is my first time in Cebu and I’ve heard the crowds are fantastic at this event so hopefully that will give me an extra push,” added the 24-year-old campaigner who will be up against the fancied Swiss Caroline Steffen and Dimity Lee Duke from Australia.
Former world champion and three-time IRONMAN 70.3 Philippines Cebu titlist Tim Reed of Australia has put it all in context when he said in one of his title runs: “One couldn’t stop smiling the entire way (of the race) because of the absolutely crazy support out on the course. The bike course is lined 5-6 people deep while the half marathon is an audio-visual sensory overload of music, dancing and thousands of screaming people.”
But more than crowd support, Wood also needs to dish out her best as she braces for a spirited battle for top honors against Steffen and Duke in the 1.9K swim, 90K bike, 21K run event organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa.
Hungary’s Anna Eberhardt, Guam’s Manami IIjima, Aussies Laura Dennis and Amanda Wilson and Frankie Sanjana of Great Britain complete the crack roster in women’s pro side of the event that has lured a huge 2,190-entry list from a record 57 nations.
Crowding Reed for top honors in the men’s pro division are Tim Van Berkel, Sam Betten, Luke McKenzie, Lindsey Lawry, Mitch Robins and Justin Ghosh, all from Australia, Bahrain’s Eric Watson and New Zealand’s Terenzo Bozzone and defending champion Mauricio Mendez of Mexico.
For details, visit www.ironman.com/philippines70.3 with official hashtags #IM703Philippines, #AguilaIM703 with social media accounts (Facebook) aguilaIM703PH, (twitter) aguilaim703ph, (Instagram) aguilaim703ph.
The event, sponsored by Aguila Energy Drink, will also feature bets from Canada, Ireland, Austria, Macao, Russia, Syria, Vietnam, Chile, China, Bermuda, Colombia, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Guam, Pitcairn, Morocco, Kenya, Brazil, Brunei, Egypt, India, Kuwait, Cambodia, France, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Kuwait, New Caledonia, Romania, the US, United Kingdom, South Korea, UAE, Spain, Qatar, South Africa, Singapore, Turkey, Ukraine, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Taiwan and Poland.
Other backers of the Regent Aguila-sponsored event are Province of Cebu, City of Lapu Lapu and Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa, Lungsod ng Mandaue, Dept. of Tourism, David’s Salon, Alaska, AlcoPlus, Borromeo Motoring Group, Cetaphil, DeVant, Timex, Sanicare, Regent, Motor Ace, Ever Bilena, Active Network, One Sports, Cignal, The Philippine Star, TriLife, AsiaTri and Finisher Pix.