SUBIC , Philippines – First time’s a charm for training buddies Caroline Steffen of Switzerland and Casey Munro of Australia.
Both regular campaigners in Ironman 70.3 events making their debut in the Century Tuna 5150 Triathlon, Steffen and Munro made a successful crossover to Olympic distance racing and reigned supreme in the centerpiece pro division races here yesterday.
Steffen, the reigning Ironman Melbourne and Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines queen, swept past the opposition and easily wrested the women’s pro diadem from three-peat-seeking Australian Belinda Granger.
Fondly called by the monicker “Xena” after the TV warrior princess, Steffen finished the 1.5k swim, 40k bike and 10k run race inside the SBMA in 2:15:32, beating Granger (2:25:05) by nearly 10 minutes.
“I didn’t expect it like that. That’s a pretty big margin for an Olympic distance race but of course, I’m more than happy I did it. I had a good day and I just went for it,” said Steffen, who netted $2,000 for the triumph in women’s pro, where local ace Monica Torres came in third at 2:28:20.
“It’s my first time to race 5150. Usually I’m doing Ironman which is over nine hours so this race was really short for me and it’s hard (to adjust) and it’s a new experience for me,” the Swiss said.
Steffen’s training buddy Munro, fifth placer in the Ironman Busselton, was as impressive in ruling the male pro race.
A former pro cyclist, Munro banked on his riding skills to break away from his rivals and win in 2:07:22. Settling for runner-up honors were fellow Aussies Michael Murphy (2:08:26) and Simon Agoston (2:09:13).
“I had a perfect race today,” said Munro.” I played it tactically and used my strength – biking – to beat the others.”
After a solid swim, the 29 year old from Queensland blitzed his way to the top in his pet event and held on to become the third Aussie to rule the meet after Luke McKenzie last year and David Dellow in the inaugural staging in 2012.
“I knew based on our times in previous races that I have a good chance of beating my rivals so I was confident here,” said Munro, who won his maiden triathlon title.
Jonard Saim ruled the men’s Filipino elite category, clocking 2:13:45 against Banjo Norte’s 2:14:46 and John Chicano’s 2:15:20.
Ma. Claire Adorna topped the distaff side, submitting 2:32:45 against Jenny Rose Guerrero’s 2:42:28 and Lea Coline Langit’s 2:46:26.
The event is also backed by Gatorade, Alaska, Aqua Sphere, Timex, Smart Live More, PLDT, Dept. of Tourism, Planet Sports, P&G, Prudential Guarantee, Intercare, The Philippine STAR, DeVant, LBC, Oakley, Subic Bay and GU Roctane.