MANILA, Philippines - Asian Games-bound triathlete Nikko Huelgas leaned on his explosive performance in the swim and bike even as Unilab Active Health’s Anna Stroh banked on her big push in the run as they retained their titles in the Tri United 2 Long Distance Triathlon held yesterday at Playa Laiya, San Juan, Batangas.
Philippine National Games champion Jared Macalalad (1:08:57) added another feather to his cap as he joined Kim Kilgroe (1:14:53) to emerge the winner in the sprint category in this event organized by Bikeking headed by Raul Cuevas and sponsored by Unilab Active Health (ULAH) and Landco in cooperation with San Juan Mayor Rodolfo Manalo and the Association of Laiya Resorts Owners headed by Marvi Naval.
Youth Olympic Games qualifiers Vicky Deldio and Justin Chiongbian also saw action in the 750m swim, 20K bike and 5K run with the Olongapo lady triathlete topping the female 16-17 and the Cebuano triathlete settling for third behind Macalalad (16-17).
Fitness First, meanwhile, took top honors in the Team category in the event also supported by Aboitiz, AboitizPower, OtterBox, Enervon Activ, Active Health Sports Gel and Enervon HP. Clocking at 34:36:53, Fitness First reigned supreme over Sante Barley (35:17:27) and Herbalife (35:30:56).
Huelgas negotiated the lung-busting 2Kswim, 60K bike and 15K run race in 2:56:26 as he displayed his superb form in the swim and then road on his aerodynamic, time-trial bike to surge ahead by more than 10 minutes over his teammate and ULAH’s John Chicano.
The time gap gave Huelgas more than enough cushion to defend his title despite a bout with dehydration as he headed for the finish line.
“I really wanted to push myself in this race because in my last local race, I was not able to make a podium finish for the first time. I’m happy with how I performed today,” said Huelgas, who was immediately given medical assistance as he collapsed after crossing the finish line.
Chicano, who is also set to see action in the Incheon Games, took second place (2:57:26) while another ULAH triathlete August Benedicto claimed the bronze medal (2:59:20).
Not as easy was Stroh’s route to victory as she struggled in the swim and suffered a flat tire halfway in the bike.
“I could not see clearly in the swim because of the sun and had a flat tire in the bike that caused me to lose something like 10 minutes. That is why I needed to make one big push in the run and in the second lap of the three-lap race, I managed to take the lead,” said Stroh, who was timed at 3:22:59.
ULAH teammate Ani Karina de Leon Brown, who emerged first out of the water, settled for second with 3:30:11.
Huelgas and Stroh took home P10,000, Chicano and De Leo-Brown settled for P6,000 prize and Benedicto bagged P4,000 from Unilab officials Alex Panlilio, Lester Castillo and John Evangelista.
Other winners in the long distance race male and female were Mervin Santiago and Maria Lourdes Lazaro (18-24), Brian Borling and Keshia Fule (25-29), Michael Raymond Amistoso and Jayline Balatibat (30-34), John Abdul and Lezette Albarote (35-39), Abe Tayag and Doray Ellis (40-44), Mark Ellis and Celma Hitalia (45-49), Frank Lacson (50-54) and Thomas Kuhne (55-above).
Joining Macalalad and Kilgroe as champions in the sprint distance were Patrick John Ramirez (male (18-29), Mark Jerome Saquing and Anne Catherine Hernandez (30-39), Laurent Bourcier and Hazel Ferrer-Misa (40-49),and Gary Brown (male 50-above).
The next two legs of the Tri United series will be on Oct. 26 (Tri United 3) in Subic Bay Freeport and on Nov. 23 (Tri United 4) in Fontana, Clark.
The event was also backed by Orbea, Shimano, Crystal Clear, Maxxis, Pocari Sweat, Timex, Saucony, Women’s Health, Men’s Health and The Philippine Star.
For more details visit www.bikekingphilippines.com andwww.unilabactivehealth.com.