LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu, Philippines – Australian Pete Jacobs completed a three-peat feat while Switzerland's Caroline Steffen blew away the field, including last year's winner Belinda Granger of Australia, in the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines yesterday at the beachfront of Shangri-La's Mactan Resort & Spa here.
Jacobs, 31, blew hot and cold then hot again in the swim-bike-run event to edge New Zealand's Cameron Brown by checking in with a total time of four hours, seven minutes, 38 seconds to nail his third straight crown after sweeping the last two stagings of the annual event in Camsur.
"I had the fastest time in swim again but Cam (Brown) caught up with me on the bike before it came to the run part where I ran pretty well in the heat," said Jacobs, also the winner of the 2012 Huskisson Long Course Race and 2011 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.
"I guess it was decided by my running once again," he added.
The Wetshop tri-team of one-legged swimmer Arnel Aba, club-footed cyclist Godfrey Taberna and one-armed runner Isidro Vildisola achieved another milestone by finishing second overall against able-bodied rivals in 4:47.35.
Only Nike Part Team A of UAAP and Palarong Pambansa gold medalist Johansen Aguilar, Tour veteran Eusebio Quinones and Southeast Asian Game marathon silver medal winner Eric Panique finished better in 4:01.16 in the event backed by Alaska Milk, The Philippine STAR, Powerade, and Herbalife.
"Our goal here is to really inspire people and we hope to continue doing that," said Alba, a multiple gold medal winner in the Southeast Asian Paragames.
Vildosola, whose team is sponsored by Vince Garcia, said they expect more sponsors to come and provide them financial support as they hope to compete in more races together.
"Hopefully we could have some companies to sponsor us because we're having problems with our nutritional needs," said Vildosola, who will leave on Aug. 24 to vie in the 1,500-meter run in the 2012 London Paralympics.
The 40-year-old Brown had a slower time in the 1.9-km swim stage but bounced back in the 90km bike part where he came from behind to snatch the lead only to yield it again in the face of Jacobs’ fightback in the closing 21km run. He settled for overall in the pro division in 4:09.01.
"I was doing well in the bike before it came to running,"” said Brown, whose last victories came in the 2011 Ironman New Zealand and 2011 Ironman 70.3 Korea.
Matthieu O'Halloran, a Canadian who is representing the country now through the developmental Alaska PBB team, needed a second wind to beat Hong Kong’s Erich Felbabel for third place in 4:19.32.
The 34-year-old Steffens, meanwhile, overcame a sluggish start with a strong windup in the bike and run parts to rule the women’s pro division in 4:20.48. She beat American Bree Wee and Granger.
"I just came from a race six days ago in Spain and I spent three days on a plane, I woke up this morning telling myself what am I doing here, I was just not feeling right this morning," said Steffens, who also topped the World Long Course Championship in Spain just last week.
"I had a bad swim but when started to ride the bike, I started feel good and I also started to attack them," she added.
Wee, who finished third in Camsur last year, improved with a second place finish with a clocking of 4:27.24, about five minutes ahead of the 42-year-old Granger.