CEBU — After being halted by the pandemic, Ironman Philippines held its 70.3 race anew in return to Cebu.
Billed as Megaworld Ironman 70.3 Philippines, the race welcomed some 2,000 triathletes at Mactan Newtown for the endurance competition last Sunday.
In the end, two Filipinos ruled the overall men’s and women’s categories aside from assured slot to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Finland.
August Benedicto claimed the top spot in the men's race by clocking in 4:29:16, beating the second-placed Mark Jansen by nearly seven minutes.
Benedicto was ecstatic to finally compete again, his first time doing so since 2019. He was staying in Europe during the entire pandemic.
"So happy. So good. I'm enjoying. That's why I keep on going back in Cebu. Because the people here are so good and friendly," he said after winning the competition.
John Alcala, meanwhile, took third place after eclipsing early leader Satar Salem, who settled for fourth.
Meanwhile, Ines Santiago also gave pride to the Philippines when she topped the women's competition, crossing the finish line after 5:23:15, almost 10 minutes ahead of compatriot Leyann Ramo.
Triathletes from 46 countries throughout the world flock to Mactan to finish the 1.9-km swim, 90-km bike, and 21-km run.
Participants arrrived early to Mactan Newtown for the gunstart along the beach shore of the property at 6:20 a.m.
After rains in the past days leading to the competition, fair weather greeted participants and their supporters.
Megaworld's head of Lifestyle Malls Graham Coates also expressed his gratitude to host the event, especially after the onslaught of typhoon Odette to their property.
"This is a story of recovery of Cebu after Odette. After Odette, there was a lot of destruction. But we took on the challenge. And we're happy that we are recovered from storm," Coates told ABS-CBN News.
A day before the Sunday's event, kids aged 6-14 years old took the spotlight after finishing their shorter version of Ironman.