Easier win for Reed this time; Steffen makes it four straight
With one of his toughest rivals out of the picture because of an injury, Australian Tim Reed went on to rule the Cobra IronMan 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships yesterday at the Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.
Reed finished the grueling 1.9-kilometer swim, 90-km bike and 21-km run course in three hours, 51 minutes and 46 seconds to successfully defend the Asia-Pacific Championships title he won in Auckland, New Zealand, last year.
The 31-year-old Reed, who also won last year’s Men’s Pro crown of the Philippine Championships here in Cebu, was expected to face stiff competition against fellow Aussie Tim Van Berkel. Both figured in a thrilling finish in last year’s Philippine Championships with Reed banking on a strong sprint finish to outlast his compatriot.
Their rematch was much anticipated in this year’s race, but Van Berkel met an accident in a pre-race bike out on Saturday that forced him to skip the race.
Van Berkel sustained scratches and bruises in his arms, legs and head after crashing in a road in Mactan during the bike out.
“It made it easier for me to race without him but a part of me was lost when he met an accident,” Reed said. “I felt upset because we had a great battle last year, and I was really looking forward to another nice race. I feel bad for him because he’s one of my best friends, so I wish him a fast recovery.”
Since he wasn’t able to join the race, Van Berkel managed to still be part of the race by being a commentator for the event’s live streaming online.
Finishing second in the Men’s Pro was five-time full IronMan champion Craig Alexander (3:55.51) also from Australia. The Australians swept the top three as Sam Betten (3:57.15) landed at third place.
In the Women’s Pro division, 38-year-old Caroline Steffen of Switzerland won her fourth straight race in the country after clocking 4:16.19.
Steffen, a member of the Alaska Triaspire, beat erstwhile race leader Radka Vodickova of Czech Republic to the finish line as the latter settled for second place, finishing the race in 4:18.29. Third placer was Australia’s Sarah Crowley (4:21.53).
Meanwhile, August Benedicto, also of Alaska Triaspire, clinched his fourth Filipino Elite crown by finishing the race in 4:26.46. Boholano Paul Jumamil settled for second place with a time of 4:27.49 while John Leerams Chicano wound up third, clocking in at 4:28.04.
Benedicto admitted that this year’s race seemed tougher than before that he needed to improvise.
“The race gets tougher each year. They (competitors) are faster compared to the first time I won the title in 2012 here in Cebu, so I banked on my experience. I let them take the lead at first so they’d be tired when they reach the 21k run,” Benedicto said.
Monica Torres also defended her title in the distaff side by clocking 4:45.54, beating her lone foe in the division Maria Hodges, who finished in 5:07.02.
Fil-American Kim Kilgroe was the best Philippine placer in the Pro division as she finished 10th place with a time of 4:51.10 in her debut in the IronMan 70.3. Philippine-based Dan Brown, who also carried the country’s colors, finished 31st in the Men’s Pro division with a time of 5:05.51.
Winning the relay category was Team RDAK-BLOQ Residences composed of national cyclist John Renee Mier, swimmer Loren Dale Echavez and Kenyan Eric Kibiwott Chepsiror. They finished with a time of 4:05:55.
Age-group winners were Graham Crocker (Male 65-69), Sandra Reid (Female 60-64), Josef Gueta (Male 60-64), Celma Hitalia (Female 50-54), Sin Guan Tan (Male 50-54), Keren Miers (Male 55-59), Janine Willis (Female 40-44), Christopher Eyao (Male 40-44), Anne Lavandon (Female 45-49), Todd Gilmore (Male 45-49), Baoying Lim (Female 30-34), Nikolai Jenkins (Male 30-34), Suet Fan Wong (Female 35-39), TImothy Consulich (Male 35-39), Ling Er Cho (Female 25-29) and Brian Borling (Male 25-29).
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