Tim Reed: Cebu crowd was the best

By: Mars G. Alison August 13,2019 - 06:45 PM

The top finishers in Sunday’s Regent Aguila IronMan 70.3 Philippines Cebu (from L-R) Asian Elite champion Nikko Huelgas, male pro third placer Tim Van Berkel, male pro champion Tim Reed, female pro champion Caroline Steffen, female pro second placer Dimity Lee Duke, female pro third placed Courtney Gilfillan and Asian Elite second placer August Benedicto. | Gerard Vincent Francisco

CEBU CITY, Philippines – The IronMan 70.3 Philippines Cebu once again cemented itself as the most spectator-friendly race anywhere else in the world. And, it is also the race that most participants voted as the race that they want to return to year after year.

Since 2012, participants especially the professional elites have been raving about the support that the crowd lined up on the race course have been giving them.

And, they have openly admitted how the crowd’s cheers have been a big factor in pushing them onwards to the finish line.

Both male pro champion Tim Reed of Australia and female pro champion Caroline Steffen have always maintained that the Cebu race is very special to them.   

“The crowd is the best of any triathlon in the world. It’s just amazing atmosphere, pushes you to your absolute limits, so I just can’t thank the crowd enough and the people of Cebu, the government of Cebu, Sunrise Events, this is such a special race for me,” said Reed who clinched his fourth title here last Sunday.

After the race, Reed, who was hobbled by cramps in the 21-kilometer run that capped the IronMan, even said that if it wasn’t in Cebu, he wasn’t sure he would have made it to the finish line.

“It was I think the toughest run I’ve ever done and I know if it was any other race, I’m not sure I could push through with those cramps but I was getting so much support out there and I just managed to hold on,” said Reed.

The 2016 IronMan 70.3 world champion also expressed hopes of having the Cebu South Coastal Road (CSCR) as the race’s permanent bike course.

“This bike course is far superior, it’s just very safe and you’ve got a clean road ahead of you pretty much the whole day. There’s no overlapping with age group athletes so it’s a fantastic way of using the course and I hope that it stays this way,” said Reed, who completed the 90k bike course in two hours and six minutes (2:06), about six minutes ahead of his opponents.

Steffen, for her part, also made no secret about loving to race here in Cebu.

“I love the people here. I love the course and I’m just so relax and happy when I’m in Cebu. I love the mangoes in the morning, and I love the ocean swimming. It’s just the environment,” said Steffen, who clinched her sixth title here including last Sunday’s race.

Steffen won here for five consecutive times from 2012 to 2016, she missed the race in 2017 as she just gave birth to her son then placed second last year.

Female pro third placer Courtney Gilfillan, who is racing here for the first time, said she’s had an amazing experience in Cebu.

“The hospitality was amazing, absolutely incredible, from the lead up into the race to today, it was more than I could imagine, amazing! And, the experience today was incredible,” said Gilfillan referring to Sunday’s race.

The Australian added that she’s heard how amazing it was with the spectators on the course, and she finally got to experience it herself last Sunday.

“The support is incredible and on that run course, the people were amazing, I’ve never experienced anything like it, and the music, the cheering, they were so good. Thank you everyone, you’ve all been amazing,” gushed Gilfillan.

It is no wonder then that this year’s participants numbered to 2,300 coming from a record number of 57 countries. /dcb

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