Return of IronMan in Cebu a blessing, says organizer
CEBU CITY, Philippines—Cebu braces for a huge triathlon event come August 7, 2022 as the IronMan 70.3 Philippines returns with over 1,800 triathletes from 40 countries.
Sunrise Events Inc. (SEI) and Ironman Group Philippines general manager Princess Galura told CDN Digital that they are fielding in a massive number of triathletes to mark the return of the grandest triathlon race in Asia.
This year’s comeback race will start and end at the Mactan Newtown in Lapu-Lapu City.
The IronMan 70.3 Philippines will feature a 1.9-kilometer swim, 90k bike, and 21k run course.
This year’s number may not be as many compared to the previous editions of the IronMan in Cebu, but considering the challenges brought by the Covid-19 pandemic and Super Typhoon Odette last December, Galura and the rest of the organizing team are excited to be able to draw this much triathletes.
Galura admitted it wasn’t an easy task bringing back the IronMan event to Cebu
In an interview with CDN Digital, Galura said that they’ve overcame many challenges along the way just to make the race here possible.
“Para lang makabalik sa karera na ganitong level, having 1,800 triathletes, that’s already a blessing. I’ve known Cebu as really fun, spectacular, amazing, but we all know times have changed after the Typhoon Odette, after the pandemic. Triathletes also have their challenges. So, I think by being at the starting line for all of us from sponsors, government, participants, it is a start,” said Galura during last Sunday’s Sun Life 5150 & Go For Gold Sprint in Panglao Island, Bohol.
The largest number of participants in the IronMan races in Cebu was 2,967 in the 2016 edition. Triathletes from 43 countries joined that race.
The return of the IronMan 70.3 Philippines marks the end of its two-and-a-half year hiatus due to the pandemic.
The IronMan in Cebu this year is expected to offer participants a whole different racing experience.
The main highlight of this year’s race is the 90-kilometer bike route that traverses the iconic 8.9-kilometer Cebu-Cordova Link Expressway (CCLEX).
Mactan Newtown will also host the international triathlon race for the first time since 2012. Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa hosted the race ever since.
“We’re also looking forward to have Shangri-La back, maybe in the future. They too have challenges because of Odette. Lahat tayo may kanya-kanyang challenges, my message is that by being there, all together again, 1,800 people from over 40 countries, that’s not bad guys. So, we have to give ourselves a tap on the back by being able to survive Covid-19 and by being able to be at the starting line,” said Galura.
Galura said they are 85-percent ready for the race. She said her team will be in Cebu this week to meet with various teams, including the Lapu-Lapu City and Cordova town LGUs, to iron out things regarding their preparations.
According to Galura, they are confident that they will utilize the Pilipog-Gabi Coastal Road Project that connects CCLEX, Cordova, and Lapu-Lapu City for the bike route.
The Pilipog-Gabi Coastal Road Project is expected to be completed this month according to Galura.
“The Pilipog-Gabi Coastal Road Project according to Mayor will finish in July. It is in coordination with DPWH, so we will monitor that progress. It is going to be a very fantastic race because have a new race central in Mactan Newtown, we have new transition from swim, bike, and we are coming back to Cebu after two years,” added Galura.
Last June, the Department of Health in Central Visayas advised the technical working group of the Ironman 70.3 Philippines to prohibit unvaccinated triathletes to participate in the race.
However, Galura said that they are planning to reconsider the decision advised by the DOH-7. She was told by Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan that it is a discrimination to bar unvaccinated triathletes to compete in the international triathlon event.
“Actually yan ang payo sa amin sa DOH-7. Pero, we are continuing to discuss with Mayor Ahong, because mayor doesn’t want to discriminate. So, hopefully in this meeting this week, we will get better directions and clarity on how they want to handle the vaccinated and unvaccinated.”
Amidst all the challenges, Galura wants to send a message to everyone involved in the upcoming race.
“It’s never going to be as perfect as it was in the past, but I’m sure it’s going to be a lot of fun because more than anything else, more than the luxury, we all comeback together, we come back healthy, we’re alive, we’re able to do it. We’re on this together, let us continue and rise above the challenge,” she said.
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