More fun in Cebu triathlon: ‘It’s like Disneyland here’

By: Marian Z. Codilla August 04,2015 - 12:42 AM
Australian Belinda Granger cruise her way along Plaridel street in Mandaue City. She finished 5th in the female pro category. (CDN PHOTO/ TONEE DESPOJO)

Australian Belinda Granger cruise her way along Plaridel street in Mandaue City. She finished 5th in the female pro category. (CDN PHOTO/ TONEE DESPOJO)

The fun factor in Sunday’s Cobra Ironman 70.3 races in Cebu has left a deep impression on foreign participants.

“I was talking to an age-grouper from UK and asked about the race,” said Australia’s Belinda Granger, 5th placer in the women’s professional category.

“He said this is the Hollywood of triathlon. It’s like Disneyland here. And I said that is the perfect way to describe the race,” Granger said during the press conference honoring this year’s champs.

Granger is set to end her 20-year stint in professional triathlon. She said her races in Cebu were memorable.

“Cebu has made a huge impact in my life that is why I keep coming back here every year. I can say this without a doubt because I have raced around the world, that this is one of the best countries in the world to set a new sport record,” she said.

 

PRO Belinda Granger gives her message. #cobraironman703

Posted by Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines on Sunday, August 2, 2015

Granger has been joining the past Iroman 70.3 events in Cebu for four years in a row.

Sunrise Events Inc. (SEI) CEO and president Wilfred Steven Uytengsu said it has always been the warm welcome and enthusiasm of the Cebuanos that kept athletes from around the world coming back to the Philippines.

A total of 2,618 participants signed up for the swim-bike-run competitions last Sunday that had athletes speeding through roads in cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue, Cebu and Talisay City.

Over 700 of them were foreigners.

“Tens of thousands of spectators who lined the street shoulder to shoulder, from bike to swim to run… that lifted not just the hearts (of the athletes) to perform better but also the age-groupers. This is what makes it special. I think this is what makes our races in the Philippines special,” Uytengsu said.

“For everyone in Cebu, we really thank you for making the race special,” he continued.

Some parts of the 90-kilometer bike route and 21-kilometer marathon route lacked marshals. Incidents of spectators crossing the roads to get a glimpse of celebrities or crowding into the race area were reported.

A wayward stray dog crossed the path of a young triathlete in the IronKids cycling race on Saturday.

DANGER. A participant struggles to evade a dog which blocked her path during the bike leg of the Alaska Ironkids race at Punta Engaño in Mactan. (CDN PHOTO/ JUNJIE MENDOZA)

DANGER. A participant struggles to evade a dog which blocked her path during the bike leg of the Alaska Ironkids race at Punta Engaño in Mactan. (CDN PHOTO/ JUNJIE MENDOZA)

Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen, first placer in the women’s pro category, crashed and fell off her bike in the South Coastal Road after 20 people suddenly crossed the road excited to see a celebrity who passed on the opposite lane.

Despite these pockets of disorder, professional triathlete still think that the people along the road are the best part of the race.

In a Facebook post, third placer Dimity-Lee Duke of Australia said the crowd is a confidence booster.

“Good confidence booster at Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines. Awesome atmosphere with so many spectators on course cheering everyone on,” Duke said.

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TAGS: Cebu, Cobra Ironman 70.3, Ironman 70.3 news, triathlon

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