It was a front row seat of an awesome show with hundreds of triathlete completing the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay. The participants navigated the 1.9-kilometer Swim course at Acea Subic, a 90-kilometer rolling bike course and a hot and humid 21.1 kilometer around Subic last March 6, 2016. At the end of the 70.3 distance, Craig “Crowie” Alexander and Caroline “Xena” Steffen topped the male and female categories, respectively.
Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay
I was given a chance to cover the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 over the weekend and it was like getting a front row ticket to witness human will triumph over a challenging and hot Swim, Bike and Run Course. It was seeing different stories from storied Pros gunning for the championship, elite athletes showcasing their skills, the age groupers gunning for the best and finishing at a decent time. Finishing the 70.3 distance is not an easy feat as it means months or years of build up in the 3 disciplines. Despite the struggles and the sacrifices, it was surely worth the effort when it comes to the finish line.
The Pros and The Elites
Just being in front with the Pros is an amazing experience on its own. They have conquered Olympic distances, half and full Ironman distances all over the world at record breaking times. For them, it has been a lifetime of being excellent in the sport. At meet the Pros, we get an idea of how their mind works before a race. There’s the defending champion Tim Reed committed on defending his title. There’s Craig “Crowie” Alexander who’s now a legend in his own right even as he’s racing at 42 years old. There’s several up and comers and wild cards that can spring in surprises on race day. For the Women division division, there’s Caroline “Xena”Steffen who’s the favorite owing to her numerous championship. The road to another championship won’t be easy though as the other pros are determined to give her a good fight as well.
Race day was a much more exciting coverage. Sam Betten was the first Pro out of the water with a slim 2 seconds lead over the chasers pack. Over the bike leg, Patrick Lange of Germany would take over the lead at the bike leg and would be the first to transition to the run leg.
The run leg was the most heartbeat-stopping part as Craig Alexander slowly chased down Patrick Lange and was able to set a comfortable lead to finish on top at 3:48:56. Crowie adds another title to his legendary career. Patrick Lange finished in second while Tim Reed came in third.
Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen secured first place over Czech Republic’s Radka Vodickova (04:14:51), and Dimity-Lee Duke (04:23:52). It was a tight battle between Steffen and Vodickova who led the female pro division throughout the race. Steffen took over the run leg en route to her championship.
August Benedicto (04:20:15) won the men’s Filipino elite division, followed by Ben-jamin Rana Jr. (04:33:23) and Jorry Ycong (04:35:48) while Monica Torres (04:39:45) clinched the top spot of the women’s Filipino elite division over Maria Hodges (05:16:20) and Ani Karina Brown (6:46:03)
While the focal point of the coverage were the Pros and Elites, I was also invested on the results of the Age Groupers. These are the people who I often get to see on races and group training’s. These are the people who really invested training time just to be race ready. Key race is like graduation where you get to see the results of months of preparation.
The swim leg had a rolling start. Each triathlete were seeded based on expected swim finish time and were released every 5 seconds. This was the first time the rolling start was used for this race and I can see that it was more effective as every was in the water in matter of minutes. The water was more cooperative this time compared to the last Ironman 70.3 in Cebu last year, which gave the participant a better chance of navigating the 1.9 kilometer swim in 70 minutes.
After the swim leg, the participants went on to navigate 90 kilometers rolling course along Subic and SCTEX. It was a hot and humid morning which made the bike course a lot more challenging. Despite the challenge, it was a chance to appreciate the scenery and have the rare chance to ride at SCTEX.
By the time the Pros and Elites were finished in the race, the age groupers were slowly moving forward to the run leg. It’s a 21.1 kilometer course and the participants had to fight of the heat of the morning. The race has shifted to a mental challenge. Aside from physical fatigue, they also get to bear the heat of the sun. At the end of the day, it’s the will of the participants to finish that prevails. Some were able to set new personal best and some were able to meet their goals. Congratulations to all the finishers!!!
Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 “Hot Weekend”
It was a hot race during the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay. It was even hotter the day before as the Century Tuna Superbods finalists and the country’s top triathletes went on to join the Underpants Run, which raised over $2,000 for National Greening Program of the SBMA Center. There was also an expo for the top brands in the triathlon scene, which was open for participants and supporters. The kids also showed their wares in the Alaska Ironkids held last March 5, 2016.
Photos of the Event
Please see several albums for the event below: