CEBU, Philippines –Pete Jacobs of Australia got off to a blazing start then relied on his usual belligerent finish in the run, which he calls his “lethal weapon,” to win the 4th Cobra Energy Drink ronman 70.3 Philippines at the posh Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort & Spa in this beautiful province.
Jacobs, who is Alaska Milk Ambassador, timed 4 hours 7 minutes and 38 seconds to win his third consecutive title. He was the first out of the water but four-time Cobra Ironman competitor Cam Brown of New Zealand briefly grabbed lead in the bike ride. The two were virtually neck-and-neck at the early stage of the run until Jacobs imposed his will and stepped up the pace to win the race convincingly.
Jacobs said the conditions were not as oppressive as previous editions of the Cobra Ironman and the huge crowd of fans lining the race route, virtually from end to end, cheering them on helped a lot.
“It was really hot. So that was a big challenge for us. There was a headwind coming in one direction. But we had a tailwind coming back so that helped. It was great to hear the fans cheering and supporting us along the way,” said Jacobs.
According to Cebu Province Governor Gwen Garcia the biggest winner was the province of Cebu who not only earned tourist dollars from visitors but was also the focus of worldwide media attention during the race.
“We are happy to host the biggest sports event in the Philippines this year. With guests from 31 countries Cebu is now at the center of the world map. This is a big boost for sports tourism in Cebu which will earn millions of pesos for the province,” said Governor Garcia.
Motor racing superstar and 2009 Formula One World Champion Jenson Button, who has painstakingly earned a name in triathlon as well, joined the race with girlfriend Japanese fashion and lingerie model Jessica Michibata, who competed in the relays. He finished with a respectable time of 4:35:39.
Brown timed 4:09:01. Matt O’Halloran was third with a time of 4:19:32. Erich Felbabel was fourth with a time of 4:27:24.
Caroline Steffen adds to her collection of victories by winning the women’s category here with a time of 4:20:48. Steffen is part of Alaska Team TBB.
Steffen is so dominant that she actually placed sixth overall coming in just behind male professionals Jacobs, Brown and O’Halloran as well as outstanding amateurs Assad Attamimi and Thomas Vonach.
“I was jetlagged. I was surprised with the heat. I didn’t feel happy this morning. I wasn’t happy with the swim because of the waves. My body wasn’t ready because I had to wake up really early. So I just attacked the other girls in the run and it paid off,” said Steffen.
Bree Wee took home second place in the women’s category while defending Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines women’s champion Belinda Granger checked in at third place.
Wee timed 4:27:24. Granger finished in 4:32:09. Amanda Stevens was fourth with a time of 4:36:19. Michelle Wu was fifth with a time of 4:37:07.
Alaska Milk Ambassador Jacobs is not the only multi title winner here. Herbalife’s Monica Torres won the Cobra Energy Drink 70.3 Philippines women’s local elite title. This is the fourth title in a row for Torres.
“I had fun. The fans cheering really helped. I enjoyed the entire course with the rows upon rows of people who were cheering. I particularly liked the children who chanted: ‘Where are you going?’ Then they answered themselves: ‘The finish line.’ So that was really fun to hear them,” said Torres.
August Benedicto surprised all the experts when he upended the favorites to top the Filipino Elite Male with time of 4:27:39. Franklin Penalosa placed second with a time of 4:35:28. Mendel Lopez was third with 4:39:24. Benjamin Rafa Jr. was fifth with 4:43:17. The biggest name was Noy Jopson who could only manage fourth place with 4:43:15.
The race started with a 1.2-mile swim in the sea which started and finished at the beachfront of the posh Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa. It was followed by a 56-mile bike ride which traversed four cities ( Lapu Lapu, Mandaue, Cebu City and Talisay). The race concluded with 13.1-mile run at Punta Engano, Lapu Lapu City.
Other sponsors of the event are Alaska Milk Corp., Century Tuna, David’s Salon, Intercare, K-Swiss, Oakley, Timex and Powerade with Multi-Sports magazine, The Philippine STAR, Studio 23, BE Resorts, Crimson Resort & Spa, Finisher Prix, Shangri-La, Movenpick and Radisson Blu.
The winners were awarded one-of-a-kind commemorative medals designed by world-renowned furniture designer Kenneth Cobonpue. His piece consists of three pearl white metal loops with each loop carrying red miniature figures of the three disciplines of swimming, cycling and running of the Ironman.
Cebu province Governor Garcia fired off the starting gun as the athletes churned the waters trying to gain a head start in the open water swim. The strongest competitors took off first: the professional Ironman and triathlon athletes, the Filipino male and female elite runners, and age groupers 30 to 49 years old.
Mayor Paz Radaza of Lapu Lapu City, site of the swim portion of the race, fired the gun a second time to send off the second wave of athletes. The relay teams of Alaska Team TBB, Polo Tri, Herbalife Tri Team, splashed into the cold waters of the open water swim. With them are the other age groupers eager to show what they can do.
Jacobs, known more for brutalizing fellow competitors in the final run portion of the race, was out of the water first. It was an uncharacteristic strategy for the Three-Pete seeking Jacobs.
Alaska Milk President and CEO Fred Uytengsu, a contestant for the male 50-and-above age group, finished the swim part of the race but did not complete the entire course.
This year’s staging of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines, with 1,700 participants from 31 countries, is the biggest sporting event in Cebu this year.
Broadcast journalist and TV personality Kim Atienza, showed he has the lungs for this event, was strong out of the cold waters and finished the swim part of the race. Kuya Kim, as he is more popularly known, is host of a plethora of TV programs including Showtime and Matanglawin.