By GB CLAVERIA
PILI, Camarines Sur – Preparations are shifting into high gear for the staging of the “Ironman 70.3 Philippines” on Aug. 22 being brought for the second time to Camarines Sur by Governor LRay Villafuerte that will see the participation of some 600 of the elite multi-sport athletes from 30 countries.
This year’s Ironman 70.3 is the second edition of the Asian series of the Ironman championships brought to the Philippines for the first time last year by the Camarines Sur provincial government, Alaska Milk Corporation CEO Wilfred Steven Uytengsu Jr. who is himself a triathlete, and Asia Brewery headed by its vice president, Hubert Tan.
Terenzo Bozzone who won the Men’s Professional championship here last year is considered the man to beat in this year’s skirmishes. An accomplished multi-sport athlete who thrives well in hot weather, the Philippines and his home country New Zealand coincidentally having similar tropical climate, Bozzone will have a distinct advantage over his rivals from Western countries.
Also registered to participate is Australian Pete Jacobs, a swimming ace who finished fourth in last year’s Ironman 70.3 Philippines as well as top-notch Hawaiian Bree Wee who also bagged fourth of the women’s professional division last year.
Other big names in the multi-sports registered are Kiwi now living in Australia; Paul Amey with his cap of colourful duathlon and triathlon triumphs; Fredrick Croneborg of Sweden, another power swimmer who finished sixth in the Men’s Pro category last year; Lance Watson, Olympic Gold Medal and Ironman Champion Coach; Leon Griffin, 2006 ITU World Duathlon Champion and 2nd in Ironman 70.3 Geelong 2010 in Australia; Justin Cole of Australia; Philippine based Wayne Dearing; and Erich Felbabel from Hongkong.
Rated women triathletes include Rachel Paxton of Australia and Magali Tisseyre of Canada.
Set on giving them a run for the money is the horde of 571 other triathletes including a large number of Filipino triathlon veterans as well as new converts who cropped up after the sensational race last year, aside from triathletes from United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, China, Vietnam, Hongkong, Sweden, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam, Germany, Japan, France, Mexico, Peru, Ireland, Austria, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Netherlands, South Africa, Korea, Northern Mariana Islands, Spain, Taiwan, Czech Republic, and Singapore.
Homegrown athletes are led by veterans of last year’s race Nonoy Jopson, conceded the number one Filipino Ironman and Heracleo “Leo” Oracion, the first Filipino ever to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. Other multi-sport standouts are Senator Pia Cayetano, Tessa Valdez, Dyan Castillejo, and Wilfred Steven Uytengsu.
Host Camarines Sur will also field three relay teams sponsored by Governor Villafuerte, two men’s team including top local swimming, running and cycling athletes and a women team that will include CamSur’s first lady Lara Villafuerte.
The Ironman 70.3 is a combination of three sports disciplines – 1.2 miles (almost 2 kilometers) of swimming, 56 miles (over 90 kilometers) of cycling 13.1 miles (over 21 kilometers) of running for a total distance of 70.3 miles of over 113 kilometers.
The swim segment will start at one end of Lago del Rey down the rounded end turnaround and back, transfer to the CWC Cable Lake going about three-fourths of the lake island before transition to the biking stage, which will run the southern course of the national highway, turn left at Anayan Pili to the Fuentebella Highway up to the town proper of Tigaon, turn to Sangay proper and another turn left toward the turnaround at Nato Port, then back to the CWC.
The run portion start at the bike transition beside the CWC, skirt a part of Lago del Rey towards Barangay Maycatmon down to the San Antonio, both in Milaor town, turnaround and back the same route to CWC for loop around the Lago del Rey towards the finish line.