By JONAS TERRADOLAPU-LAPU CITY – Tim Reed and Caroline Steffen reasserted their mastery against a strong field to retain supremacy in the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship held yesterday here.
Reed won his second straight title in the male pro category at three hours, 51 minutes and 46 seconds even as Steffen took the distaff side for the fifth consecutive year at 4:16:19 in the 1.9-kilometer swim, 90-km bike and 21.1-km run that ended at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa.
Three-time Ironman world champion Crowie Alexander settled for second, 3:15 off Reed, while Sam Betten took third at 3:57:15 to complete a 1-2-3 finish for Australia in the event organized by Sunrise Events and backed by Cobra Energy Drink, Ford, and Globe Telecom.
The 32-year-old Reed started slow in the swim, became part of a six-man lead group of the bike route that traversed through Marcelo Fernan Bridge, Mandaue, Cebu City and Talisay before breaking away from Alexander in the early stages of the run to claim victory.
“I think Crowie is a better runner than me, so I have to put more pressure on the bike,” said Reed. “As soon as I heat up, I can’t control myself and I was quite fast.”
Canadian Brent McMahon, the 2014 winner, fell to eighth at 4:06:15 when he faded after leading the bike to run transition at Mactan Newtown while Aussie Tim Van Berkel, who lost to Reed last year by two seconds, was a late scratch after figuring in a bike accident on the eve of the race.
The Swiss-born Steffen, who has won every Ironman 70.3 event here since the inaugural running in 2012, engaged in a tight battle with rival Radka Vodickova of Czech Republic, before building a sizeable gap in the run portion at Punta Engano Road, Discovery, and Amisa to extend her reign.
Vodickova, first time Cebu visitor, was 2:10 behind Steffen to finish second while Australian Sarah Crowley finished third overall at 4:21:53.
“It’s really unique to win the race five years in a row,” Steffen said. “I think my time was pretty faster for this kind of course. I don’t compare my previous times but I’m definitely happy that I was able to walk away with another victory.”
Meanwhile, Augusto Benedicto and Monica Torres emerged as the best local triathletes in the Filipino Elite divisions.
Benedicto, who turned 32 last Aug. 2, gave himself a late birthday by overhauling a two-minute gap to bag the male category at 4:26:46.
Torres, meanwhile, bagged the female title at 4:45:54.