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Betten-Reed duel looms in Panglao

By Waylon Galvez

PANGLAO, BOHOL – Sam Betten of Australia expects a tough competition from a compact field that includes his compatriot and reigning Ironman champion Tim Reed as he goes for a third straight title in the 5150 Bellevue Resort Triathlon today at the Bellevue Resort here.

Though Reed is competing in the event for the first time, the 6-foot-4 Betten is convinced the reigning Ironman World Champion will be hard to crack.

Sam Betten

Sam Betten

“It’s going to be a really tough race,” said Betten, who placed third in the 70.3 Ironman in Cebu last August. “We’ve had some battles, he won in longer distances like in Cebu (Ironman).”

But the short course – or the Olympic distance of 51.50 kilometers – is cut out for him and he would like to take advantage of that.

Close to 300 participants will navigate a distance of 1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run in this event organized by Sunrise Events Inc. and backed by title sponsor The Bellevue Resort.

“I think I’m a little bit more suited in this distance than he (Reed) is, he’s usually racing in longer distances – the half and full Ironman. Also, I’m fresher and I hope I can push the pace, which is I want to do.”

As for racing again here in this beautiful location, Betten said it’s like his homecourt as he will not only be up against Reed, but also against compatriots Alex Polizzi and Dan Brown, and Rwanda’s Gabe Manner.

“It’s so much like coming home,” said the 29-year-old Betten.

“It’s a beautiful and perfect place to race, and so far we’ve got an amazing weather, and it’s just amazing to be back here again. I’m looking forward to going out there… and racing hard,” he added.

Reed, who ruled the Ironman 70.3 the last three years, said competing in the event is a challenge itself.

“It’s going to be tough, even if it’s a short race. You’ve just got to go hard and make it difficult for him (Betten).”

“I haven’t raced in two, three years (in short distance), and I’m not really sure, I might get a little slower as I’ve gotten older. I hope I have a good chance of winning,” added the 32-year-old Reed.

In the women’s side, Dimity Lee Duke of Australia is likewise ready as she aims for the title after coming up short last year when New Zealand’s Amelia Watkinson took the championship.