SUBIC – Mitch Robins ended fellow Australian Sam Betten’s 5150 reign while Guam’s Manami Iijima upended Dimity Lee Duke to crown themselves the inaugural Black Arrow Express 5150 pro champions here yesterday.
Robins fought Betten practically on even terms in the swim and bike stages then unleashed a strong finishing kick in the last of the two-loop run part to foil the three-peat champion’s bid and nail his second Philippine championship in the 1.5k swim, 40K-bike and 10K run race.
“In any day, a win is a good day. Sam (Betten) is such a tough competitor, he’s beaten me so many times. But today, I simply managed the heat a little bit better and that just gave me an advantage in the end,” said Robins, who also won here in 2013 as a first-time Philippine visitor.
But the 30-year-old champion of last year’s Bali, Indonesia triathlon and former winner of Ironman 70.3 Japan and Port Macquarie settled for runner-up honors in the last two Subic 5150 races which Betten ruled to complete a rare three-peat.
Robins timed 1:54:56, besting Betten’s 1:55:58 in completing a three-title romp in wet conditions last year. He had leg clockings of 18:32 (swim), 57:10 (bike) and 36:08 (run).
Finishing behind Betten by a mere second in the opening swim leg, Robins battled his veteran rival pedal-for-pedal in scorching heat as they turned in identical clocking in the bike stage, setting up a thrilling duel in the deciding run part which Robins ruled in 36:08 minutes behind a blistering run in the last four kilometers.
“It’s not what I hoped for but it’s a really tough race. I pushed really hard and was very happy but the result was not what I wanted in the end,” said Betten, who lost steam in sweltering condition in the stretch. He wound up with 1:56:03 with leg times of 18:31 (swim), 57:10 (bike) and 37:10 (run).
“If you look at our growth the last 10 years, it’s spectacular, so I expect to continue to grow. We’ll have more races next year and we have so many people coming into the sport. The future is really bright for triathlon,” said SEI founder and president Wilfred Uytengsu, who also vied in the event along with Black Arrow Express president/CEO Allan Brizuela.