August Benedicto and Banjo Norte brace for a showdown along with four other Filipino triathletes setting out for a battle royale for the Asian Elite crown in the first Penong’s 5150 Triathlon unfolding Sunday at the Waterfront Hotel in Davao.
Benedicto, a four-time champion in IRONMAN 70,3 Philippines, and Norte, a three-time winner, are tipped to dispute top honors worth P30,000 in the event held side-by-side with the centerpiece pro category over the Olympic distance of 1.5k swim-40k bike-10k run.
Out to spoil the duo’s title bid are Leonard Rondina, who like Benedicto is a finisher of the first full IRONMAN Philippines in Subic last year, and fellow veteran campaigners Raymond Torio, Juan Carlos Abad and Jorry Ycong.
They will be among the hundreds of endurance racers vying in various age-group divisions and seeking to steal the spotlight from the pros in the event which drew participants from Japan, Kuwait, United Kingdom, Australia, Panama, New Zealand, Spain, the US, Korea, Singapore, Japan, Italy, France, Greece, Guam, South Africa and Czech Republic.
Aussie Mitch Robins, Czech Jakub Langhammer and Kiwi Kieran McPherson headline the men’s pro cast while Thailand-based Dimity Lee Duke and Lisa Tyack of Australia and New Zealand’s Laura Wood will slug it out in the women’s side of the centerpiece event organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. and put up by Davao’s favorite barbecue house Penong’s Barbecue and Seafoods Grill.
“All of us from Penong’s are thrilled to headline the inaugural 5150 triathlon here in Davao. This race is a great opportunity to welcome new and upcoming triathletes that also showcases the growth of Penong’s where we started out as a marketing sponsor for IRONMAN 70.3 and now we have our own race, right here in Davao,” said Ma. Teresa Regis, who with fellow triathlete Vanessa Mae Uy co own Penong’s Barbecue Seafood & Grill.