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Bigger, tougher Ironman up

Over 2,100 entries from a record 57 nations gear up for another duel of power and endurance in the second Regent Aguila IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships presented by Philam Vitality set Aug. 11 at Shangri-La Mactan Resort & Spa in Cebu.

The huge field is headlined by 20 pros in the biggest gathering of elite triathletes in the eighth staging of the grueling 1.9K swim, 90K bike, 21K run event that also features the Asian Elite division and 11 other age categories in what has long been considered as the country’s triathlon hub.

Mexican Mauricio Mendez and Czech Radka Kahlefeldt have confirmed participation in the event organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. and which they ruled in varying fashions last year following their romps in IRONMAN 70. 3 Davao.

But the two expect a tougher, fierce challenge this time with former champions Tim Reed and Sam Betten out to re-stamp their class and fellow Aussies Tim Van Berkel, Luke McKenzie, Mitch Robins, Lindsey Lawry and Blake Kappler joining the title chase.

Boosting the men’s pro cast are Bahrain’s Eric Watson, Czech Jakub Langhammer, New Zealand’s Terenzo Bozzone and American Justin Ghost.

Out to foil Kahlefeldt’s back-to-back title drive in the women’s side are multi-titled Swiss Caroline Steffen and Aussie Dimity Lee Duke, Hungarian Anna Eberhardt, Great Britain’s Francesca Sanjana and Courtney Gilfillan, Amanda Wilson and Lauren Wood of Australia.

The event, sponsored by Aguila Energy Drink, also lured bets from Canada, Ireland, Austria, Macao, Russia, Syria, Vietnam, Chile, China, Bermuda, Colombia, Hong Kong, Japan, Italy, Guam, Pitcairn, Morocco, Kenya, Brazil, Brunei, Egypt, India, Kuwait, Cambodia;

France, Indonesia, Luxembourg, Kuwait, New Caledonia, Romania, the US, United Kingdom, South Korea, UAE, Spain, Qatar, South Africa, Singapore, Turkey, Ukraine, Myanmar, the Netherlands, Taiwan and Poland.

The huge entry list underscores the event’s tremendous pull both from the local and international campaigners gearing up for another explosive finish the way it was when Mendez and Kahlefeldt ruled their respective divisions last year.

A former Xterra World Champion, Mendez came in second in the opening swim leg then rallied in the bike and run stages to win in three hours, 46 minutes and 45 seconds.

“If I would rate this race, this is among the top three races of my life. I don’t know how to describe how happy I am,” said Mendez, who finished second in the 2017 edition of the annual event backed by Alaska, 2GO, Asics, Gatorade, David’s Salon, Mont St. Michel, Lightwater, TYR, GU, Prudential Guarantee, Mactan Newtown, Red Crab, Sun Life Financial and Teresa Marble.

For details, visit www.ironman.com/philippines70.3 with official hashtags #IM703Philippines, #AguilaIM703 with social media accounts (Facebook) aguilaIM703PH, (twitter) aguilaim703ph, (Instagram) aguilaim703ph.

Spicing up the event are the Herbalife IronGirl 5k run on Aug, 9 and Alaska IronKids on Aug. 10.

Topics: Regent Aguila IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships , Asian Elite , Mauricio Mendez , Radka Kahlefeldt
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