All the top foreign pros competing in the 2017 Bellevue 5150 elite triathlon have nothing but praises for the province of Bohol.
Beautiful, welcoming, exotic, friendly, scenic and breathtaking.
These were the top-of-mind adjectives that they came out with when asked to describe Bohol in one word. At the center of its splendor is the pristine Panglao Island which boasts not only of its natural wonders and sceneries but also its artistic, cultural and historical treasures.
For fourth straight year, Bellevue Resort in Panglao Island is hosting the international swim-bike-run event that attracted some of the elite triathletes in the world.
One of those smitten with Panglao’s splendor is Australian Dimity-Lee Duke who is making her third visit for the 2017 edition of the Bellevue Resort 5150, as she sees action in the elite 1.5k swim, 40k bike an and 10k run championship event that fires off today here.
Duke, who placed second behind Amelia Watkinson of New Zealand in last year’s edition, wants to make sure she finally takes the plum against other crack competitors on a course that has the entire field wrapped in excitement for its breathtaking landscape.
“I’m looking forward to racing in such an iconic location showcasing what the Philippines has to offer,” said Duke of the world-class resort.
Panglao Island has also become a haven for weekend travelers and city folk looking for rest and relaxation. “It’s a boutique location with a beautiful beach and a wonderful local community, making it a highlight in my racing calendar,” added Duke, who is fresh from winning the Regent 5150 in Subic recently.
Watkinson won’t be around to defend her title so expect Duke to duke it out in a three-way battle in the women’s division with compatriot Kerry Morris, who left his engineering career six month ago to go full time into triathlon, and American Laurel Wassner.
Morris said Bohol’s green sceneries have captivated her. It’s unfortunate that she’s seeing it for the last time.
And today (Sunday), she has to do is focus herself on the competition. “Engineering is like very long hours, very hard work. It’s too hard to juggle them both so it thought I’d go 100 percent triathlon for now and go back to engineering late.”
Wassner, a professional photographer, blogger and a cancer survivor, is also expected to provide stiff competition as she is coming off with back-to-back victories in the recent Ironman Taiwan and the Israman Iron Distance Triathlon.
Defending men’s champion, Sam Betten, also from Australia, is also just as excited to come back and retain his crown.
“Bohol is a dream destination and I have enjoyed coming to the event the last two years and am very excited to be back for the third time,” he said. “I really believe Bohol is a perfect destination for triathletes and holiday travelers alike. It is a great feeling to have the opportunity to return to this stunning location every year.”
This is the 4th consecutive year that the Bohol plays host to the 5150 race that attracted nearly 500 triathletes, 87 of them competing in the elite category. Bellevue is title sponsor for second straight year.
Betten faces tough opposition from compatriot Teem Reed, who is participating for the first time. Reed prides himself with illustrious profile and familiarity of the Philippines. He dominated the Cebu Ironman Triathlon for the last three years. He is coming off successive runner-up finishes in the tough IRONMAN Rcie and Coeur d Alene.
But what makes Betten more confident is that he’s more suitable to short races than long-distance events like half and full ironman. Still, what excite him is the lush greeneries and the vast, blue waters that serve as beautiful backdrop for the race.
“I’m looking forward to going out there and racing hard at the beautiful location.”
Reed admitted that his chances have dimmed a bit with him getting slower as he ages. Add to the fact that “I haven’t raced (short distances) in two, three years.” I’m not really sure, I might get a little slower as I’ve gotten older.”
Bellevue Resort’s general manager Rommel Gonzales said he personally wants to retain the 5150 with Bohol, especially now that the organizing Sunrise event has introduced the Sunrise Sprint, a short distance race series and a sub-category of The Bellevue 5i50 featuring a 750m swim, a 20k bike and a 5k run also for the second time in Bohol.
Hundreds of local tourists and enthusiasts have signed up for the event in preparation for the full triathlon in the future.
“We have added Sunrise sprints for 15 years old and above triathletes. It’s for the young ones and those who have not done triathlon for a long time want to gain back their confidence,” said Princes Galura, general manager of Sunrise Events Inc.
It’s the second time that the Sunrise sprint is being implemented here. Celebrities Gerald Anderson and Jake Cuenca, along with top Cebuanos Jorry Ycong, Paul Jumami, Emmanuel Commendator, and Benedicto Edward Macalalad are seing action.
The Bellevue 5i50 also caps SEI’s triathlon calendar for the year that included the Alaska IronKids series, Xterra Danao, Ironman 70.3 Subic and Regent 5150 Subic.
The event is presented by the Department of Tourism and Tourism Promotions Board of the Philippines and backed by venue hosts Province of Bohol and The Bellevue Resort, bike and run course partner Municipality of Panglao, bike course partner Municipality of Dauis, official courier and logistics partner 2GO Express, official hydration partners Powerade and Wilkins Pure, official swim cap Tyr, official hotel Bellevue Resort, official registration partner Active Network. Other sponsors are David’s Salon, Gu, Intercare and Pioneer, while The Philippine Star, Trilife, Asiatri.com and Finisherpix are media partners, Alcoplus, Bohol Bee Farm, Cetaphil, Daylong, Devant, Regent Sanicare, Ssangyong, Storck and Timex are the marketing partners.
Subic plays host to the 5150 next year.
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