“Alexander the Great” widened his rule, this time extending it to the Pearl of the Orient.
Australian triathlete Craig Alexander did not waste any opportunity racing on Philippine soil, zooming past his rivals off the half-marathon stage to be crowned this year’s Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 pro male champion on Sunday here in Subic, Pampanga.
Alexander, a 3-time Ironman World Champion, tirelessly and slowly overtook leader Patrick Lange of Germany through his well-paced strides in the running stage amidst the scorching heat to clinch his first Ironman title in the country, crossing the finish line in just 3 hours,48 minutes and 56 seconds.
“It’s never easy, when there’s some hills on the course and a lot of humidity, but i felt strong, I just tried to be smart, make sure I drink enough and it seems it paid a lot of dividends in me,” said the 42-year-old Alexander after his debut race in the country.
Lange (3:50:45) settled for the second spot after huffing the final stage despite of an incredible cycling pull away, while defending champion Tim Reed (3:52:28) played catch-up all the way and could only manage a third place finish this time.
“It’s always nice to win, specially against guys like Tim (Reed) and Tim (Van Berkel), they are world-class,” added the veteran 70.3-kilometer racer.
The triumph in Subic was sweeter for Alexander, with him failing to suit up in the Subic leg last year due to a hectic schedule and a minor back injury.
Unable to join the ultimate test of athletic endurance in the 1.9-kilometer swim, 90-kilometer bike, and 21-kilometer run event in 2015, Alexander used his visit in the country to prepare under the weather condition to come back stronger this time around.
“I knew how hot it could be but if you notice in Sydney, we also had a very hot summer and I knew I did a lot of training in that condition,” shared Alexander.
In the women’s pro division, Caroline Steffen, 38, meant business from start to finish, as she held the front pack the whole race to claim another 70.3 distance triathlon title, clocking 4 hours 9 minutes, 40 seconds.
On her tail were Radka Vodickova of Czech Republic (4:14:51) and Dimity-Lee Duke of Australia (04:23:52) who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Augusto Benedicto beat his personal-record and raced wildly in the half-marathon stage to be the first Filipino elite in the finish line with fellowmen Paul Jumamil following closely. – By Jason Mercene
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