IN only its fourth year, the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines has become the fastest growing Ironman 70.3 in the world, organizers said yesterday.
Daryl Herbert of USM Events, a new partner of the World Triathlon Corp. (WTC) in the Asia Pacific Region, said drawing participants from 31 countries for its fourth edition is testament to the popularity of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines.
The WTC owns all Ironman branded events.
A supporting event, the Alaska IronKids Philippine Triathlon attracted a record number of 150 participants.
It's the local version of the international IronKids that's also licensed by the WTC.
Herbert was one of the guests in yesterday afternoon's press conference dubbed as the “Meet the Pros” at the Marquee of the Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa.
Herbert credited Wilfred Steven Uytengsu Jr., president of Sunrise Events Inc. (SEI), for the event's fast growth.
He said Uytengsu is highly passionate about the event and is a friend of the Ironman.
Most importantly, he said Uytengsu has the support of stakeholders who are crucial in the development of the sport.
For the Cebu edition, Uytengsu lauded Cebu Gov. Gwendolyn Garcia and Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza for laying out the red carpet for the 1,700 participants.
As a sign of appreciation, Uytengsu offered Garcia and Paz commemorative watches from Timex, one of the event sponsors.
Uytengsu, who was born in Cebu and raised in the US, said he's very happy to have brought the race to his hometown.
The Alaska Milk Corporation president and CEO said they had a grand vision about the event four years ago.
He said he didn't think it will become this big now. “We have exceeded our expectations but more importantly we hope we will exceed your expectation,” Uytengsu said.
He said they've been looking for a home for the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines to grow for years and years to come.
“Cebu has everything to offer in terms of what makes a great event,” Uytengsu said.
Uytengsu said Cebu has the hotels and an international airport that can accommodate a large number of participants from outside the country.
Uytengsu said he hopes that the Cebuanos would bear with the inconvenience caused by the road closures and added that the millions in revenue will help compensate for it.
The Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines will start and end at the Shangri-La Resort.
The 1.9 kilometer swim will be held along Hilutungan Channel fronting Shangri-la while the 90 km bike will start from Lapu-Lapu City.
The bike ride will pass through Mandaue and Cebu via the South Road Properties all the way to Talisay.
The concluding event, the 21K run, will be done within the five barangays of Lapu-Lapu City. /Mars G. Alison, Correspondent