Tragedy, triumph at Cobra Ironman 70.3
Cebu’s hosting of one of the biggest events in the country, the Cobra Ironman 70.3 last Aug. 5, 2012 in Lapu- Lapu City, was a huge success, but it also had a layer of tragedy. Earning mostly great reviews from the pros because of the crowd and the tough route, the triathlon, which attracted 1,600 local and foreign participants, saw Australian Pete Jacobs outlasting Cameron Brown for his third crown in 4: 07: 38. That was 16 minutes slower than his time of 3: 51: 43 when he won the event during its last staging in Camarines Sur but, as it turns out, fantastic preparation for his first world championship a less than 12 weeks later. “The supporters were amazing. I consider this as the toughest 70.3 race I’ve done,” said Jacobs, who pulled away from Brown five kilometers before the finish line. Brown finished second in 4: 09: 01, while Mathie O’Halloran, a Canadian now competing for the
Philippines, placed third in 4: 19: 32. In the women’s division, it was a runaway finish. Caroline Steffen won the title in 4: 20: 48, almost seven minutes ahead of Bree Wee ( 4: 27: 24), while 2011 champion Belinda Granger earned third place in 4: 32: 09. Granger had nothing but praise for the organizers, who made sure some 25,000 people were lined up along the roads during the bike segment of the race. In an interview with Ironman. com, she said, “I have never experienced that amount of support out there on the bike before. I think every single person that lives on the island and surrounds the island was out there cheering. You guys should be extremely proud of yourselves. Never have I experienced that in all my years of racing.”
Unfortunately, it was also in the bike segment that the tragedy occurred, when relay participant Ramon Igana Jr. collapsed and died. An autopsy revealed that Ramon, who signed up with wife Dr. Humility ( 21K run) and Benjamin Balaoro Jr. ( 2K swim), died of an acute pulmonary embolism. The airline executive was only 45, and his death shocked the running community, where the couple was active. Rico Dale Petallar, a triathlete and, like the Iganas, a member of the Ungo Runners, recalled how Ramon prepared for the Ironman extensively-- training despite his work schedule, sometimes by himself. “In preparation for the Ironman, he even bought high- end bicycle parts to replace his old ones,” he said.
PETE THREE- PEATS. Pete Jacobs leads in the bike race, en route to his first- place finish during the Ironman 70.3 Philippines, which he has topped twice before. A few weeks after his victory in Cebu, the Australian
won his first Ironman world championship title in Hawaii. ( DEFENSOR)
TEAM PIOLO. The actor Piolo Pascual causes roadside crowds to scream as
he pedals by in the 90- kilometer bike leg of the Ironman 70.3 Philippines.