The Vaseline Men Xterra Off-Road Triathlon has been tagged as one of the best races of its kind in the Philippines and last Sunday’s race was no exception.
Athletes from 17 countries trooped to the picturesque municipality of Liloan, Cebu to be counted amongst the 480 racers who joined in either the Men's and Women's elite, and the Tri-Lite category in the event that serves as a qualifier for the Xterra World Championships which will be held in Maui this October.
The sizzling 31degree Celsius temperature added to the challenges of the tough elite course of 1.5 kilometer swim, 35 kilometer off-road bike and 10 kilometer run. It was encouraging to see the locals troop to the streets, even in the inland areas of Liloan to cheer on the racers and douse water on them to provide even just a temporary relief from the excruciating heat.
Many of the world's best took on the challenge including last year's champion, Australia's Ben Allen who also was the Champion of the 2012 Xterra Pacific Triple Crown.
After 2 hours, 37 minutes and 40 seconds of intense racing, Allen reclaimed his throne and emerged as the champion of the Philippine Xterra. Liloan’s dynamic leader Mayor Duke Frasco greeted him at the finish and hung the medal made of oyster shell uniquely designed for the race.
Less than a minute later South Africa's Dan Hugo finished with 2:38:31, and was absolutely spent upon crossing the finish. He fell on his knees but was greeted by Allen who congratulated the racer that posed the most threat to him throughout the race.
“So glad I defended my title and thank God the pressure’s off”, quipped Allen just moments after his winning run. “This is definitely one of the toughest races I’ve ever done and I’m glad I did well because it sets me up for the world Championships this October”.
Among the female triathletes, Leslie Paterson finished first after 2hours 45minutes 41seconds. The pride of Great Britain added to her 2 Xterra World Championship titles.
The first Pinoy elite runner Joseph Miller clocked in at 3:5:51while other Pinoy elite runners were cheered on by the bystanders including celebrity Matteo Guidicelli who hails from Cebu. TV Host Paolo Abrera, Senator Pia Cayetano and even Congressman Bullet Jalosjos who ran his first ever triathlon were counted amongst the celebrity Xterra warriors.