CEBU CITY – Pete Jacobs, who just competed in the Ironman Lake Placid two weeks ago, once again proved his power and speed after winning the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 at the Shangri-La’s Mactan Island Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City Sunday for the third straight year.
Jacobs clocked 4:07:38 to claim the first spot in the individual category of the race for three consecutive years now.
Coming in close second at 4:08:52 was Cameron Browne of New Zealand, who was placed third in the event last year.
Mathieu O’Halloran, representing the Philippines, came in third. He won first in the 2012 Pico de Loro Triathlon, first in the Zambales Beach Games Triathlon, and first in the Bantayan Beach Games Triathlon. He was also the Canadian representative to three World Championships.
In the women’s category, Caroline Steffen of Switzerland dominated the race, placing sixth in the overall tally. Steffen is part of the Alaska Team TBB.
Second in the women’s category was Bree Wee of the United States, who placed third in last year’s event.
Finishing third was defending champion, Belinda Granger of Australia.
Other professional triathletes, who joined the event were Erich Felbabel of Hong Kong (8th place), Amanda Stevens of the United States (16th), Michelle Wu of Australia (17th), Dan Brown (19th), Justin Granger, Ali Fitch, Terenzo Bozzone, Fredrik Croneborg, David Dellow and Chris Leito.
Participants in the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Sunday, hosted by Cebu for the first time, came from 31 countries.
A total of 1,340 athletes competed in the individual category, while more than 200 joined the relay.
Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza said the hosting of the Cobra Ironman would further bolster her city’s attempt to become an international sports tourism playground after hosting two Davis Cup ties in the five-star resort.
Thousands of Cebu residents, including some 25,000 students, lined up the race route and cheered on the participants.
Ironman competitors completed a 2-kilometer swim, a 90-kilometer bike race that took them from Mactan to Mandaue City, Cebu City and Talisay City, and a 21-kilometer run in Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City.
Traffic officials closed one lane of the first Mactan Bridge to vehicular traffic from 5 a.m. until noon Sunday.
But the right lane of Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge leading to Mandaue City was opened to two-way traffic through the viaduct.
All side roads leading to the main highway in Lapu-Lapu were also closed during the event.
Among the celebrities who joined the event were Alaska Milk Corp. chief executive officer Wilfred Uytengsu, Sen. Pia Cayetano, Formula One champion Jenson Button, former Olympian Eric Buhain, motivational speaker Anthony Pangilinan, broadcaster Alejandro “Kuya Kim” Atienza, and show business personalities Richard Gutierrez, Piolo Pascual, and Drew Arellano.