Mabuhay Nick Baldwin and Liz Blatchford and to all who raced at the Century Tuna Ironman Philippines 2018

Subic Bay (3 June 2018). Simon Cochrane was first out of the water and T1. Then at the bike leg, the top 3 were clustered. It was Simon Cochrane, Cameron Brown and Nick Baldwin at the head of the pack.

I did not have an app tracker yesterday but looking at the results now, separation happened at the bike. This saw Baldwin gaining almost 8 minutes on Brown. Cochrane was not too far behind.

At the run, we saw Baldwin complete his first loop and Brown was giving chase. Cochrane was still maintaining 3rd position.

We went to the finish line at about 2:30pm. We were told the male pros were completing the last 10k. Not too far now, said the event host.

Franc said the athlete tracker was showing that Nick Baldwin was ahead but the predicted finish time of Cameron Brown was faster.

We all wondered who will be first at the finish. CamBrown fans were hopeful but already the buzz was strong for Baldwin. They said if he wins, it will be his first title win and he will be the first winner from Seychelles.

And then Baldwin was sprinting to the finish line. He defended his lead and became the winner of the inaugural full distance Ironman in the Philippines. It was an emotional Baldwin who broke the tape and fell down on his knees to celebrate his victory.

He successfully swam, biked and ran the Subic Bay route finishing at 08:50:30, past New Zealand’s Cameron Brown (08:56:49) and Simon Cochrane (08:58:58), who placed second and third respectively, to win the men’s Pro division.

Liz Blatchford, meanwhile, topped the women’s Pro division at 09:22:22, with fellow Aussie Dimity Lee Duke (09:40:45) coming in second, followed by New Zealand’s Simone Maier (09:47:39).

She was welcomed by her husband and daugther. Blatchford was 4th overall. And that is after a hiatus while she had a baby.

While waiting for the pros, we had a photographer with a baby in a carrier beside us. I thought, first wow dedication and marvelled that his baby was just hanging calmly. She had a hat so she was alright from the harsh sun. When Blatchford came in, the photog and baby welcomed her, somebody behind me said ….ahh they are already doing heat training for the baby.

Filipino August Benedicto ruled the Asian Elite Division clocking in at 09:48:46. Pinoys Benjamin Rana (10:13:01) and John Philip Duenas (10:27:34) who came in second and third respectively share Benedicto’s pride of being top Ironmen in their own country.

Baldwin and Blatchford got their share of the USD 25,000 total purse prize for winning their respective categories. Also for the first time, the race served as a qualifier for the 2018 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, USA with 30 slots up for grabs.

The country’s inaugural full distance Ironman saw close to 1,300 participants with 50 countries, including the Philippines, represented. A total of 805 Pinoys were among the pack, a strong indication of triathlon’s increasing popularity and the country becoming a premier race destination.

“Filipinos earning an Ironman badge on home soil is making history. We hope the triumph of our Ironmen and Ironwomen today inspires our countrymen to embrace fitness and live healthier lifestyles—our goal as an organization from the very start,” said Greg Banzon, EVP and COO of Century Pacific Food, Inc.

Congratulations to the winners but most specially to all who trained and showed up and raced yesterday.

You did not let the rain and wind get the better of you during the bike and you put all your good training to best the scorching run. Mabuhay kayo!

The Century Tuna IRONMAN Philippines 2018 is produced and organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. and made possible through the support of a number of sponsors and partners including: Alaska, the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Promotions Board, AAI, SBMA, Acea Subic Bay, NLEX and SCTEX, HOKA One One, Gatorade, Aquafina, TYR, Stork, David’s Salon, GU, Intercare, Prudential Guarantee, Media partners: The Philippine Star Hyper HD on Cignal, and FinisherFix, Marketing partners: AlcoPlus, Cetaphil, Devant, Fern-C, Ford, PLDT SMART Communications, Regent Foods, Sanicare, and Timex.

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