Australian Ben Allen bucked the technical and physical difficulties of the course as well as the challenge of the other professional triathletes to rule the 2013 edition of XTERRA Philippines.
Allen finished the race in two hours, 37 minutes and 40 seconds to cross the finish line first at the Sea Front Beach Resort. He thus earned another ticket to the Maui World Championships of the XTERRA World Triathlon.
“It was absolutely tough. It was toughest XTERRA I have ever experienced. But I’m tough too. I am mentally and physically ready to compete in the XTERRA world championships.”
It was another successful race in a host of international sporting events organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. headed by its president and CEO Fred Uytengsu who also happens to be president and CEO of Alaska Milk the sponsor of the race. Uytengsu echoed everyone’s opinion of the toughness of the race.
“The race was like three events in one. The swim part was the Ultimate Fighting Championship because it was a virtual free-for-all when swimming in close quarters. The bike part is Fear Factor because of its technically difficult course as well as its unexpected challenges. The run part is Walking Dead because that’s how the participants felt like late in the race,” said Uytengsu.
“I also want to thank Liloan Mayor Duke Frasco for extending his town’s welcome. We truly enjoyed Filipino hospitality at its best. Thank you to Big Kahuna, Dave Nicholas, founder and director of XTERRA. We do appreciate the 41 slots to the XTERRA World Championships in Maui, Hawaii which you granted to winners of this race.”
Lesley Paterson won the women’s division with a time of 2:45.41. Patterson agreed that the race had to be one of the toughest she’s ever encountered.
“It was intense. The race course was very technical but the heat of the sun was oppressive. It was so hot and I consider this as the toughest XTERRA race I joined. I was greatly motivated by the cheers of the people who lined along the roads during the race.”
Allen said he will compete in the XTERRA races in Saipan and Guam. His target is to claim the XTERRA championships in the three Asian championships for an XTERRA Grand Slam.
The first challenge for the athletes was the 1.5-kilometer swim in the murky waters off Liloan beach. The triathletes had to run a hundred meters from the shoreline before and after the swim because the race was held during low tide.
“I held my position after the swim. I fell behind to second in the bike. I managed to retake the lead only in the last part of the trail run,” said Allen.
Zamboanga’s Joseph Miller won the top spot in the men’s Filipino elite category with a time of 3:05.51. He was followed by Benjamin Rana who clocked in at 3:10.13. Jefferson Tabacon took third with a clocking with 3:11.20.
“The race was a torment because the heat of the sun was intense. I never imagined I would emerge on top,” said Miller, who is a triathlete based in Cebu.
Philippine Team member Alexandra Ganzon claimed the top spot in the Filipina elite category. She dethroned Cebuana defending champion Rochelle Tan by finishing the race in 4:15.03. Tan finished second with a time of 4:24.53. Joyette Jopson took third with a time of 4:45.58.
Dan Hugo of South Africa took second spot spot with a time of 2:38.31. He said the heat of the sun was the biggest issue for him. He was completely exhausted and fainted upon reaching the finish line. Hugo was not the only athlete to faint at the finish line. Numerous finishers also needed medical attention immediately after crossing the finish line. They were unanimous that the heat of the sun was the biggest challenge during the race.
In third in the men’s category was Sam Gardner of Great Britain, who clocked 2:48.19.
Renata Bucher was second to Patterson. Daz Parker claimed third spot with a time of 3:17.03.
Meanwhile, Karina Wasle of South Africa and Canadian Matt O’Halloran were frustrated after failing to finish the race.
Wasle’s bike broke down after it hit a rock while riding down a path. Wasle was bitterly disappointed and was in tears. She consoled herself by joining the trail run held the following day. O’Halloran’s injured right hand forced him to quit the race. He decided to stop after the swim event, with his handed starting to swell, to prevent aggravating the injury.