McMahon, Steffen On Top At 70.3 Philippines
Caroline Steffen was able to claim another title in commanding fashion, while Bent McMahon moved up from his fifth place finish in 2013.
Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.
While the term Shangri-La is often used to describe paradise-like settings, the 2,600 athletes who competed in the 70.3 Philippines this morning raced through actual Shangri-La. Much of the course, which takes place on the island of Cebu, goes across the Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort. Unfortunately for some, paradise in the Philippines makes for tough, hot racing conditions.
The race, in its sixth year, reportedly sold out in just a few hours with thousands of local amateurs and a handful of professionals from nearby Australia and New Zealand. On a slow day, Caroline Steffen (SUI) was able to claim her third-straight title in commanding fashion, while Canadian Olympian Bent McMahon moved up from his fifth place finish here last year, following recent wins at Honu 70.3 and Boise 70.3.
After a slow swim against the current, Brent McMahon (CAN), Michael Murphy (AUS) and Casey Munro (AUS) exited the water in 23:45, just three seconds behind Sam Betten (AUS). Cameron Brown (NZL), whose bike only arrived late Friday night, followed two minutes later in 25:47, with Eric Watson (AUS) next to him.
On a hot bike course, McMahon came to the front relatively quickly, with Betten, Murphy, and Munro right behind. Murphy eventually withdrew after getting a flat. The remaining three stayed within sight of each other, riding nearly identical splits. McMahon was first into T2 after a 2:14:21 bike leg. Munro rode an identical time on the bike to enter transition third, behind Betten, whose 2:14:17 was technically the fastest of the race. Brown followed six minutes back, after spending 2:17:40 on the bike course.
McMahon’s former ITU speed quickly opened up a gap on the run, ultimately running a 1:17:59 (eight minutes faster than the next fastest run) to win in 3:59:05. The heat started to hurt some of the men, with Betten and Munro walking aid stations as the sun beat down. Betten ran the second-best of the day (1:26:03), though, to cross the line second in 4:07:30. Brown used a 1:28:22 run to move up along the course and close on Munro, who was struggling. But, Munro held on with a 1:31:42 to take third in 4:13:18, while Brown ran 1:28:22 to finish fourth (4:15:44).
Steffen exited the water so far ahead, after a 25:35 swim, that she came into T1 with Cameron Brown and some of the other men. Belinda Granger (AUS) followed two minutes later in 27:41, with Michellie Wu (AUS) 13 seconds behind in 27:54. Rebecca Hoschke (AUS) came out three minutes later.
Steffen continued to see more men than women on her bike ride, opening up her lead. After a race-best 2:29:10 bike, Steffen enter T2 nearly seven minutes ahead of Granger and in seventh overall (counting the men). Hoschke passed Wu early on to move into third and used a 2:31:40 bike—the second best of the day—to finish the ride just seven seconds back from Granger, who held onto second into T2 with a 2:34:28 bike split.
As Steffen continued her domination, Hoschke continued to move up, passing Granger early on the run. Granger fought off the hard-charging challengers behind her, including Dimity-Lee Duke (AUS). Steffen ultimately ran the second-fastest of the day (1:33:43) to finish in 4:32:34, six ahead of the second woman and in seventh place overall. Hoschke ran a race-best 1:32:06 on the hot, slow course to cross second in 4:38:34. Granger fell back to third (4:48:32) after a 1:42:13 run, holding off Duke, who ran a 1:35:57 to finish fourth a minute later.
Ironman 70.3 Philippines
Cebu, Philippines – Aug. 3, 2014
1.2-mile Swim, 56-mile bike, 13.1-mile run
1. Brent McMahon (CAN) 3:59:05
2. Sam Betten (AUS) 4:07:30
3. Cameron Brown (NZL) 4:15:44
4. Matt Burton (AUS) 4:22:19
5. August Benedicto (PHL) 4:34:55
1. Caroline Steffen (SUI) 4:32:34
2. Rebecca Hoschke (AUS) 4:38:34
3. Belinda Granger (AUS) 4:48:32
4. Dimity-Lee Duke (AUS) 4:49:54
5. Michelle Wu (AUS) 4:59:37