Swiss Caroline Steffen and Aussie Dimity Lee Duke set out for another clash of power and endurance tipped to go down-to-the-wire as they banner the elite cast in the Century Tuna IRONMAN 70.3 Subic Bay presented by Big Boss Cement which gets going June 2.
The veteran campaigners are seeking to snap a spell in local endurance racing with Steffen out to improve her runner-up finish to Czech Radka Kahlefeldt in the recent second Alveo Davao where Duke struggled to finish fourth.
But both are coming into the 1.9km swim-90km bike-21km run event brimming with confidence, so do New Zealand’s Laura Wood, Manami Iijima of Guam and Lisa Tyack, another star from Down Under, guaranteeing a fierce showdown for top honors and the top $3,000 purse in the centerpiece women’s pro division.
“I’m excited to return to Subic for the fourth time,” said Steffen, who is also using the event organized by Sunrise Events, Inc. as part of her buildup for the World Chanmpionships.
“I’m still building up my fitness towards the World Championships in October and the CT IRONMAN 70.3 will be a great test in the heat to see where I am at,” she added.
Duke, on the other hand, hopes to flash her familiarity with the course where she also reigned in a 5150 event while placing second to compatriot Liz Blatchford in the first Philippine full triathlon last year.
“IRONMAN racing is a lot different racing over the 70.3 distance and each year the competition is always getting better and better,” said Duke. “But I am fortunate to have raced this course over a number of years so I hope this will put me in a good position come race day.
Focus will also be in the men’s side with Nick Baldwin of Seychelles eyeing another win in the country’s triathlon capital following his triumph in the first full IRONMAN against a talent-laden field headed by former 70.3 world champion Tim Reed and multi-titled Sam Betten along with fellow Australians Tim Van Berkel and Conor McKay with Colombia’s Rodrigo Acevedo and Oli Stenning of Great Britain.
Close to thousand triathletes will also battle it out for top honors in various divisions, including the Asian Elite and the 12 age group categories. It also features relay competitions for male, female and mixed teams.
Forty one countries are represented in what promises to be another challenging race on a practically new course with the race central now at Subic Bay Boardwalk.