Filipinos eye strong showing at Ironman, 70.3 races in Subic

John Alcala Ironman

FILE– John Alcala is among the athletes to watch out for in this year’s Ironman Philippines. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

John Dedeus Alcala leads a determined group of Filipino athletes against a formidable lineup of international competitors in the Ironman Philippines and the IM 70.3 Subic Bay races scheduled for Sunday in Subic.

Alcala and the rest of the competitors will tackle the  3.8-kilometer swim, 180km bike ride, and 42.2km run on a world-class championship course in Subic where slots in the World Championships are at stake.

Among the notable competitors from 54 countries is Filipino bet August Benedicto, who aims to deliver a strong performance in the 11th edition of the IM 70.3 race, which includes a 1.9km swim, 90km bike ride, and 21.1km run.

READ: John Alcala, Ines Santiago rule rainy Ironman

“I’m thrilled to compete here, even though I’m now based in Ireland,” said Benedicto.

Alcala, who triumphed in the inaugural Ironman 70.3 Puerto Princesa in 2022, meanwhile, faces a tougher challenge, notably from 2022 champion Czech contender Petr Lukosz.

Despite missing out on his age-group category in the recent Ironman 70.3 Cebu, Lukosz remains a top contender in the full-distance race.

“It’s all about dreams. I still have a dream to do full Ironman sub 9 hours. I came three minutes short in Arizona,” said Lukosz. “And I told my wife that I will try one day to be in Top 10 in Kona in my age group.”

READ: Tested warriors carry PH fight in Subic Bay Ironman

The Ironman and IM 70.3 age group kick off at 5:45 a.m., with the swim cutoff time set at 70 minutes from the last athlete’s start. The bike and run stages have cutoff times of 5 hours and 30 minutes and 8 hours and 30 minutes, respectively.

The top 25 male triathletes from the full Ironman earn spots in the Kona, Hawaii World Championship from Oct. 22-28. The top 15 female athletes will qualify for the IM World Championship in Nice, France, from Sept. 24-28.

The IM 70.3 Subic Bay offers 45 age-group qualifying slots for the Vinfast IM 70.3 World Championship in Taupo, New Zealand, on Dec. 14-15, with 15 slots reserved for female participants to promote gender equality.

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