Choo Ling Er, a Singaporean triathlete, and John Dedeus Alcala, a Mindanao native, beat their competitors to win the overall female and male titles at the Ironman 70.3 Puerto Princesa on Sunday.
Choo won the female overall title in 4 hours, 57 minutes, and 47 seconds, while Alcala won the male overall title in 4 hours, 32 minutes, and 21 seconds.
According to Choo, she resumed training after five months in order to compete in the Ironman 70.3 Langkawi in Malaysia on November 5 and travel to the city to take part in the race this Sunday.
Palawan News learned she gave birth in May before going back to triathlon.
Choo, who finds the city weather unsettling and poured cold water on herself, told reporters at the finish line that winning the overall female title in the Ironman race is “a bonus” after taking first place among her rivals in Langkawi
“I was expecting that it was like in Langkawi last week. We had [a] race in Langkawi, [and] it rained the whole time. But it’s good hot for challenge. To everyone, volunteers… thank you. Everyone was so cheerful coming to the finish line,” she said.
“I just came back five months ago… this is a bonus for me, guys!” she added.
Alcala, on the other hand, said the fact that it was a sunny and hot day made the race even more difficult. However, he went at his own pace, ensuring that he would not become overly fatigued to win in the overall male title.
“Ang ginawa ko, nag-pacing lang ako para hindi agad mapagod,” he said.
“Sa bike nag-solo ako. Akala ko noong una hindi ko makakaya kasi sa training lagi ako naiiwan ng team mates ko, pero nagtuloy-tuloy lang ako kasi kapag tumigil ako baka malampasan ako. So sabi ko sa sarili ko wala nang bukas ito,” Alcala added.
Alcala also mentioned that he values the support of the city crowd because he was motivated by their cheers.
Even if they do not know him on a personal level, the citizens of Puerto Princesa cheered for him as he made his way to the end of the race.
“Maganda yung naging experience ko, lalo na yung mga tao [na nagchi-cheer) nakakabuhay ng dugo, nakakawala ng [pagod],” he said.
After Choo, Leyann Ramo (5:18:53) and Mieko Carey (5:19:53) take second and third place, respectively, in the overall awards for the female competitors. In the male overall age group, Mervin Rencel Santiago (4:37:23) and Jailani Lamama (4:39:46) finished second and third.
The half-Ironman competitors began their 1.9-kilometer swim on Sunday at the Puerto Princesa Baywalk. They rode their bikes through the city’s verdant terrains and sceneries to the Iwahig Bridge, then ran for 21 kilometers to the finish line at the Ramon V. Mitra Complex oval track.