The Ironman 70.3 is expecting around 1,600 participants from different countries, as its organizers announced that this year’s triathlon race will be staged in Puerto Princesa City on November 13.
Ironman Asia (Philippines) general manager Princess Galura said during a press conference for the launch of the race that they are going back to the Philippines after two years of absence because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Ito ang unang karera na ila-launch namin sa Asia na bagong destination, after the pandemic. Ngayon nga na maraming hindi nakapagkarera ng dalawang taon, I’m sure na lahat sila ay gustong-gustong magkarera na. Today ay officially launched na ang Ironman Asia 70.3. Sa March 30 ay magbubukas ang registration and we are trying to go for 1,600 slots, the biggest number for any new race here in Asia,” Lagura said.
Puerto Princesa will be the 5th city in the country to host the race, after Camarines Sur, Subic, Cebu and Davao.
The race consists of a 1.9-kilometer swim, a 90-kilometer cycle ride, and a 21-kilometer run. It will begin at the Baywalk in Puerto Princesa and end at the Ramon V. Mitra Sports Complex in Barangay Santa Monica.
Lagura also said the event will be a big boost to the revival of economy of the city as it includes participants from different countries.
“Pre-pandemic, in Cebu, we estimate that the spending of each participant reached around $3,000 because of the rates in Mactan. Here in Puerto Princesa the rates are not that high but sabihin na lang natin na $1,000 or $2,000 and spending ng bawat participant, multiply that to 1,600 participants, yun ang gagastusin nila sa hotel, food, van rental, souvenir items. And may kasama pa siya who will go around in malls, sa palengke at mamimili. Now you again multiply that to three to five days na stay nila. Kahit sabihin natin na kalahati na lang ang spending dahil nagka-pandemic, malaki pa rin ang impact na dadalhin sa negosyo dito sa Puerto Princesa,” Lagura explained.
“Ang participants natin ay from all over the world and aside from the race, they are here to experience, food, culture, and other things so we have to give them the very best para sa susunod na taon, yung 1,600 ay magiging 2,000 and next magiging 2,200. This formula of sports tourism has been proven worldwide, wherever we go,” she added.
In agreement with Lagura’s statement, Mayor Lucilo Bayron said that the race will have a significant impact not just on the city’s economy but also on the tourism industry.
“The biggest inspiration for Puerto Princesa to invite and make possible the staging of the Ironman 70.3 is the increase in economic activity since the participants will be having a bigger purchasing power than the other sports tourism activities that we used to invite. We believe that Puerto Princesa will once again be known all over the world with this event. It is great for boosting domestic and international tourism, as athletes ad supporters can enjoy the diversity of what Puerto Princesa has to offer – beach, nature, adventure, food and cultural history,” Bayron said.
“We would like to hold it here even every month (if possible) for the next ten years because this will be good for the city of Puerto Princesa. We are very interested to do it every year in the next ten years,” he added.
Meanwhile, Galura said they are prepared in case another COVID-19 outbreak occurs.
If the city’s alert level is raised, she explained that contingency plans are already in place.
In addition, the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) also approved the protocols that Ironman had adopted for their races in 2020 and 2021.
“Noong March 6, nag-race kami sa Subic Bay under Alert Level 2. But the protocols that the Ironman worldwide has set forth was able to deliver races even during the pandemic in 2020 and 2021. In fact in 2021, 150 races worldwide has been staged at various alert levels. So yung protocols na ginamit namin sa Subic Bay ay dumaan sa IATF para makakarera kami. Yung protocols na ginawa namin ay kayang magkarera even under alert level 3 which is at 50 percent capacity,” she said.
“Ngayon halimbawang mag-akyat-baba ang COVID, we are confident that the race will go ahead even on higher alert levels because number 1 it is outdoors, number 2 our race is by nature, hiwa-hiwalay –sa swim pinapakawalan natin sila every five seconds. Sa bike may 12 meters distance, and sa run, people are allowed to wear a mask if they choose to,” she added.