Winners of the Best Relay Team during the recently held Ironman 70.3 Puerto Princesa. | Photo by Cedez Castro

Puerto Princesa might once again host an Ironman event next year as its inaugural hosting “hit the mark”, according to event organizers.

According to Sunrise Events, Inc. general manager Princess Galura, a date for next year’s triathlon event has already been set.

“Definitely. This will gonna be parang ano ba, talagang idedemand ng participants namin na bumalik kami dito. In fact, may date na. Inaayos namin ni mayor ang mga dokumento namin. Kasi syempre, we have to make sure that everything is in place,” she said.

“Parang November 12, 2023, it’s a Sunday. It’s the same Sunday, same week of the underground river and I’m sure it will definitely be part of the Subaraw [Biodiversity] Festival,” she added.

The organizers attributes the success of the city’s hosting of the Ironman 70.3 Puerto Princesa to the efforts of the local government and the hospitality of the locals.

“Alam niyo andaming positive comments… eto daw ay napakaganda, napaka festive. Yung local community daw, nagbubuhos ng tubig… alam nyo naman sobrang init di ba? Malinis… mabait ang mga tao,” she noted.

Although Galura dismissed the idea of comparing the city’s hosting to that of other triathlon events, she did admit that the majority of participants and spectators fell in love with Puerto Princesa.

“Medyo mahirap mag-compare. Pero ang sasabihin ko na lang sa inyo sa mga nakukuha kong balita from the spectators and the participants, they love to swim here, it’s clean, they love it here better than other destinations,” she said.

The spectator facilities, which include clean restrooms, were highlighted as one of the city government’s notable preparations by the organizers.

“The spectator facilities meaning access to food, access to toilet, access to the road, were the best that they had in 10 years,” Galura said.

Previously, the city government requested a Php5,956,000 supplemental budget for the improvement of the Puerto Princesa Baywalk Park’s drainage system, as well as the construction and rehabilitation of comfort rooms in the area and at the Ramon V. Mitra Sports Complex.

When asked to rate the city’s hosting of the Ironman 70.3 Puerto Princesa, Galura gave it a 9 and left the remaining 1 point as room for improvement, citing its traffic situation.

“Ayoko namang sabihing perfect, so talagang as close as perfect I’d give them a 9,” she said.

“Syempre baguhan. Yung traffic kailangan nating tutukan. Paano ididivert and traffic paano icocommunicate yung traffic. Guys, walang perfect. Even though we’ve been doing the race all over the Philippines there’s no perfect place,” she added.

Around 1,221 triathletes from the Philippines and other parts of the world arrived in the city before November 13.

On Sunday, they began their single-loop 1.9-kilometer swim at the baywalk before transferring to their bikes for the three-loop 90-kilometer ride that took them to the Iwahig Bridge in Puerto Princesa’s southern part.

After stowing their bicycles, the competitors started the two-loop, 21-kilometer run by heading south and going around the downtown area.

To cross the finish line, they sprinted to the oval track at the Ramon V. Mitra Sports Complex.

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