On Aug. 7, 2016, Cobra Ironman 70.3 will make history.
The time has come for the Philippines to host the Asia Pacific Championships. "We are truly honored to be chosen, marking the first time that this elite event is held in Asia, outside of Australia and New Zealand," said SEI president Wilfred Uytengsu Jr.
The top 50 participants have the chance to compete in the 2017 Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee, giving athletes extra motivation to compete for top honors. This will be the most significant Ironman triathlon event in the country for the past eight years.
The event has drawn in titleholders Tim Reed and Caroline Steffen and 35 other professional triathletes, including determined Filipino elite competitors, to vie for the title 2017 Ironman World Champion.
The event sold out 2,900 slots in just 28 minutes when registered open in Octo-ber 2015.
It is clear why Cobra Ironman 70.3 is dubbed as the "Crown Jewel in Asia." Its festive atmosphere, the warm Cebuano hospitality, bright smiles and overwhelming support and encouragement will no doubt leave a tremendous mark on the athletes.
This is also why they keep coming back. According to Mayor Paza Radaza, "The city is very much excited to once again welcome this year's participants. We have been preparing for months, making sure to involve the community."
Expect it to be colorful with the theme "Sinulog," inspired by the yearly festivity dedicated to Sto. NiAo.
On race day, the city will be brightly decorated and filled with vibrant music, while students and locals will be cheering and dancing from the sides. Close to 3,000 participants from 43 countries are expected to arrive in Cebu, not including supporters, spectators and event partners. The province has been home of Cobra Ironman 70.3 for five years.
Every race has memorabilia, hard-earned proof that athletes finished what they set out to do. This year's finishers will bring home a memorable piece from world-class and renowned Filipino industrial designer Kenneth Cobunpue, a Cebuano.
"We have gone all out in designing the medal. I can say it is the best medal so far," he said.
His inspiration comes from what keeps athletes going despite the difficult circumstances they have to endure - that is, the Iron Heart.
As the excitement builds up in Cebu, the rest of the Philippines and the world are not left behind. For the first time, the event will be aired via live streaming in 120 countries to over 2 million viewers on www.ironman.com courtesy of Globe Telecoms.
Cobra Ironman 70.3 is not just any other race day. It is an experience in itself. It is a culminating point of every triathlete's journey, where months or even years of hard work are best rewarded with the biggest encouragement, cheers and warmest support from the Filipino community.
Yes, it is true: "Racing is more fun in the Philippines."