Will Cebu host again?

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Monday, August 4, 2014


FOR them to continue to hold the event in Cebu, organizers of the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines said they need an assurance from local governments that road repairs being undertaken will be finished before August next year.

The Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) 7 is implementing road repairs in the cities of Cebu, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu in preparation for the APEC Summit next year.

Another widening project is ongoing on the Mactan Island Circumferential Road.

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Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Paz Radaza, sought for comment, said she is confident the City will still be able to host the event. “I’m positive,” she said.

“We are improving every year,” she added.

Some participants said the uneven roads and potholes in some parts of their bike route made the race even tougher.

Athletes braved a 90-kilometer bike race from Lapu-Lapu to Talisay City, after a two-kilometer swim. Then they finished with a 21-kilometer run.

Brent McMahon of Canada, who placed fifth last year, won the men’s elite event and was the only competitor to finish in less than four hours.

Meanwhile, Caroline Steffen of Switzerland won her third straight Ironman 70.3 in Cebu.

Spectators observed not just the elite racers, but celebrities like actor Piolo Pascual, and lapped up the moments of drama all throughout. These included a proposal at the finish line, a triumph in August for a Filipino named August (a day after his birthday, too) and the fact that a Cebu-based marathoner crossed the 21K finish line ahead of all the female pros.

Third time

It was the third time Lapu-Lapu served as the main host of the triathlon, which drew thousands of athletes from all over the world.

Like in the past two years, yesterday’s triathlon didn’t pass without accidents.

A police officer suffered a fracture in his right arm after he was hit by one of the cyclists on the Marcelo B. Fernan Bridge.

Lapu-Lapu City Police Office (LLCPO) Acting Chief Armando Radoc said that PO1 Mark Anthony Cabahug was brought to the Mactan Doctors’ Hospital a few minutes before 11 a.m.

Radoc said a participant whom he identified as Melissa Baron lost control while going down the bridge to Lapu-Lapu and hit Cabahug. Baron suffered bruises but was able to continue the race, Radoc said.

Other than that, no major incidents were reported to the police in Lapu-Lapu.

“The activity was very successful as far as security is concerned,” he said. More than 2,000 security personnel, including 250 from the LLCPO, watched over the activities.

Street smarts

The event did not cause major road congestion in Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue City.

Glenn Antigua, assistant for operations of the Traffic Enforcement Agency of Mandaue (Team), said the early dissemination of traffic advisories helped. He said the traffic in the city during the event was normal despite the closure of eight intersections.

More than 170 traffic enforcers were deployed to manage the traffic in surrounding roads and the crowd along the race route in Mandaue.

Antigua said it helped that one lane of the Marcelo Fernan Bridge going to Lapu-Lapu was open.

He said that in the two previous years, one side of the bridge was closed while the other side was used for two-way traffic, causing congestion.

He said the Team did not receive reports of road accidents apart from the minor one where a cyclist bumped into another on Ouano Ave.

Manageable

One of those injured fell at 10:25 a.m., while trying to evade a student who crossed S. Osmeña Blvd. near Palma St. The student was among the persons deployed to cordon the area.

While on the bike leg on S. Osmeña Blvd. and the South Coastal Road in Cebu City, seven triathletes suffered injuries, an official said.

Cebu City Traffic Operations Management (Citom) operations division head Joy Tumulak, in a phone interview, said three of the athletes were brought to hospitals. The rest continued to race.

Officials reopened to traffic the closed routes at 11:52 a.m., after the last two athletes crossed the boundary of the cities of Mandaue and Cebu in the North Reclamation Area.

“There was no major problem,” said Tumulak in Cebuano. “The traffic was manageable.”

In Talisay City, complaints about errant onlookers and the indiscriminate throwing of water bottles kept the police and traffic enforcers busy during the bike leg.

Mario Zafra, City of Talisay Traffic Operation and Development Authority (CT-TODA), said he was surprised to see some participants tossing water bottles on the bike route.

Finishing

Zafra said it had been agreed by the organizers and those involved in the event that athletes are prohibited to throw their water bottles on the route, as this could cause accidents.

Some onlookers caused problems by crossing the bike route while the race was still going on.

Just after Sun.Star Cebu’s interview with Zafra, an unidentified athlete was brought to the Chong Hua Hospital after he collided with a pedestrian who was crossing Palma St., near the tunnel.

In a race full of dramatic moments, some stood out.

Michael Murphy, an international triathlon champion from Australia, was not able to continue the race after he lost one of his tires just before he reached the first turnaround at the Talisay City Fish Port.

Around 9 a.m., Singaporean athlete Benny Ang sustained scrapes and bruises after an accident during his fourth turn at the SRP.

While police tried to persuade him to wait for medical assistance, Ang decided to finish the race, despite his injuries.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 05, 2014.

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