Benedicto gets perfect b-day gift

A BUM stomach didn’t stop August Benedicto from giving himself the best birthday gift ever--another title in the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Philippines.

Benedicto did enough to finish ahead of the pack and take home the men’s Filipino Elite crown at the Shangrila Resort and Spa on his 31st birthday.

“I really had a hard time with the swim and then with the bike that is usually my strength but I didn’t feel well, there was a problem with my stomach. When I reached the bike, I tried to catch up but I couldn’t because I was vomiting. I told myself there was no chance that I would win,” he said after the race.

Benedicto, who reclaimed the crown this year, was neck-and-neck with competitors John Philip Duenas and Banjo Norte up until the run part of the race.

Benedicto crossed the line just six seconds ahead of Duenas with a time of 4:28:36. Duenas finished with a time of 4:28:42 for second place. Both Benedicto and Duenas dropped to the floor out of exhaustion after finishing the race.

“I just prayed and told God to give me strength. I would be happy mist to finish the race and make a gift to myself. I didn’t lose hope and told myself that I can do this,” said Benedicto who was surprised with the win. “This is my happiest win because it coincided with my birthday.”

Norte, who was ahead until the last few kilometers of the race, dropped to third place with a time of 4:29:05.

Jonard Saim finished fourth in 4:31:46, while John Leerams Chicano ended up at fifth in 4:34:45.

Monica Torres had a stellar performance, outclassing the rest of the competition in the Female Filipino Elite.

The 31-year-old Torres, a pro who competed in the Filipino Elite, finished in 4:39:37. She was 14 minutes ahead of second place finisher Maria Hodges, who retained second place with a time of 4:53:09.

Torres was really fast that if she had competed in the Female Pro, she would have finished ahead of veteran Aussie Belinda Granger for fifth place.

“This year I would have come in fifth in the pro women category. But I raced in the Filipina Elite category, that’s why I finished first. This is a new personal record for this course so I’m very happy about it. I was working hard to get my goal time. I always look to compare my time with the foreign professionals to improve my craft. Coming in fifth in such a tough field is a good result for me,” said Torres.

LC Langit ended up at third place with a time of 5:05:30, while last year’s defending champion Maria Victoria Jopson finished fourth with 5:12:50. Jenny Rose Guererro crossed the finish line at fifth with a time of 5:40:19.

In the Age Group categories, Japanese Mika Shito claimed the Female 18-24 title in 5:26:49; Aussie Justin Ghosh topped the Male 18-24 category in 4:18:19; Brit Lyndsey Fraser grabbed the Female 25-29 in 4:52:10 and Russian Anton Samakhvalov won the Male 25-29 crown in :25:17 time.

In the 30-34 division, Aussie Jaimelle Jacobs won the women’s crown in 5:05:21, while David Watson won men’s crown in 4:40:29. The other winners were Joanne Plumbley and Irish Colin O’Shea in the 35-39 division, Lezette Albarote and Assad Attamimi in the 40 to 44 division, Lisa Redmond and Roger Hastie in the 45 to 49 division, Khina Ong and Daniel Hyams in the 50-54 division, Sandra Reid and Ernesto Adelima in the 55-59 division.

Ford Forza won the Men’s Relay Team event with a time of 4:12:33, David’s Salon bagged the Women’s Relay Team event with a 5:34:23 and RDAK-C finished at the top of the Mixed Relay Team event with a time of 3:58:20.
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