CEBU makes history this Sunday as the first in Asia to host the Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships, which starts and ends at Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.

In the past editions of the half-Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship, it was only Australia and New Zealand that hosted the 1.9-kilometer, 90K bike and 21K run race.

The Sunrise Events Inc. (SEI) got the nod to host after the bidding last year, and they wanted this Sunday’s race to be epic.

“It is about how we put up this together as a country to host our first Asia-Pacific 70.3 Championships. We are the first to do this in Asia. I have a feeling the race will be epic, we have prepared for this since last year and we have the most number of participants compared to the previous editions in Australia and New Zealand,” said Princess Galura, the general manager of SEI.

Galura believes that the Cebuanos are the vital cog in making the event above from the rest. The cheering crowds on the race course, the Sinulog dancers and all the people involved in the preparation have their own contribution to the race.

“I have a feeling. Pagdating mo palang sinasayawan ka na sa Sinulog dancers, sa Australia and New Zealand walang ganon,” Galura said when asked if the race this Sunday is going to be one of grandest Asia-Pacific 70.3 Championships.

“It’s only in Cebu that the road cheer is like Tour de France, and I haven’t seen that in any races abroad. Arizona has cheerers but it’s for a short stretch, not like in Cebu you have cheerers in the entire course,” she added. “Plus we have the Ironman Expo which I think the best sa lahat na napuntahan ko.”

Galura said that all things are now in place and it’s only a matter of executing it on race day. She said that an expected 30,000 visitors will be in Lapu-Lapu City this weekend for the three events.

“We have the IronGirl, Ironkids and the Ironman. All of them will come here with a friend and family. Plus we have the exhibitors. So we expect around 30,000 in Lapu-Lapu City on weekend,” she said.

She said that the local government unit personnel and the Philippine National Police (PNP) will be deployed to assure the safety of the people.

The IronGirl is a 5-kilometer run with 500 participants and will be held this riday; the Ironkids Philippines will have 400 participants for 6 to 14 on Saturday; while the main event Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championships has around 3,000 participants from 43 countries this Sunday.

It’s a fifth straight year for Cebu to host a half-Ironman race which started in 2012.