Streaking Aussie seeks Ironman 70.3 Phl breakthrough

Melissa Hauschildt
Melissa Hauschildt

Melissa Hauschildt, who has racked up 47 pro triathlon wins around the world, sets out for another crown in this side of the globe Sunday (Aug. 5) when she headlines the star-studded Ironman 70.3 Philippines Asia-Pacific at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu Lapu City.

The Aussie ace’s streak of victories actually included four tough races this year, the latest of which was the Ironman 70.3 European Championships in Denmark last month. The 35-year-old Adelaide native also ruled the Port of Tauranga half Ironman in New Zealand in January then dominated the Ironman 70.3 Texas race and the full Ironman Texas-North American Championships last April, virtually making her the triathlete to beat in the women’s pro division of the exacting 1.9km swim-90km bike-21.2km run event.

“Though racing for the first time in the country, Hauschildt remains the top favorite, being a three-time world champ and three-time Asia-Pacific and European titlist,” said Princess Galura, general manager of the organizing Sunrise Events, Inc., which is also celebrating its decade-long staging of triathlon events in the Phl.

“But with depth of the field and given the challenging course, you don’t know what’s going to happen,” added Galura, pointing to the likes of Czech Radka Kahlefeldt, Caroline Steffen, Dimity Lee Duke and Beth McKenzie as the likely contenders to foil Hauschildt drive for a first Ironman 70.3 Phl championship in the event put up by title sponsor Aguila Energy Drink and Regent Food Corp.

For one, Kahlefeldt is coming off victories in the Ironman 70.3 Subic last year and the first Ironman 70.3 in Davao City last March while Steffen is a four-time Phl champion. Duke has also won a number of titles here while McKenzie is former Ironman Australia titlist.

An equally down-to-the-wire battle looms in the men’s side of the event with Tim Reed shooting for a record fourth straight championship against former three-time world champion Craig Alexander, former XTERRA world champion Mauricio Mendez, also the winner of the first Ironman 70.3 Davao last March and former Ironman As-Pac winners Tim Van Berkel, Josh Amberger and Braden Currie along with former Ironman South American winner Brent McMahon.

Meanwhile, a record field of 2,700 from over 51 countries gear up for the keenly awaited event which also boasts of the one biggest and most complete triathlon expos to date. All finishers will receive podium trophies and medals designed and hand made by world class Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue.

Local celebrities are also expected to descend on Cebu to test their skills in swimming, biking or running in the event backed by venue hosts Province of Cebu, City of Lapu Lapu and Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa and bike course partners City of Cebu, Mandaue and Talisay, official logistics and courier partner 2GO Express, official hydration partners Gatorade, official energy gel Gu, official swim cap TYR, official footwear and apparel Asics and official registration partner Active Network and official hotels BE Resorts Mactan, Crimson, Waterfront Airport Hotel and Casino Mactan and Mont and Michel and Metropolitan Cebu Water District.