Santiago returns to power PHL bid in IM Davao


TOP local triathletes priming up for the Alveo Ironman 70.3 Davao look to whip up the chase for individual honors in various age groups when the premier endurance race powered by Petron is held March 26 at Azuela Cove.

Ines Santiago, champion of the women’s Ironman 70.3 Cebu last year, tries to bring her winning act to Davao in the 40-44 division of the multi-age category 1.9- km swim/90-km bike/21-km run event.

The Negrense unleashed a strong finishing kick for a come-from-behind victory in the Ironman 70.3 Cebu last August in the event dubbed as the “comeback race” after being deferred for nearly three years by the pandemic.

And the 40-year-old ace sets out for another title crack via the same fashion in the event marking Davao’s third hosting of the blue-ribbon race after being postponed in 2020-22.

Santiago also ruled the Century Tuna Ironman Philippines, a full distance race last year and the first to be held after a two-year hiatus.

The Herbalife Triathlon team leader, however, braces for a tough grind given a slew of talented rivals, among them Merlyn Abong, Vanessa Agdon, Roxanne Ang, Jhoan Año, Ma. Veronica Arcenas, Maryfel Aumentado, Ma. Lourdes Cabero, Jaymee Castillo, Norlyn delos Cientos, Eunice Go, April Lañas, Dulce Lo, Joni Lopez, Anne Manas, Maypette Ng, Pauline Pastor and Eden Uy.

Out to spoil the locals’ title bid in the event, backed by event partners Alveo, Petron, Lungsod ng Dabaw, Azuela Cove, Davao Light, Lightwater, Prudential Guarantee, One Sport and Cignal, are Belgium’s Caroline De Cramer, Ireland’s Etta-Mai Farrell, Hong Kong’s Yui Ming Li and Poland’s Agnieszka Pierzynowska.

Other age-group titles to be disputed, including in the men’s side, are 18-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64 and 65-69.

The Ironman 70.3 Davao has drawn 1,037 entries with three full weeks into the staging of the event, also the lone pro-laced race organized by The Ironman Group/Sunrise Events Inc. in a busy season.

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