2017 Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Weekend

We’re back to Subic Bay for the 2017 Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 and as always, we got to cover more than the main event.  Here’s a glimpse of this intense weekend that also included the Alaska Ironkids and Century Tuna Superbods Underpants Run.

Back again to cover the 2017 Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay, Philippines!

Our Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 weekend started Friday afternoon when we arrived at the beautiful shores of Subic Bay.  I mentioned “shores” as our first stop involved having lunch at an establishment right along the beaches of Subic Bay.  If I wasn’t on “official business” (and not hungry) I would’ve jumped right in to that inviting bay! 😀

My first glimpse of Subic Bay just behind where we had our lunch
Can anyone tell me what this ship is?

After settling in our hotel, we went straight to the Subic Bay Exhibition & Convention Center (SBECC) where the Media Center is located.  SBECC would be the host of many activities throughout this Ironman weekend, including the Expo where participants could claim their race kits and get items on sale from product sponsors and partners.  There were also free bike tuning services and food samples aside from shopping.

Hello Subic Bay!  I’m back! 😎
The race kit claiming booth at the back of the Expo
Official Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay, Philippines merchandise on sale, among others
The lovely models at the Century Tuna booth where we also registered for the Underpants Run

Alaska Ironkids

Our Saturday started quite early to cover Alaska Ironkids.  This is a triathlon event for kids 14 years of age or younger (whom may become our future athletes!).  I’m not part of the “media” per se for this event but nonetheless I always find interest in covering this event because of how I admire what these kids can accomplish at such a young age.  Not to mention how cute they look in their uniforms and little bikes!

Can you imagine swimming so early in the morning?
Well, the Ironkids participants didn’t just imagine it, they actually did it!
The event officially started with the swim leg of kids 13-14 years old
Off they go!
The swim leg is held exclusively at the pool, varying in distance between age groups
Over at the Transition 1 area just beside the pool, minutes into the race
Coach Ani de Leon-Brown is so good in handling these kids she can make them do just about anything! 🙂
The winners of the 13-14 year old category (from left to right): Clifford Pusing (2nd), Juan Francisco “Wacky” Baniqued (1st), and Russel Mikolai Villaraza (3rd), in a show of sportsmanship

For the official race results of the 2017 Alaska Ironkids Subic Bay, click here.

Century Tuna Superbods Underpants Run

It was then the adults’ time to “play” soon afterwards with one of the most talked about events of the year, the Century Tuna Superbods Underpants Run.  I think the word “underpants” already “revealed” why there was so much anticipation about this event, mostly from non-triathletes!

The chaos at the starting line of the Century Tuna Superbods Underpants Run before gun start
View from behind (because I can no longer get to the front of the starting line as a participant)
And here’s the poster shot of the gun start!
You can’t see me here as I’m starting from the back…

Now on its third year, the Century Tuna Superbods Underpants Run saw its biggest crowd so far!  It opened to the public for the first time and gave away major group and individual prizes, drawing attention not just from the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 participants but also some runners as well.  Major prizes were given away to select groups and individuals that stood out amongst the colorful and wacky crowd.

A group of angels?
Their group eventually won the award for best team costume.

And since the Century Tuna Superbods Underpants Run is now open to the public, I decided to join in the fun!  What started as a simple thought on social media became a reality for me mostly because of the push from AlfredoRunning Atom” who also thought of joining.  If it wasn’t for him I may not have had the guts to push through and “dared” to join this run.  You may read more about my experience joining this “intimate” run here.

Find me 😀  See more photos of the event here
Courtesy Alan M Fabricante

You may read about this year’s Century Tuna Superbods Underpants Run here.

Meet the Pros, Briefing, et al

The afternoon gave the participants the opportunity to meet the Pros joining the event and ask some questions.  This year’s lineup is such a powerhouse that it’s probably one of the most competitive triathlon event outside the World Championship.

This year’s powerful lineup.  Also in this photo are VIPs from Subic Bay, SCTEX, and of course, Century Tuna.

That same afternoon, multiple times Ironman Champion Belinda Granger held a Q&A session for the participants to give them some last minute professional advice for the event ahead.  Even for someone like me who has yet transitioned to triathlon, I find her advice very useful so I always recommend joining her sessions whether you’re joining the race or just curious with the sport.  Her session was followed soon after by the official race briefing.

Multiple times Ironman Champion Belinda Granger addresses some of the participants’ concerns during the Q&A session the day before the race

Here’s this year’s race briefing video if you’re interested: 😀

Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay

The big day arrived very early for the participants, their supporters, the media, the volunteers, and everyone involved in the event.  We arrived at Acea, the site of the swim start, about an hour before sunrise with a full moon (or something close to it) lighting up the dark sky and cool winds giving us the chills.

Early morning, arriving near Acea

Unsurprisingly, the area was already busy at the time with some participants already on the bay.  I always find it amazing how triathletes can think of swimming in such a cool weather so early in the morning!  As sunrise slowly approached and the sky light up, the participants and spectators slowly fill the beach front area.

The swim start arch before the sun rises
Participants and spectators started arriving as the sun rises; some participants even tested the waters, literally
Members of the media busy setting up their gears

At around 6:19AM, the Male Pros were released signaling the official start of the 2017 Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay, Philippines.  They were followed a few minutes later by the Female Pros, and minutes later by the rest of the participants in waves of six (6) according to their respective target swim finish times.

This year’s Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay, Philippines officially started when the Male Pros were let go
…Followed suit a few minutes later by the Female Pros
…Afterwards, the rest of the participants were released in a wave start six (6) persons at a time
A little over 23 minutes later, the Male Pros are out of the waters with Samuel Melle Betten of Australia leading
The Female Pros are just as intense as only two seconds separated the lead Caroline Steffen from Radka Kahlefeldt out of the waters

I was then off to Transition 1 (T1) area to catch the participants at the start of their bike leg.  This is an excellent opportunity for most spectators to catch participants before they zoom off to SCTEX for their 90K bike leg.  I was able to catch a few celebrities at this part but due to my non-zooming lens, taking photos were a challenge.

T1 area from the participants’ side
T1 from the spectators’ side where I was able to catch some local celebrities and a few familiar faces 🙂

We went back to SBECC a few minutes later to catch the participants on their final meters on bike.  This is also where T2 is and the finish line.  And this is where we’d spend most of our day.

T2 area at the back of SBECC
Lucky to catch would-be Asian Elite champ August Benedicto on his way to T2

After more than three and a half hours, the champion of the 2017 Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay is apparent.  Ruedi Wild became this year’s champ with a time of 3:48:24.  Last year’s champion, Craig Alexander, came in 33 seconds later with an official time of 3:48:57.  Closing the top three is last year’s runner-up, Tim Reed, with an official time of 3:50:17.

This year’s champs (from left to right): Craig Alexander (2nd), Ruedi Wild (1st), and Tim Reed (3rd)

On the women’s Pro side, Radka Kahlefeldt took the crown with an official time of 4:22:13, beating last year’s champ, Caroline Steffen, by more than three minutes with an official time of 4:25:55.  Dimity Lee Duke came in third with an official time of 4:41:57.

After many attempts, Radka Kahlefeldt had finally overtaken Caroline Steffen to become this year’s Female Pro Champion

Filipinos took the top two slots of the Asian Elites with August Benedicto winning the category with an official time of 4:25:42.  Banjamin Rana came in second with an official time of 4:47:40 with Madhurjya Borah from India closing the top three.  Jenny Guerrero, also from the Philippines, topped the Asian Women Elites with an official time of 5:14:23.

Name Time
Ruedi Wild 🇨🇭 3:48:24
Craig Alexander 🇦🇺 3:48:57
Tim Reed 🇦🇺 3:50:17
Sven Riederer 🇨🇭 3:52:04
Kevin Collington 🇺🇸 3:52:11
Timothy Peter Van Berkel 🇦🇺 3:54:52
Michael Raelert 🇩🇪 3:56:17
Samuel Melle Betten 🇦🇺 3:58:33
Kyle Buckingham 🇿🇦 3:59:46
Ritchie Nicholls 🇬🇧 4:03:11
Jake Montgomery 🇦🇺 4:04:30
Iain Alexandridis 🇺🇸 4:04:52
Johannes Moldan 🇩🇪 4:07:31
Guy Crawford 🇳🇿 4:09:41
Timm Schramm 🇩🇪 4:14:46
Benjamin Williams 🇺🇸 4:20:33
Jason Hall 🇳🇿 4:23:47
Male Pro Results
Name Time
Radka Kahlefeldt 🇨🇭 4:22:13
Caroline Steffen 🇨🇭 4:25:55
Dimity Lee Duke 🇳🇿 4:41:57
Female Pro Results

For the official race results of the 2017 Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay, Philippines, click here.  You may also read about the results of this year’s Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay here.

Meet the Champs

Being champs meant “extra responsibilities” and that included one more session with the members of the media after their respective races.  It’s the last chance for the media to ask questions to the Pros before the formal awarding ceremonies.

This year’s Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay, Philippines’ Champs

Among the highlights of this Q&A session with the champs are how the winner, Ruedi Wild, had sprained his ankle early into his run but still managed to finish on top (though he was limping after the race) and how Asian Elite champ, August Benedicto, took years to learn swimming, as revealed by the host, Belinda Granger!

The Awarding

Closing this year’s Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 is the awarding ceremonies.  This was held still inside the SBECC while the finishers were enjoying their buffet.  Aside from the top champs, prizes for the age group categories were also awarded.

The Asian Elites during the awarding with this year’s champ, August Benedicto, giving a brief speech


After three days in Subic Bay, it’s time for us to return home.  I may not have done a 70.3 Ironman, but I sure was exhausted after the programs were concluded!  Tiring, is an understatement!  It may just be three days but the experiences I’m taking home with me this weekend is one for the books!  Met new folks, tried something new for the first time, and really had fun!  I look forward to the day that I’m telling my story from the other side of the fence.

* * *

I would like to thank Ogilvy, Century Tuna, and all the people behind them for the opportunity to once again witness world-class triathlon competition that is the Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 Subic Bay, Philippines!  I really appreciate how much you took care of us for the entirety of this memorable trip and of course I love that we were practically rubbing shoulders with world champs!  It was really nice seeing familiar faces once again and meeting new folks on the team.  See you soon! 😀

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Jamil Buergo says:

    Awesome article!


    1. dhenztm says:

      Thank you, Jamil! 🙂


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