By Carmencita A. Carillo

DAVAO CITY — Mauricio Mendez, a 22-year-old triathlete from Mexico, won the first Alveo Ironman 70.3 Davao held Sunday, March 25, finishing the race in 3:48:54 ahead of 1,800 other participants from 39 countries.

The event, which kicked off at 6:10 a.m., covered a 1.9-kilometer swim course, followed by a 90-kilometer cycling, and 21-kilometer run in Davao City and Tagum City, Davao del Norte.

Mr. Mendez, who finished 2nd in the 2017 Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 held in Cebu, beat that event’s champion, Australian Timothy James Reed.

Mr. Reed, a three-time champion of the Ironman 70.3 in Cebu, finished second in yesterday’s Davao heat.

The other titles held by Mr. Mendez include the 2017 Ironman 70.3 Texas, 2017 Ironman 70.3 Los Cabos, and 2016 Ironman 70.3 Cozumel. He also has several Xterra titles, including the championship in the 2016 Xterras in Sweden, Denmark, and Italy.

“I am very strong in running, with only around an hour for a 21-kilometer run,” Mr. Mendez said in an interview with BusinessWorld two days before the Davao race.

Alveo Ironman 2
Spectators cheer participants of the Alveo Ironman 70.3 Davao held on March 25 in Davao City and Tagum City, Davao del Norte. — DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM

Meanwhile, Wilfred Steven Uytengsu, Jr., president and founder of Sunrise Events, the race’s organizer, said that with the holding of Ironman in Davao, they can now truly call it “Ironman Philippines” with legs in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The Ironman is on its 10th year in the Philippines.

Sunrise Events General Manager Princess A. Galura, for her part, said the participation in Ironman Davao was much higher than they expected.

“We only targeted 1,000 for Ironman Davao, which was sold out in just five days… we got 1,800 participants,” she said, adding that about 30% of the racers were foreigners.

“We prepared a statement if somebody asks about the security of the venue considering martial law, but we never did get to use that since nobody even asked,” she said, “We are very excited about the future of Ironman in Davao.”

Finishers of the Ironman Davao received medals dubbed “Duyan ng Magiting” or Cradle of the Brave, designed by local artist Kublai Milan. It features an aging, an indigenous percussion instrument, surrounded by the symbols of the swim, bike and run events. The T’boli indigenous community helped Mr. Milan craft all the medals.