PETR LUKOSZ aims for a second full IRONMAN (IM) Philippines victory in three years, leading a diverse mix of international contenders in the Century Tuna IM Philippines set to fire off on June 9 at Subic Bay Boardwalk.

Lukosz defied overwhelming odds, including a stellar field and the intense heat, to win the grueling 3.8km swim, 180km bike and 42.2km marathon in 2022. He became the first triathlete to cross an IRONMAN finish line in Asia post-pandemic, breaching the 10-hour barrier with a remarkable 09:52:34 clocking.

Despite falling short in his age-group category in the recent IRONMAN 70.3 in Cebu, the Czech corporate executive remains the triathlete to watch in the upcoming full-distance edition of the premier endurance race organized by The IRONMAN Group.

The IRONMAN Philippines has attracted 369 bidders from 44 countries, promising another thrilling and exciting competition that has characterized the first three editions of the event that requires not just power, speed and stamina but also mental toughness.

The host country is fielding 147 entries, led by athletes such as Jemuel Clemente, who finished 13th overall in last year’s edition won by Dutch Erik van der Linden. Other notable Filipino competitors are Daniel Valdez, Ramon Abeleda, Gabb Rosario, Lexter Ansaldo, Rolando Alquero and Edgar Puruganan.

Additionally, young guns like Enrico Pisuena, Carlos Dungao, Allen Santiago and Alab Adviento are also in the mix.

Japan has the next highest number of entries with 54, followed by France with 18 participants, the US with 16 entries, and Singapore and Vietnam each fielding 10 athletes.

Meanwhile, August Benedicto headlines the field in the 11th IRONMAN 70.3 Subic Bay, looking to build on his inspiring victory in the 1.9km swim, 90km bike and 21km run event in Cebu in 2022.

However, the veteran campaigner faces a more challenging competition this year, with strong contenders from 37 other countries aiming to spoil the locals’ bid in the event held to promote a culture of health and fitness, engaging people of all ages and backgrounds.

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Subic Bay, known for its scenic backdrop, well-maintained and wide highways, and incredible spectator energy, has become a sporting haven for athletes around the globe. The venue has been kept in championship condition year-round, guaranteeing another challenging competition in both the full IRONMAN and IM 70.3 races.

Vietnam is fielding 24 entries in IM 70.3, while Great Britain and Japan each have 13 participants, and Thailand has nine.

Aside from the individual and age-group competitions, the IM 70.3 race also features a relay event, with 41 teams already registered.

The IM 70.3 also offers age-group qualifying slots to the 2024 VinFast IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship on Dec. 14-15 in Taupo, New Zealand.