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25 February 2014

Triathlon highlights Subic Freeport’s ‘perfect’ eco-tour race course

Challenge Philippines, the latest addition to the 15-country Challenge Family triathlon series, kicked off here early Saturday morning and provided a window to the world of Subic’s unparalleled sports venue.

Along a race course that featured the pristine waters of Ilanin Bay, and the rolling hills and coastal forests that extended to some of the remotest parts of Bataan province, Challenge Philippines again showed why the Subic Bay Freeport is being hailed as the triathlon capital of the Philippines.

“The race course was designed by athletes for athletes,” said Dave Voth, CEO of Endurance Entertainment Asia, which manages the event.

“Arguably, it is one of the most beautiful courses in Asia,” he added.

Among the more difficult parts of the course is the “Killer Bike Route” that takes athletes through seven hills in Bataan. It comprises roughly two-thirds of the race with a 4-kilometer downward glide back to the Camayan Beach Resort in Subic before the 21-kilometer forest run that provides the finale.

Because of the challenging but scenic course, Challenge Philippines attracted some of the world’s top athletes, including four-time Challenge Roth champion Chris McCormack of Australia, Greg and Laura Bennet of Australia, 2013 Phuket Challenge male winner Rasmus Petreus of Denmark, Phuket female winner Melissa Hauschildt of Australia, Czech Republic’s national triathlete star Radka Vodick, up-and-coming triathlete star Till Schramm of Germany, and Olympian cyclist Emma Pouly of the United Kingdom.

Fil-Am Arland Macasieb was the lone Philippine representative in the elite professional category.

Prince Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad al Khalid of the Kingdom of Bahrain, who is also chairman of the Supreme Council of Youth and Sports and president of the Olympic Committee, also joined triathlon event, along with his brother Shaikh Khalid Bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

McCormack, who is also known as Macca, said Challenge Philippines will become one of the best events in the 2014 race calendar.

Vodick meanwhile said that he was very delighted by how the course was designed, thanking the organizers “for treating us with unique and completely new course.”

From Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), Chairman Roberto Garcia said that Challenge Philippines “will surely push Subic’s status as Triathlon Capital of the Philippines.”

“We have a race course here with features you can’t find elsewhere—pristine waters, shaded roadside tracks, and undisturbed forest trails—all within an area that has no fumes nor traffic distractions and is considered very safe,” Garcia pointed out.

The official added that Subic also has modern amenities for athletes and their families—factors that led the Department of Tourism to recognize the Subic Bay Freeport as one of the “Top Destinations in the Country” and “Premier Convention Capital of Central Luzon.”

Challenge Philippines, which adopted the theme “Challenge Your Self, Race for a Cause,” is the concluding part of an entire weeklong celebration of lifestyle, cultural and community engagements and sports for the entire family celebrating the “Pinoy” spirit. (FMD/MPD-SBMA)

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