08 June 2015

Betten leads Aussie sweep in Regent 5i50

SUBIC, Philippines – Australian Sam Betten struck gold on his second race in the Philippines, besting tough compatriots Mitch Kibby and Casey Munro for the coveted men’s pro crown of the inaugural Regent 5i50 Triahlon on an cloudy Sunday morning here.

The 6-foot-4 Betten stayed close to the pacesetters in the swim and bike phase then shifted to high gear in the concluding run to reach the finish line at Remy Field in 1:59:23.4.

Youthful Kibby placed No. 2 with 2:01:24 while Munro, who was out to nail his second 5i50 title in Subic, settled for third with 2:01:31.2. Clayton Fettell was fourth with 2:04:36.8 followed by Subic resident Michael Murphy (2:09:03.3).

“I finished second when I raced for the first time in the Philippines in Cebu Ironman 70.3 last year so I really wanted to go one better and try to go for a win today,” said Betten.

He came into the 1.5K swim, 40K bike,10K run race organized by Sunrise Events and backed by Regent Foods with a concrete plan and stuck with it.

“I swam conservatively and I rode with the boys who were riding really hard. Then on the run I just went for it, ran as hard as I could,” said Betten.

Kibby overtook two others to cop silver on his Phl debut.“I was alone in fourth (in the bike) and the strong three up front are gaining time on me. But I knew if I could maintain my own race, I could run well,” said the former football and cricket player.

Despite the overnight rains and the morning overcast, Munro found the heat too much. “It was really hot like last year. I got a pretty good group with Clayton (Fettel) and Sam. It was a hard race, an honest race, and the best person won.”

As motivated to emerge victorious was grizzled veteran Belinda Granger, who got her usual spot on the winners’ podium after posting 2:21:46.8 against younger rivals Dimity-Lee Duke of Australia (2:23:24.8) and local bet Monica Torres (2:25:07.2). Thai Carole Fuchs wound up fourth at 2:34.00.

Granger felt Subic was her turf, having won two previous 5i50 races here in 2012-13 before settling for bridesmaid to Caroline Steffen last year.

“It’s no secret that this has been my race. I won two years in a row and when Caroline came and I got second last time, I was a little bit peeved off. So it’s really nice to have a comeback this year and take the win (again),” said Granger.

She outran younger legs Duke and Torres.

“For the first time all year, I actually felt like I was racing in the run. That made the difference. I’ve been swimming and biking well all year but I don’t get the run down every single time. But today, I was happy to have a great run and I was able to hold off Dimity and Monica who also had a spectacular race,” said Granger.

Duke said she suffered bum stomach the past two days. “I really had to fight my way to the finish so I’m pretty happy I’ve come in second against one of my idols and one of the best women in the sport,” she said.

Torres, meanwhile, banked on her familiarity with her “home course” to land a podium finish.

“I live in Subic so I’m very familiar with the course and I’m happy to come in third for the pro women’s,” she said.

Alaska Tri Aspire’s Banjo Norte (2:07:56) and LC Langit (2:34:58) emerged as the top male and female Filipino elite competitors.

The winners received their trophies from Ironman Asia Pacific COO Jane Patterson, Sunrise president Wilfred Uytengsu, and Regent brand manager Jennifer See. (Olmin Leyba, The Philippine Star)

Sam Betten of Australia won the men’s professional division of the Regent 5i50 Triathlon held at Subic Bay, Zambales. (Jun Mendoza)