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Cobra 2012 Ironman 70.3 Philippines Cebu | Race Results and Review

Congratulations to all the winners and finishers of the inaugural Cobra 2012 Ironman 70.3 Philippines Cebu! 1700+ athletes suffered and endured the brutal heat and tornado like winds of the race course! To the first timers, we got nothing else to say but, welcome to the club! :)

Rate the race by using the ratings system above!

Our very own In[FOCUS] pro featured athlete Pete Jacobs dominated the race from start to finish and won the title for the third consecutive time. The women’s division was won by Kona 2012 favorite Caroline “Xena” Steffen.

In the Filipino elite division, 2011 winner Arland Macasieb got dethroned by the newest king of Ironman 70.3 Philippines, August Benedicto. Franklin Penalosa of TIMEX-TMM Triathlon Team got second place, just over almost a minute behind the champion. Monica Torres proved that nothing is impossible as she was able to overcome the gargantuan lead of strong swimmers Kim Mangrobang and LC Langit.. Monica 0vertook 3>1 bff’s Kim Mangrobang and LC Langit to win the Ironman 70.3 Philippines title for a record fourth consecutive time.

To the participants how was your race? Let us know your story! Email us your comments at [email protected] or simply post it at the comment box below!

Unfortunately, we lost a comrade on this race,  to the family and loved ones of Ramon Igaña Jr, our sincerest condolences.

Here is the official statement of Sunrise Events, organizers of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines

Official Statement from Sunrise Events, Inc:

Despite the resounding success of the recently concluded Ironman 70.3 event on Sunday, there was a fatality involving Ramon Igana, Jr, 44 years old, Cebuano and a relay participant on the bike segment.

The autopsy revealed that the cause of death was acute pulmonary embolism leading to his bike fall.

The entire Ironman community expresses its deepest sympathies to Ramon’s family and loved ones.

2012 Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines Results



Race Review

Without a doubt, the 2012 Ironman 70.3 Philippines is the biggest and most highly anticipated race of the year. With 1700+ participants on race day, it is arguably also one of the biggest 70.3 races in Asia.

Did it live up to the hype?

First of all, we would like to thank everyone who emailed/txt’d us their opinion about the race. We collated everything and tried our best to put it all in one article. (for violent reactions : please email us at [email protected])

The race was great, no doubt about it. But definitely needs to improve on many aspects for next year. Following the success of the three earlier 70.3’s in Camsur, Xterra, and the Century Tuna 5150, all eyes were on Ironman 70.3 Philippines Cebu to put up the perfect race. When you boast that the entire city of Cebu is going all out and support this race 100%, you can’t afford any slip ups. I asked a couple of people if this race is allowed to have “teething problems” since it’s their first time to hold it in Cebu, and the answer was a resounding no. Which I agree to.

One of the best ways to review a race is to strip it down to the basics. What makes a triathlon race a good one? You need to remove all the glitz and glam in order for you to see the important aspects of the race.

Let’s get on with the review


The Expo – (9.8 out of 10)

Need I say more? We enjoyed the expo so much we even made a special SPOTTED article about it. (read : Spotted | Top 5 Finds at the Ironman 70.3 Philippines Cebu Expo | August Special Feature). Not to nitpick, but our only qualm is why are there finisher shirts already being sold prior to the event?? :)


Shuttle Services / Etc – (7 out of 10)

Unless you booked your hotel via the organizers, they made life really hard for you. To most of the participants surprise, shuttle services were exclusive for participants who booked thru the Secretariat. You’re on your own if you, well, booked on your own.

Taxi is really expensive in Cebu. (200+ pesos for a 2 kilometer ride!) Though we understand this is for organization purposes, we would have loved it if those who didn’t book thru the secretariat were taken care of as well. Besides, they’re participants of the race too right? There were lots of empty shuttles to/from venues, why not let those staying at the official hotels use them even if they didn’t book through the secretariat? They can be 2nd priority for example, 1st priority would be those who did book.  Camsur had buses going in and out of the venue multiple times. We got feedback that some didn’t go to the carbo loading dinner anymore at the CICC because it was too far, esp if you’re staying in Mactan. The result = low turnout.


Aid Stations – (3 out of 10)

THEY-RAN-OUT-OF-WATER. This is simply unbelievable, unforgivable, and very, very, dangerous for the participants. Nowadays, if a regular running event runs out of water, you can be sure that race will be crucified. Spoiled? Maybe, but this is a triathlon (a 70.3 no less) and water plays a really important role. We got reports that as early as 60km into the bike ride, water was already gone. When I was helping at T2, participants were cursing and cramping because they were so dehydrated already. Some simply threw away the Powerade that I handed to them because they couldn’t get it down anymore. Also, as a result of the lack of water on the bike course, some participants had to back track to the earlier Powerade station.  Very dangerous.

The run is another story…

Water again was nowhere to be found. They ran out of water once again just as the athletes were doing their second loop! With the heat as hot as the Sahara, you simply cannot afford to run out of water. It’s the lives of the racers at stake. Some racers had to suffer the indignity of picking up ice cubes and licking it just so that they could just quench their thirst and survive the race. YIKES. The run also severely lacked sponges.

There was also no water station at the swim start. A disaster for those who take gels before the swim start.

In fairness to the new hydration partner, Powerade, they never ran out. :)

Marshalls / Medical Team – (8.5 out of 10)

The race certainly could’ve used an additional marshal or two. I got feedback from participants that the race severely lacked marshals on the bike leg.

I can’t say much for the medical team but from what I saw, they reacted pretty well to emergencies and were able to take care of the needs of the participants. Here’s one feedback in the forum made by one of the participants :

“i have a comment about their medical team, my wife was stung by a jellyfish and was rescued by a kayak coz she’s vomiting and having shortness of breath after reaching the shore no marshal or medics helped her and was told to proceed in the transition area where the medical tent is located. after reaching there, medics have no idea how to first aide a jellyfish victim, my wife even instructed them to give her anti-histamine and their answer is shangri-las clinic is still close and my wife again ask for a vinegar and they said they don’t have it, that’s how bad their medical team.”

The Swim – (9 out of 10)

The mere fact that we’re finally swimming in crystal clear open water makes us want to rate this a perfect 10 out of 10!  Except for the unorganized swim start (there were no definite start line), everyone was raving about the swim. The fast undercurrent going to the swim exit made everyone swim like a fish! We just wish something was done about the corals at the swim exit. Some racers suffered nasty cuts on both their hands and feet. Kudos to those who still finished the race in good time despite of the injury .

The Bike – (7 out of 10)

We’re torn with this one. We wanted to rate it higher because we finally got a closed-road / challenging bike route but the bumpiness of course road simply ruined it. Not to mention, made it very dangerous. Everyone was expecting a super fast/smooth/and pancake flat bike course. It’s just sad that come race day, the roads were just as bad (if not worse) than Camsur. We really had high hopes for this.

The bike course also could’ve used an extra lighting or two in the tunnel. It was really dark and there were no marshals inside so anything can happen.

The Run – (9.5 out of 10)

Save for more kilometer markers, the run course was superb. It was hard, tough, and brutal. Just what the doctor ordered :). The run really made you earn your medal.

The run entry in to the Shang past the transition area though could be improved.

Transition Area – (9.5 out of 10)

Up to now it still amazes me how they managed to fit all those bikes in that tiny area. The transition area was really organized. Though some racers reported that there was no bike check? Also, another proof in the pudding is one racer mistakenly placed his bike on my rack. Had I decided to race, I will have no spot to rack my bike :)

Drafting Team- (9 out of 10)

You know you did a good job when you turn in 34 citations, 22 of which were drafting! (per Ricky Ledesma). Despite this, there were still reports that the ride was a draft fiesta. Some were quick to admit that this simply cannot be helped because of the narrow roads and sheer number of participants (really now?). In the end, you know if you drafted. And if you did, well, enjoy your Ironman 70.3 medal knowing you got that bike split because you drafted. :)

Local Cebu Community – (10 out of 10)

Cebu wasn’t kidding when they said they’ll go all out and support this race 100%. The support of the locals was simply phenomenal. Non-stop cheering all the way till the end of the race. All while they’re under the heat of the Sun. Good job Cebu :)

Medal – (8.5 out of 10)

Designed by no less than the world-renowned designer, Kenneth Cobonpue, the Ironman 70.3 Philippines did not disappoint. That is until you receive the actual medal. A lot of people got disappointed when their medals started to break. And I can’t blame them. The medals are nice and really class, but when they’re starting to fall apart 10 minutes after you get it at the finish line, then something’s wrong. We just wish it would be a little less fragile. I don’t think I’ll be able to forget this triathlete (forgot the number) who was about to cry as his medal broke from the string that holds it and got absolutely destroyed. With his legs cramping, he was desperately (I mean desperately) trying to find the swimmer, biker, and runner, in the medal. He did eventually managed to find the biker and the runner, but the swimmer was nowhere to be found.

Post Race Buffet – (10 out of 10)

Lechon = check. Magnum = double check. Beer = triple check. ‘Nuff said.The best part of the race. :)

The Host Hotel – (6.5 out of 10)

“Thru this pathway pass the most courteous, sincere, respectful, and helpful, hotel employees in the world”

Again, like the medal, we got a lot of mixed reactions about the host hotel. Logistic going around the hotel was an absolute nightmare. Especially if you’re not booked in Shangri-la. There were no access roads to go around the hotel and people were forced walk on steep and grassy pathways and even jump over plants! Also, the food was severely limited. There were no concessionaires to those on a budget and if you’re lucky to get in the restaurant, you’d have to wait at least an hour to be served.

Worse part is, during the event, the hotel prevented the supporters to get out of the hotel! In short, THEY LOCKED EVERYONE IN! I don’t know if this is simply a miscommunication but how insane is that? I had to go back to BE Hotel because I need to get my other camera and take pictures of the racers on the run course. But I couldn’t because they were not letting us get out! This Shangri-la employee (a girl, forgot the name) was screaming at the visitors who wanted to go out. (And I mean SCREAMING), her veins were about to pop as she was shouting “ANG KUKULIT NINYO BAWAL NGA LUMABAS DIYAN!!!” “WAG NIYO NA PILITIN!!!”, “BUMALIK KAYO DITO!!!!” “HOY!!!”, I was shocked honestly. Well, so much for the most respectful employees in the world slogan. I tried the other routes and they were all pointing us at different directions. Totally uncoordinated.

Also, given what happened on race day (there were absolutely no chairs, no place to rest, they locked everyone up inside), we can now say that the additional 1k and 500 charge just to set foot inside the hotel is really not worth it. I think the super thin crowd at the finish line says it all. An Ironman race is all about the final 100m to the finish line. That’s something most of the racers will cherish forever.

Shangri-la is really nice yes. The amenities are world-class. But it’s just sad that just when every square meter of Cebu is opening its doors to the Ironman 70.3 Philippines participants, the host hotel is not. Sure, they can argue that it’s their policy, but most of the participants did not go to Cebu to experience Shangri-la. They went to Cebu to experience the culture, the food, and the famed hospitality that Cebu is known to offer.

For all the glitz and glam of Shangri-la, unfortunately, it offered only just that.

Overall – (8.5 out of 10)

Being the 2011 1st Annual Awards Race of the Year, we expect nothing less but the best from this race. Despite the setbacks, we’re positive that the Ironman 70.3 Philippines team will leave no stone unturned and make next year’s event light years better than this one. Organizing an event of this caliber is no joke and we know that. We can only imagine the amount of work that the organizers put in just to make this event happen. We’re truly grateful but as paying participants, we have the right too to demand a race that we know the organizers are capable of. They’ve done it before and can surely do it again.

Lastly, it’s really simple to know whether an event is successful or not. Just ask the participants if they’ll join again next year!

Well, that’s exactly what we did and the answer?

100% yes. Yours truly included.



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A triathlete making a comeback and a true blue Scorpio. That sums it up quite nicely :)


  1. I’ve been waiting for this ever since you posted that you’ll be doing a review of the race. Was wondering if you’ll sugarcoat your review like the rest even if the race clearly lacked organization. Happy to see you called it as you saw it. It only adds up to this site’s integrity. You now have an additional fan. From all the way here in Hawaii, WTG SwimBikeRun!

  2. i agree with the comments, i would like to add, maybe the guard at the entrance of shang-rila should tell the participants and their guests that they could ride the shuttle bus going around the hotel, from the entrance to the expo. since they didn’t allow vehicles to enter the premises of the hotel.

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