Two weeks after picking up a third-place result at Ironman 70.3 Santa Rosa won by Sam Appleton (Panthers Tri Club), 2016 world champion Tim Reed (Ballina Tri Club) found himself back on the top step of the winner’s podium in Cebu. The 34-year-old — originally from Lord Howe Island — overcame stifling heat and excruciating cramps to hold on to claim his fourth IM 70.3 Philippines victory in five years.
After winning three straight from 2015-2017, Reed finished fourth last year and was keen to leave it all on the line no matter the result.
“One of the few races each year I know that whether it’s for a fourth win or a fourth-place like last year, I won’t be leaving anything in reserve,” he posted on Facebook prior to the race.
Despite being fifth out the water following the 1.9-kilometre swim, the Byron Bay-resident scorched the field on the 90km bike to open a sizeable gap for the run. However, severe leg cramps nearly cost Reed the win after being forced to stop briefly just prior to the finish line with his rivals, including runner-up Mike Phillips (NZL) and fellow Ballina Tri Club member Tim Van Berkel (AUS) closing in.
“This face sums up the feeling well of my fourth win here at Aguila Ironman 70.3 Philippines,” Reed posted on Facebook referring to his race-winning smile after finishing in a time of 4 hours 1 minute 19 seconds. “I went for it on the bike, ignoring the oppressive heat and paid the price on a cramp-filled run with my six-minute advantage rapidly whittled down to a very close finish with Mike (4:02:08) and Tim (4:03:11).”
The 35-year-old Van Berkel agreed with Reed’s assessment of the race, but also praised the organisers for hosting a top-tier event.
“What a scorcher,” said the 2016 Ironman Asia-Pacific champion, who already has half a dozen 70.3 podiums this year. “Third place at [IM 70.3 Philippines]. Congrats to Tim Reed for the win and Mike Phillips for second.
“Thanks to the Cebu crowd for creating an amazing atmosphere and Sunrise Events for putting on a world-class event.”
Port Macquarie-based Caroline Steffen (SUI) recorded the eighth-best overall time (4:24:08) to top the women’s pro field, followed by Western Australian Dimity-Lee Duke (4:36:47) and Queenslander Courtney Gilfillan (4:39:18).
The 2019 IM 70.3 World Championships will be hosted on the weekend of September 7-8 in Nice, France.