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Cebu 70.3 Race Report! « Mathieu O'Halloran's Blog


Cebu 70.3 Race Report!

Mabuhay tayo!

Last weekend was the Cebu 70.3! While it wasn’t my best performance this year…I did get a solid result and learned a very valuable lesson.

In short, after some troubles on the bike and run, I found myself in a dark/negative state on the run…But managed to turn it around and run the FASTEST 2nd half of the run leg by over 2 minutes !

As an active player/coach I find it imperative to lead by example both in training and racing. Last Sunday simply reinforced those clichee theory’s to “never give up” and “do your best regardless” until the finish line.

Now, bellow is a whole bunch of randoms pictures I collected from FACEBOOK with some brief captions to give an entertaining weekend report!

A great race venue that will cater to all, especially those travelling with a family and/or young children makes it the ULTIMATE destination race 8) Just a bit pricey ;)

12 season's racing in 11 different countries - this is BY FAR the best race expo I have ever witnessed!

Local Cebuano and world renowned artist Kenneth Cobonpue was the creator of the very unique medal/trophy!

Pro Q/A



What a welcome!

Triathlon carbo load's are sometimes just as intense as the start of the swim leg where everybody is eager to get doing, bumping elbow's and hungry!


Its a bird? Its a plane? Its IRONMAN!

Moments before the race start - soooooo nerve racking these deep water starts!


Typical triathlon swim chaos brings out both the strongest or the weakest side of some...Especially with 1000's of other in the water!

2nd out of the ocean!

Lets go uphill run to T1!

Me at the top of Marcelo Fernand bridge – the highest point of the bike course!

2nd place in no-mans land and soon after my first problem would start...

As I went down the fast and bumpy downhill. I quickly started to feel the head set of my stem coming loose! I could not believe it, such a rookie mistake as I had re-build my own bike!

Soon after I went into a technical section and it got pretty dangerous.
I had to turn right very gradually and then left very aggressively to get my bars lined up with my front wheel!

Soon after, Cam Brown came by me at a steady pace – I went with him for a bit but knew I needed to prioritize fixing my bars. As he rode off a motor cycle came by and heres the exchange:

Me: PUNTA PUNTA (jeepney calling hand motion) yung problema ako!

Motor cycle guy: Anon problema?


Motor cycle guy: What size sir?

Me: I dont know!?!?!?

Motor cycle guy disappears for a few minutes.
Suddenly shows up with a full set of long rusty allen keys!

I ripped on the brakes while in my 54X12.
Then grabbed the tools and tighten by stem LIKE A BOSS!


And remember, I stopped in my 54X12 gear.
Im sure you can imagine the next few seconds hehehehehehe!

Back at it and soon after I see the race leader and defending champ Pete Jacobs coming back with Cam Brown not to far behind. At the turn around I grabbed by first bottle of the race and then saw the gap to the others behind me.

Now new plan, limit the damage to the guys in front and keep the chasers as chasers.

Its starting to HEAT-UP!

I rode 99.99% of the bike on my own...

Apart from briefly following a media motor cycle off course and having some back/neck pains due to the bumpy road and the fact that I rode on the trainer most of my preparation of which made me un-accustomed to vibrations, the rest of the bike was un-eventful and I finished it strong while arriving in T2 in clear 3rd position!

Within the first few steps of my running in my ON Running Cloud Racers I knew I was in trouble…Since the day before the race I had been suffering from LBS which had also affected my belly…

The impact of the ground just made it worst…I walked all the aid stations to cool myself off, regain focus and see if there was a porta-loo somewhere…

Soon after I could not hold it no more and went to the bushes and passed a nasty wet one! I definetly felt better and then I got going soon after only to be past quickly by age groupers, pro’s and by our very own Xena!

The next aid station I walked again to ‘wash’ my tri shorts ;) and fuel up…Only to over do it and spew all over soon after…ARG!!!

At this point, I was not even 5k into the run leg. I saw the race leaders coming back the other and I felt shattered physically and mentally.

Not to long after American pro Bree Wee came by cheering me on and telling me to run with her. I was pretty grumpy at that time but the magic phrase that she said was “only 1 hour to go”.

So I got jogging with her, the pace was quite casual and steady! We introduced each other and chit-chatted a bit! I re-hydrated carefully as well to slamming down a few Ignite Natural Gels!

At the half way point I grabbed a can of coke and slammed it down and I really felt it in my blood stream!

Bree asked me how I was feeling – honestly I felt pretty good! She told me to go for it and that I did not need to keep running with her!

Just like that I went for it in full stride!
The rest is a bit of a blur.

I passed all but 2 of the athletes who had passed me.
Which are 2 very strong age groupers who could cut it as pro’s!
And a testament that triathlon training is NOT about volume.
But rather quality and intelligent training!

In the finish-ing strait!

I could not help to feel disappointed but my mood would change soon after I learned I was 3rd pro across the line!

Exhausted at the finish!

Now this is something rare - the owner of the race is one of the first to greet you and hand you water at the finish!

Something rare as well in races but awesome are ice baths where athletes congregate and talk about the race!

Me and the legend himself - Efraim Manzano AKA the Croc runner! Seriously, he runs and even bikes with Croc's and pretty well also with a 3h15 marathon to his name!

Joyette with a HUGE picture of me!

On the podium with good company!

My scholars had a descent outing, 3rd in the MIX relay (including a longest ride every and a longest run ever) as well to Banjo finishing 7th Pinoy Elite in 4h50 at only 18 years old with the fastest swim by a Pinoy!

Me with the PARA-TRIATHLON relay team. Very unique and inspiring athletes all with a disability; whats your excuse?

This is a shot of their swimmer Arnel @ the 5i50 a month ago - just EPIC!

To conclude, the overall race was well executed.
Especially considering it was a first year venue.
Growing pains are imminent!

When I heard that Cebu was going to host the 70.3.
I was skeptical about the FULL road closure.
But come race day, there was no cars whats so ever on the road!
Simply tones of locals on the side’s of the roads cheering us on!

Just one look around the race venue/course.
Its clear that A LOT of effort, time and thinking went into the race.
Because putting up a race in a developing country.
Has a whole lot of possible problems!

In the end I was in awe by the friendliness of everybody. As well to the encouragements. I heard GO MAT! or was congratulated, thanked or ask for a picture countless times before/during/after the race!

It really touches me as a foreigner…I have been very lucky to all these opportunities that living in the Philippines as given me and well sometimes am not very grateful of it!

Finally, as this blog is getting long and emotional. I would like to congratulate all the finishers out there, this was a hard 70.3 with the heat, humidity and wind! Definetly an accomplishment if this was your first 70.3 and you will know what im talking about if you do one elsewhere – just dont expect the crowds and competitors to be as friendly!

Which is one point that came up often, especially since it seems that its the same pro’s and foreign age groupers that come back to the Philippines to race!

24 hours awake and it finishes with how I fell in love with the Philippines and with Joyette as well to a big reason why many join the big races - THE BIG AFTER PARTY!!!

Please leave your comments on the forum.