22 FEBRUARY 2014 – Featuring over 700 age group athletes from 38 countries and one of the largest and fastest pro fields ever assembled in Asia, Challenge Philippines tested the will and courage of every participant today. Set in beautiful Bataan Province, Philippines, triathletes swam in pristine waters, bikes the race’s fabled Seven Hills of Bataan and ran through triple canopy forest along rolling shaded trails.
Fighting it out for the one of the sport’s richest pro prize purse for the half distance, of over $50,000 USD, Matt Burton (AUS) took the men’s title in a time of 4:26:53 and Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) took top female honors in 4:39:26.
In the women’s race, Laura Bennett (USA) was first out the water in 25:06, over two minutes ahead of Hauschildt but in true Hauschildt fashion, Melissa hammered the bike course and run winning with over a five minute lead on second place Annabel Luxford (AUS). Olympian Emma Pooley (GBR) rounded out the women’s podium just 40 seconds behind Luxford.
“It was an incredible race, well organized, just amazing, I loved it! Maybe one of the toughest I have ever raced, but great!” said Hauschildt.
Burton was also playing catch up in the first part of the race, exiting the water over five minutes off the pace sent by Greg Bennett (USA) and Michael Murphy (AUS) who both clocked 23:40. However his prowess on the bike soon shone through posting the fastest split of the day in 2:34:28 entering T2 just a minute behind Murphy. He confirmed his victory with the day’s fastest run split of 1:12:17 with Murphy taking second and Frederick Croneborg (SWE) completing the men’s podium.
Top finishing Philippine athlete, Augusto Benedicto, said it was inspiring to race in his own country.
“It was a big challenge to finish Challenge Philippines because it is the first in the country. The race was beautiful. Thank you to my fellow countrymen who cheered, they were so many. I was inspired.”
Referred too by Greg Bennett, Olympian and two-times ITU World Series Champion as one of the most beautiful yet “toughest old school courses”, the Challenge Philippines did not fail in providing a true test of human endurance. Cheering schools children, numbering in the thousands, stood beside villagers as triathletes pushed their limits. “Tough, challenging and beautiful” was the expression heard most as each finished. Challenge Philippines will surly be ranked as one of the toughest, if not the toughest, half iron distance race in the world.
Dave Voth, Challenge Philippines CEO, said “It was a day to celebrate the Pinoy Spirit, the never say die attitude of the Philippine people is a perfect match with Challenge Family core values. It was a beautiful day, an amazing race, but with any new race, it takes enormous amount of passion from many to deliver the best experience. Our athletes expressed over and over how much the course tested, but how wonderful the experience was.”
For full results from Challenge Philippines, visit ChallengePhilippines.com.ph.
Challenge Philippines is part of the Challenge Family series of triathlons which now features 25 full and half distance races around the world, including the world’s largest long distance triathlon – Challenge Roth in Germany. The birthplace of the Challenge Family, Challenge Roth now features over 5,500 athletes and 220,000 spectators and home to both world records held by Andreas Raelert (GER) and Chrissie Wellington (GBR). Since 2002, races throughout Europe, UK, Australasia, Asia and North America have joined Roth. Together they provide athletes with a new experience of long distance racing with a strong focus on athlete and spectator experience, giving back to the community while respecting the legacy of sport and being committed to its continued growth. For further information on Challenge Family visit Challenge-Familiy.com.
Top Five Men
1 Matt Burton (AUS) 4:26:53
2 Michael Murphy (AUS) 4:28:41
3 Fredrik Croneborg (SWE) 4:29:42
4 Greg Bennett (USA) 4:32:34
5 Mitchell Anderson (AUS) 4:36:41
Top Five Women
1 Melissa Hauschildt (AUS) 4:39:26
2 Annabel Luxford (AUS) 4:47:04
3 Emma Pooley (GBR) 4:47:43
4 Radka Vodickova (CZE) 4:52:30
5 Laura Bennett (USA) 5:17:55
Melissa Hauschildt of Australia celebrates coming in first in the Challenge Philippines 2014 triathalon women's professional category on February 22, 2014 in Subic Bay, Philippines. (Photo by Nicky Loh/Getty Images)