SUBIC BAY, Philippines – Matt Burton and Melissa Hauschildt led a slew of tough Australian bets who dominated the first Challenge Triathlon Family Series held in the Philippines at the scenic Camayan Beach Resort and Ocean Adventure here yesterday.
Burton, a native of Perth, struggled in the 1.9-kilometer swim but performed strong in the 10-km bike and 21-km run to overtake countryman Michael Murphy for his first ever victory in the circuit.
He clocked four hours, 26 minutes, 53 seconds, besting Murphy, who timed 4:28:41 for second place.
Swedish Frederick Croneborg checked in at third place in 4:29:42 while another pair of Aussie bets Greg Bennett and Mitchell Anderson came in fourth and fifth in 4:32:34 and 4:36:41, respectively.
So overjoyed was the 26-year-old Burton that he started celebrating a few meters away from the finish line, waving to the enthusiastic weekend crowd and giving high fives to everyone who offered it.
He was rewarded with a hug and a kiss on the lips by pretty girlfriend Kim Bishop as he reached the tape, kneeled on the sand in disbelief and victoriously acknowledged the crowd again.
“It was pretty special for me because this is my biggest victory to date,” said Burton, who has won a couple of races back home before pulling off this recent feat.
Hauschildt, 36, the 2011 and 2013 Ironman 70.3 world champion, finished sixth overall and first among women participants with a time of 4:39:26, six minutes ahead of another Australian Anabel Luxford (4:47:04).
“It was a beautiful race, I really enjoyed it,” said Hauschildt.
Triathlon legend and Challenge ambassador Chris “Maccah” McCromack of Australia participated and wound up 17th overall.
Augusto Benedicto emerged the best Filipino and Asian competitor after he checked in 12th overall (4:44:44) while Monica Torres reasserted her mastery over the local lady participants by clocking in 5:28:05.
“I didn’t push hard in the swimming part because I know I’m strong at biking and running,” said the 29-year-old Benedicto, who came in way behind former Southeast Asian Gamer Arland Macasieb in the swim before zooming away in the bike and run events.
Lending the two-day event were Princes Shaik Nasser and Khalid Al Khalifa, aged 27 and 24 years old, respectively.
About 700 participants from 38 different countries joined the race backed by The Philippine STAR, Subic Bay, MMDA, Department of Tourism, Camayan Beach Resort and Hotel, Ocean Adventure, Adventure Beach, Gatorade, Premier, Yellow Cab, New Balance, Planet Sports, Polar, GU, Solar, Seafood Islands, Thanyapura Phuket, Specialized, Quintanaroo, Subic Homes, The Lighthouse Hotel, SwimBikeRun, marathon-photos.com, Kameraworld, Petron, PLDT and Swim.PH with Solar Sports, Easy Rock 96.3, Manila Bulletin, Business World, Men’s Health and Women’s Health as other media partners.