Dan Hugo (29, Stellenbosch, South Africa) and Renata Bucher (36, Lucerne, Switzerland) captured the 4th annual XTERRA Philippines Championship on a steaming hot day at the seafront of Barangay Jubay in Liloan (Cebu Province) on Saturday.
Ben Allen, who won the last two XTERRA Philippines titles and 9-of-10 races in the Asia-Pacific region since 2002, took the early lead with the days fastest swim split (18:57). Brad Weiss and Dan Hugo were 2nd and 3rd out of the water about one-minute back.
By the end of the first-of-two laps on the bike course Allen had crashed and flatted twice allowing Hugo and Weiss to move up front. At the swim-to-bike transition Hugo had a commanding 7-minute lead on Weiss and the only question was if his ankle - that he rolled so badly in his XTERRA South Africa Championship win three weeks ago it tore his anterior talofibular ligament - would hold up.
Not only did Hugo's ankle hold, he posted the fastest run split of the day to boot. It's Hugo's third straight XTERRA win of the season (to go with titles at Buffelspoort and the SA Champs) and the 9th XTERRA Championship title of his career.
Fellow South African Bradley Weiss finished 2nd, a career-best performance. Cebu's own Joe Miller finished 3rd overall to win the Filipino Elite Division. Allen, who carried on despite his misfortune on the bike, placed fourth overall - third pro.
Charlie Epperson, who was born and raised in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of east Tennessee but now lives in Guam and serves as a Lieutenant in the U.S. Coast Guard, finished 5th overall/4th pro in his first race as an XTERRA Pro. The pride of Malaysia Sharom Abdullah rounded out the pro podium.
2014 XTERRA Philippines Championship Results:
Liloan, Cebu, Philippines - March 15, 2014
|Pro Men Results||Time||
|Pro Women Results||Time|
|Dan Hugo (RSA)||2:48:48||
|Renata Bucher (SUI)||3:24:59|
|Brad Weiss (RSA)||2:56:39||
|Carina Wasle (AUT)||3:25:18|
|Ben Allen (AUS)||3:21:52||
|Mieko Carey (JPN)||3:27:34|
|Charlie Epperson (USA)||3:30:07||
|Jacqui Slack (GBR)||3:29:19|
|Shahrom Abdullah (MAS)||3:32:58||
|Dimity-Lee Duke (AUS)||3:42:16|
In the women's race Bucher captured the XTERRA Phil crown for the second time in three years but it wasn't easy. Jacqui Slack led out of the water and through the first lap of the bike before Bucher took over.
The "Swiss Miss" had the fastest women's bike split by far (it was fourth best overall behind only Hugo, Weiss & Miller) to take a big lead onto the run. It nearly wasn't big enough, however, as Austrian Carina Wasle - who had the fastest run of the day - caught and passed Bucher toward the end of the run but "then almost fainted 300-meters from the finish and Renata re-passed," explained XTERRA World Tour managing director Dave Nicholas.
Bucher took the tape in 3:24:59, 19 seconds ahead of Wasle for her 32nd career XTERRA Championship victory. Reigning and 4x XTERRA Japan Champion Mieko Carey finished 3rd, Slack was 4th, Aussie Dimity-Lee Duke was 5th in her XTERRA debut, and Daz Parker placed 6th.
The XTERRA Philippines Championship was the third of 37 events where the fastest amateur athletes from around the globe could qualify to race at the 19th annual XTERRA World Championship at Kapalua, Maui on October 26, 2014. Up next, more exotic locales with XTERRA Guam, Great Ocean Road in Australia, and Costa Rica on March 29 & 30.