Aussies seek 5150 crown

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SHEPPARTON, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 13: Elite male Sam Betten leads on the bike course during Challenge Shepparton on November 13, 2016 in Shepparton, Australia. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

SUBIC — Australians Sam Betten and Dimity Lee Duke set out for a repeat of last year’s feats, upbeat of their chances but wary of the compact cast of rivals in the Black Arrow Express 5150, which fires off today.

Winner the last three years, Betten seeks to extend his reign to the first of three 5150 races with the Aussie ace hinting at banking again on his experience and preference to race in the faster pace of an Olympic distance event.

“I really enjoyed the hard and fast racing over the 5150 distance here and it has been great to have had so much success,” said the 6-foot-4 Betten, who also won a 5150 event in Bohol in 2015. “Since I’ve been racing this distance for so long, I have so much experience which really allows me to make the most of the opportunity to succeed.”

He beat compatriot Mitch Robins by five minutes in wet conditions to complete a three-peat in last year’s edition of the 1.5k swim-40K bike-10K run race in what has long been considered as the country’s triathlon capital last year. But he braces for a tougher outing this time with Robins also all geared up to snap back-to-back runner-up finishes.

Others vying in the centerpiece men’s pro event are Jakub Langhammer of the Czech Republic, American Tim Linn and Dan Brown, also from Down Under.

Duke, meanwhile, goes all out for a second straight 5150 title here after scoring a breakthrough last year but, like Betten, she faces a fierce challenge from Manami Iijima of Guam and Hong Kong’s Leanne Szeto.

The swim leg starts at 6:27 a.m. and ends at ACEA beach with the field to follow a counter clockwise route then head to transition 1 at ACEA Subic Bay parking lot for the bike stage in San Bernardino Road to Argonaut Highway. They then complete the bike loops and exit to Rizal Drive and enter Transition 2 at Remy field.

The closing run part will have two 5-km loops where participants will exit Burgos Street, turn right and head to Waterfront road. They then pass the lighthouse and turn around before completing the loops and heading back and race to the finish line in Remy Field.

Also on tap are the Asian Elite category and competitions in various age categories and relay events for male, female and mixed along with the Sunrise Sprint 2, a shorter distance series featuring a 750m swim, 20k bike, and 5k run that also serves as training ground for future 5150 or 70.3 bidders.

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