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A Day of Firsts


Making a splashing start at the Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore. (Photo: SSC)

Sunday, 20 March, was a day of firsts, as New Zealander Kris Gemmell topped the elite’s men field in his first triathlon to mark a stunning debut and his first race in Singapore. Coming first out of the sea in 27 minutes 44 seconds, he completed the race with a timing of 3 hours 50 minutes and 56 seconds.

 

It was also the first time the total race participation surpassed the 1,500 figure. With more than 1,700 triathletes from all over the world, the fifth edition of the Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore saw triathletes from 64 countries and over 600 local participants conquer the gruelling race’s new route at East Coast Park.

 

This race also saw the highest number of professional triathletes so far. Thirty-six professionals from 13 countries battled to take home prize money worth up to USD15, 000 dollars, and grab qualification slots for the World Ironman 70.3 Championship in Las Vegas, USA, in September.

 

Making an equally remarkable debut was Aviva Ironman 70.3 participant Mary Beth Ellis, who blazed through the route with a steady pace throughout the race.

 

Despite completing the swim leg in 2nd place, and the bike leg in 4th place, the American switched into high gear during the final leg of the race to win the title, as she beat fellow American Amy Marsh by a mere 34 seconds. This marks the first Aviva Ironman 70.3 Singapore win for the Ellis, who has gained momentum in recent years with runner up positions in the 2008 and 2009 World Ironman 70.3 Championship. Ellis eventually completed the race today with a timing of 4 hours 21 minutes 6 seconds.

 

Over on the local front, the first Singaporean to cross the line for two consecutive years was 28-year-old Loo Chuan Rong, who qualified for September’s World Ironman 70.3 Championship in Las Vegas, with a final race timing of 4 hours 24 minutes 8 seconds, a new personal best for Loo.

 

“I did not expect to win. It was a great race and I’m glad to see more people embrace and support the sport of the triathlon! I definitely hope to win again next year!” he said.

 

24-year-old Choo Ling Er earned the honours in the female field, as she was the first local female to complete the race, with a timing of 5 hours 8 minutes 26 seconds. She now aims to complete a full Ironman.

 

Race Director from Hi-Tri Pte Ltd Jeffrey Foo said, “More and more Singaporeans are joining AIM as we’ve seen a 31% increase in local participation as compared to last year. Together with more foreign participation, it is indeed great to see that the event has become the largest Ironman 70.3 not only in AustralAsia but also the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere, as well as a race Singaporeans love.”