Filipinos dominate at City60

Filipinos dominate at City60

They came, they competed, they conquered. It was an all Filipino affair on the top steps of the women’s and men’s City60 distance podiums today as Monica Torres and Joey Delos Reyes claimed the titles for 2019.


In what was the event’s third edition, the pair showed their dominating force in near perfect racing conditions, and under the stunning city skyline.


From Bhushan Kumar, the 77-year old participant, to Adila Herso the youngest at 7 years of age, athletes of all ages and fitness backgrounds enjoyed the unique bike circuit on safe closed roads and the scenic waterside run.


The most anticipated race was the headlining City60 contest, with the athletes setting the task of a 46km bike ride in between two 7km runs, to give a total of 60km in distance. The naming theme continues with the other three race distances on offer: the numbers in the City30, City15 and City6 events indicating the total distance cycled and run.


It was another Filipino, Emmanuel Comendador who set the pace early, leading the elite men during first run segment with a very swift 23 minutes flat for the 7kms. However, once onto the bike countrymen Joey Delos Reyes and Jarwyn Banatao took over, the duo swapping the lead over the technical 46km course before dismounting into transition together.  The pair kept pushing the pace throughout the final 7km run before Reyes stepped forward to take the win in the finish chute in a time of 1 hour 57 minutes and 21 seconds, with Banatao two seconds adrift. Meanwhile Singaporean Ahmad Arif Ibrahim had his own battle for third with Comendador, having caught him on the bike where he gained a small lead which he was then able to hold during the last run. He crossed the line two minutes behind Banatao.


“The race is very nice and well organized, the bike course is a fast one. The run course is one loop so can see your opponent at the u-turn” said Reyes. When asked about the final run alongside Banatao he explained “We did pace together in the last run because of the Singaporean athlete in third place, so my teammate needed pace to secure second place.” And will they return in 2020? “We came here to tune up for the SEA Games, and yes we join this again next year because it is a nice race.”


The women’s race was more predictable with a dominating Monica Torres leading from start to finish.  The Filipino left her country woman Jelsie Sabado 8 minutes and 47 seconds behind, with Mariana Mohammad taking the final place on the podium a further 4 minutes back.


The City30 race saw Frenchman Valentin Van Wersch set the pace early, taking the lead in the first run and he never looked back. Crossing the line in a time of 1 hour and 36 seconds, just under three minutes ahead of second place Tirthankar Datta from Great Britain. In third was Zhaomu Ng from Singapore a further 30 seconds behind. The women’s race showed equally dominating racing with Wendy Casterton running hard from the gun, leaving Jillian See and Shirley Hung to fight it out for second and third placings.


The youth of Singapore put on a great athletic display in the City15. Romuo Perthuis, Pedro Hutchinson and Muhummad Zubair Mazlan had the showdown of the day, running and cycling neck and neck all morning before Perthuis and Hutchinson gapped Mazlan in the final 2km run. The pair ran together before Perthuis kicked close to the finish to cross the line three seconds ahead of Hutchinson and 19 seconds ahead of Mazlan.  Eugenie Van Wersch had a little more breathing room in the women’s City15, winning comfortably with a fifteen-minute margin over Kira Bailey.


The Kids had their time to shine in the City6 distance which involved a 750m run, 4.5km cycle and 750m run. Muhammad Akid Muhammad Najib, Rueben Loke and Jie Riu Chew all completed the first run together, before Zajib took off on the bike leg. He held his lead through the final run, crossing the line in 16 minutes 25 seconds, 35 seconds ahead of Loke with Chew a further minute behind.  In the girls’ race Mirthe Gaytant found some clear space taking the crown in 21 minutes 16 seconds, thirty seconds ahead of runner-up Klara Andonegui and Alena Derdeyn in third.


A special mention goes to the four para-relay teams from the Para Cycling Federation of Singapore who competed in the City30 distance, racing with spirit and inspiring every athlete around them.


The event was also part of the Public Officer STAR games competition, with the Ministry of Home Affairs taking the overall champions trophy.


Another race-within-the-race was the Negative Split Challenge, tasking the competitors with trying to go 60 seconds faster on their second run from the first, a tough challenge in a duathlon, so big kudos to winner Geran Guerrero for achieving a perfect negative split of 60 seconds.


Members of training groups or clubs had the opportunity to earn points for their club. The top place in the club ranking went to New Moon KHCycle.  The event is also a great chance for corporate teams to get together, and Akamai showed their force bringing 27 athletes to participate.


Other people were racing for personal reasons, such as parents Darren Laffen and Sarah Hayward who were getting back into the sport after having three babies in two years. “I want to show my husband how it’s done” said Sarah.


In different circumstances, Muhammad Sullehan Zainuddin, racing the City60 Team Relay was running in the memory of his late daughter, Nuha Sabrina who passed away 2 years ago.  And Public Officer Kelly Pereira is trying to change her lifestyle through exercise to battle health and anxiety issues.


Post-race the attractive venue was full of buzz with live music entertaining the 1200 athletes in the crowd. The shaded, garden-like area, situated right next to the riverside finish line and in the shadows of the National Stadium, had booths providing free post-race massages, ice-cold drinks, a live results service and some photo opportunities in memories of the great achievements of the day.


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