Erico survives ‘Cobra’


Young triathlete Erico Castro completed his debut in the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines, finishing the grueling race held in Cebu last Aug. 2 under seven hours.

The 17-year-old Castro capped the 1.9-kilometer swim, 90K bike, and 21.1K run event in 6:30.44 to rank No. 20 out of more than 40 participants in his division (men’s 18 to 24). Overall, he was at No. 522 out of nearly 2,000 finishers and at No. 433 in the men’s division.



“The race really tested my endurance because it was so hot. It is also the first race I joined where people lined up on the side of the road cheering everyone throughout the entire race. It was a fun experience and I got to meet new friends and see what this sport is all about,” the Marianas High School student said.

The race started and ended at Shangri-La Mactan with Castro getting off to a slow start because of crowded swim course.

“The swim leg was a bit difficult because the current was pushing me back for the 800m part. I had people kicking, pushing, and hitting me. It was a challenge passing other people too because I have to push them out of the way,” said Castro, who completed the two-loop swim in 50:31.

In the bike leg, Castro had the wind to hurdle in the early stages of the race before he managed to cruise down back to Shangri-La.

“The bike was a long flat course from Shangri-La to Talisay City. I had head wind going to the city, so it slowed me down a bit, but going back wasn’t much of a challenge. The road was mostly smooth and there were water stops every 20K,” the XTERRA Saipan and Tagaman Triathlon veteran said.

Castro finished the 90K bike race in 2:47:45, posting 52.22 in the first 29K, 26:17 in the next 16K, and 1:02:34 and 26:22 in the last two splits (32K and 13K), respectively.

In the run leg, the young CNMI triathlete submitted 2:43:11 with a pace of between six and nine minutes per kilometer.

“The run leg was a two-loop course that stretched from Shangri-La to Punta Engaño. The run was outstanding with so many people cheering to keep athletes going. There were water stations every 1-2.5K. It was almost like running along Beach Road,” Castro said. “I wish to do this race again in the future, with a faster time.”

Meanwhile, Castro thanked the following for making his participation in Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines possible: Mamiko and Joshua Berger, Fr. Ryan Jimenez, Northern Mariana Islands Cycling Federation, Saipan Cyclers, Saipan Swim Club, Island Rent A Car, Ida Debrum, Swim. Bike. Run. Saipan, Triple J Wholesale, Pacific Islands Club, Mariana Resort, Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan, Fishing Tackle, Gold Ribbon, Sand Castle, Carol-Lyn Pierce, Pacific Trading Co., and 360 Restaurant.

Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines is one of the series of long distances races World Triathlon Corporation organizes every year. Each race draws pros and amateur triathletes around the world with Tim Reed of Australia and Switzerland’s Caroline Steffen topping the Philippine stop. Reed was the overall finisher and men’s pro division champion after clocking in at 3:46:03 with split times of 22:57, 2:03:21, and 1:16:35, while Steffen ruled the women’s field after logging 4:23:30 (split times of 24:01, 2:25:44, and 1:30:25).

Roselyn Monroyo | Reporter
Roselyn Monroyo is the sports reporter of Saipan Tribune. She has been covering sports competitions for more than two decades. She is a basketball fan and learned to write baseball and football stories when she came to Saipan in 2005.

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