Transition from the Olympic distance to long distance triathlon was hardly a problem for Neil Catiil as he ruled the first TriKing Long Distance Triathlon held yesterday at the Matabungkay Beach Resort and Hotel in Lian, Batangas.

Catiil, the 23-year old Cagayan de Oro native, leaned on his strength in the bike to pull away from his rivals led by reigning Philippine Half Ironman champion Celnan Jopson and dominate the 2K swim, 60K bike and 15K run organized by Bike King with TRAP officiating the event.

“The odds were on my side because of the 5K climb, although I was a bit at a loss because this is the first time since December that I am competing in our country and could not train well because of the heavy rains in Cagayan de Oro,” said Catiil, who timed three hours, 18 minutes, 51 seconds.

Jopson came in a far second at 3:27:09 in this race supported by The Philippine STAR, PLDT SME Nation, 100 Plus Drink as the official drink and MBRH.

“This is his first long distance triathlon race but he was racing it like an Olympic distance. He really is the future of Philippine triathlon,” said Jopson, the former Asian Junior triathlon champion.

August Benedicto, the country’s top duathlete who is being supported by Paniqui Mayor Miguel “Dors” Rivilla, placed third in 3:29:04.

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