Photo: Ironman

By Kent Gray/

Sam Osborne has soared into the top 100 of the PTO rankings with his second Ironman 70.3 medal in as many starts but joked his latest feat came at the cost of a little “part of my soul” courtesy of Sunday’s scorching heat in the Philippines.

The Rotorua 31-year-old finished second to 2016 Rio Olympic Games bronze medallist and first-time Ironman 70.3 winner Henri Schoeman in sweltering Lapu-Lapu Cebu. It came after Osborne achieved his own 70.3 breakthrough in Geelong late last month and has seen him ascend a whopping 66 places to exactly 100th in the latest PTO rankings.

He’s now the 6th ranked Kiwi behind Kyle Smith (41st), Mike Phillips (44th), Braden Currie (45th), Jack Moody (75th) and Ironman NZ bronze medallist Ben Hamilton (79th).

A proven offroad/XTERRA triathlete, Osborne has switched focus to traditional on road swim, bike and run in 2024 with an ultimate eye to December’s Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Taupo – just a hour’s drive from home down State Highway 5. He’s made an impressive fist of his first two races of 2024 with gold and silver, the latter sealed with a time just over four minutes adrift of the impressive Schoeman.

The South African won in 4:02:31, with Osborne (4:06:40) holding off Brit Thomas Bishop (4:11:01) despite the exhausting heat and humidity.

“..that was one brutal race!” Osborne shared on social media.

“Well done to @henrischoeman, dominant all day, and @tomwbish. Kept me scared the whole stretch home when I was coming to pieces. The Filipino crowds are truly insane. My ears were ringing from all the screaming out there, the best tri fans you could come across

“I feel like a part of my soul was left out on that run [but] all that crowd energy helped will us home…. and an awful lot of ice.”

Heather Neill: @im703lapulapu done and dusted for 2024!
Given the super high temperatures today I am happy to have come away with 8th female Pro. Congratulations to @elsvisser_ for yet another exceptional performance and topping the podium. There was so much talent in today’s field and I feel very fortunate to have been present, let alone race with these inspirational women.”

Fellow Kiwi Michael Tong also impressed with a 9th place finish (4:24:39). Meanwhile, Osborne’s partner, Samantha Kingsford, secured a strong 4th in the women’s race (4:41:32) and was joined by two other New Zealanders in the top 10: Napier vet Heather Neill (8th, 4:58:05) and Canberra-based Angharad Llewellyn (9th, 5:05:51).

Reflecting on the Lapu-Lapu Cebu challenge, Osborne outlined his next race, Challenge Taiwan, with muted relish.

“Onwards to Taiwan for another go next week,” he said.

Challenge Taiwan, for the record, is being staged in Taitung, known as the “Hometown of the Sun.” It seems there is no escaping the heat on this racing block.

Schoeman Takes First 70.3 Win, Eyes Taupo Worlds
Schoeman has plenty to celebrate. The career first 70.3 win also guarantees the South African short course star a coveted slot at the Taupo World Championships, adding even more star power to the men’s field.

“I’m feeling really happy about my win, I came here to race for the win and also to learn as much from Ironman 70.3 racing as I can and I certainly learnt a lot from this heat and course, I’m very happy to pull off the win,” said Schoeman.

“It’s my first ever IRONMAN 70.3 win as well so I’m very delighted to have done that here in Lapu-Lapu, Cebu and I’m very confident heading into the World Championships later this year.”

Visser Dominates Women’s Race
While Schoeman dominated the men’s race from start to finish, the women’s race saw Els Visser make her winning break on the bike and never look back.

The former Ironman NZ championtook the top spot with a time of 4:21:29.  Anne Reischmann (4:24:39) and Zsanett Bragmayer (4:36:41) rounded out the podium.

Visser reflected on the unique experience: “It was a true experience to race in the Philippines,” said Visser.

“Racing in very challenging conditions and physically and mentally giving my best. The crowds were on another level.

“I am super grateful to have experienced this and can’t thank the people enough for all the cheers and support on course,” she said.

IRONMAN 70.3 Lapu-Lapu Cebu – Professional Men’s Results
1.          Henri Schoeman – 4:02:31
2.         Sam Osborne – 4:06:40
3.         Thomas Bishop – 4:11:01
4.         Caleb Noble – 4:13:47
5.         Calvin Amos – 4:15:19
6.         Tuan Chun Chang – 4:18:42
7.         Nathan Dortmann – 4:19:05
8.         Luke Mathews – 4:21:10
9.         Michael Tong – 4:24:39
10.       Ben Stern – 4:29:05

IRONMAN 70.3 Lapu-Lapu Cebu – Professional Women’s Results
1.          Els Visser – 4:21:29
2.         Anne Reischmann – 4:24:39
3.         Zsanett Bragmayer – 4:36:41
4.         Samantha Kingsford – 4:41:32
5.         Nina Derron – 4:42:12
6.         Sophie Perry – 4:45:14
7.         Dimity-Lee Duke – 4:52:05
8.         Heather Neill – 4:58:05
9.         Angharad Llewellyn – 5:05:51
10.       Leanne Szeto – 5:06:09

Comments are closed.