MANILA -- The Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 might be over, but foreign triathletes are already anticipating not just next year’s competition, but also a chance to visit the Philippines anew.

Over 2,700 triathletes from 52 countries participated in the 10th anniversary of the sporting event organized by Sunrise Events Inc. in cooperation with the Department of Tourism (DOT).

Ironman 70.3 officials said the triathlon sport has enjoyed a world-class venue in the Queen City of the South, which earned raves for hosting last year’s Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa.

Female champion Amelia Watkinson of New Zealand said she was excited to come back to meet the local people.

“I find people in Cebu very supportive and exciting with crowd on the side of the streets smiling, waving little colourful banners, marching bands playing, cheering for us, go-go-go,” said Watkinson, who triumphed in last year's 5150 triathlon at Subic, Zambales.

Australian Tim Reed, who posted his best time of 3 hours, 15 minutes and 7 seconds in his third straight triumph, said that he will “definitely” be back next year as Cebu was “special” to him.

Runner-up and the fan favorite Mauricio Mendez of Mexico, who also vowed to return, lauded the organizers for how the race was “professionally” put together.

Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, in a statement, said that foreign triathletes were always welcome in the Philippines.

"We are very happy and elated to have the biggest competitors in triathlon sports. You and your families are always welcome here and have fun in one of the best islands in the world," Teo said. (PNA)