5150 Bohol (Philippines), Course Review
5150 Bohol is becoming an iconic race in the Philippines, attracting both local Filipino athletes and international visitors that makes this a destination race. Athletes have the option of a sprint distance race and the main event, the Olympic Distance race.
The race is held out of Bellevue hotel on Panglao Island. Getting there is relatively easy from Manila with 3 airlines (PAL, Airasia and Cebu Pacific) with daily flights. From the Tagbiliran airport, the race venue is only a quick 30-minute drive and the host hotel provides shuttle for all flights landing on the island.
Bellevue hotel is located on Panglao Island, know for its world class diving spot, relaxing white sand beach and some local attraction such as the world’s smallest monkey (Tarsier) and “Chocolate Hills” one of Philippines most famous tourist attraction. Panglao is an island of another island (Bohol) and you also have the option of catching a ferry from Cebu.
Swim Course (1×1.5k loop)
Bohol is a world class diving venue attracting divers of all interests, from experienced deep water diving to more exotic attractions such as snorkeling with whale sharks. The swim course is just as attracting and would make a great snorkeling venue especially in the first and final hundred meters when it is shallower, you can spot dozens of star fish and other type of sea life.
The deep water start is 200m from shore and waist deep, then swimmers go out and once it gets deep enough, there is one right turn, then another several hundred meters before making an u-turn around a buoy and coming back on the opposite direction, all well marked with lane ropes.
During most of the course you can see the bottom and the very clear water makes every newbie swimmer very comfortable in this type of conditions.
The final 100 meters or so is on very shallow waters and the organizers had sand bags at the bottom of the ocean to keep it a safe path for swimmers and avoid any accidents with corals and sea urchins. Swimmers then head to transition area which is probably the most beautiful in all triathlon races in the world.
Panglao island is the quietest part of Bohol and its somewhere you can train safely in the days before the race. On race day it becomes even quieter and safer since most of the course is on the main road connecting Panglao Island to Bohol mainland, the roads are mostly closed, with 1 wide lane with a shoulder, making it very comfortable, safe and easy to overtake. There are some parts of the course, especially when riding past the local villages where traffic is controlled, so while not fully closed there are only the local motorcycles.
The course can also be described as flat to false flat. Chances are you will ride it all in your biggest chain ring since the elevations are very gentle and short, but they are frequent, making it relatively entertaining, requiring frequent shifting and avoiding the boredom of a 100% flat course. The scenery is a mix of rice fields and local villages, and road quality is decent, no potholes although the surface is a little rough.
In 2015 the race was a 1 loop course shape also makes this a beginner friendly bike ride, it requires almost zero technical abilities since its an L-shape course, you have one 90 degree and one 180 degree turn before heading back to transition lap. While in 2016 it was a 2 lap course since part of the original course was under construction.
Run (1x10km loop)
The one loop, all flat, out and back run course is all flat with a mixed scenery of the local village for the first and last 2.5 kilometers, with a much quitter and greener section for the middle 5km segment, a nice variety that offered some shade and with the early start heat wasn’t much of an issue as compared to other events in South East Asia.
The finish chute is right by the beach giving the athletes a great accomplishment feel after a fun day on Panglao Island.
Best photos: Bellevue 5150 Bohol, Philippines – 2016
Best Photos: Safeguard 5150 Bohol, Philippines – 2015
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