Category Archives: multisport event

Nick Baldwin and Liz Blatchford Emerged as Top Finishers of the Century Tuna Ironman Philippines

Subic Bay (3 June 2018) — Seychelles’ Nick Baldwin and Australia’s Liz Blatchford finished the race as champions of the Century Tuna Ironman Philippines, the inaugural full distance triathlon race in the country.

Baldwin successfully swam, biked, and ran the Subic Bay race course  finishing at 08:50:30 past New Zealand’s Cameron Brown (08:56:49) and Simon Cochrane (08:58:58), who placed second and third respectively to win the Men’s Pro Division.

Blatchford meanwhile, topped the Women’s Pro Division at 09:22:22 with fellow Aussie Dimity-Lee Duke (09:40:45) coming in second followed by New Zealand’s Simone Maier (09:47:39).

Filipino August Benedicto ruled the Asian Elite Division clocking in at 09:48:46. Pinoys Benjamin Rana (10:13:01) and John Philip Duenas (10:27:34) who came in second and third respectively share Benedicto’s pride of being top Ironmen in their own country.

Baldwin and Blatchford got their share of the US$ 25,000 total purse prize for winning their respective divisions.  Also, the race served as a qualifier for the 2018 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, USA with 30 slots up for grabs.

The country’s first full distance Ironman saw close to 1,300 participants from 50 countries including the Philippines. A total of 805 Pinoys were among the pack, a strong indication of triathlon’s increasing popularity and the Philippines becoming a premier race destination.

“Filipinos earning an Ironman badge on home soil is making history. We hope the triumph of our Ironmen and Ironwomen today inspires our countrymen to embrace fitness and live healthier lifestyles—our goal as an organization from the very start,” said Greg Banzon, EVP and COO of Century Pacific Food.

The Century Tuna IRONMAN Philippines 2018 is produced and organized by Sunrise Events and made possible through the support of a number of sponsors and partners including Alaska, the Department of Tourism, the Tourism Promotions Board, AAI, SBMA, Acea Subic Bay, NLEX and SCTEX, HOKA One One, Gatorade, Aquafina, TYR, Stork, David’s Salon, GU, Intercare, Prudential Guarantee; media partners The Philippine Star, Hyper HD on Cignal, AsiaTRI.com and Finisher Pix; marketing partners AlcoPlus, Cetaphil, Devant, Fern-C, Ford, PLDT SMART Communications, Regent Foods, Sanicare, and Timex.  For more details, visit Century Pacific or Ironman Philippines.

Biag and Malolot Top Tri-Factor Philippines Asian Championship Series  

Billy Biag flashed superb form and dominated the long distance triathlon while Mark Malolot held off Jade Albar in the standard distance as they shared top honors in the Tri-Factor Philippines Asian Championship Series at the Camsur Watersports Complex in Camarines Sur on 26-27 May 2018.

Long distance tri participants preparing for the swim start.

Biag clocked 3:19:04 to rule the grueling 1.5K swim-60K bike-15K run event beating Renel Brecenio (3:27:05) by almost eight minutes while Anthony Llaguno III clocked 3:50:30 to place third overall, capping the two-day novel triathlon (tri), which featured a four-leg mass participation series composed of individual swim, bike, run events, and a finale tri.

Triathlete Malolot ruled the 1.5K swim-40K bike-10K run in 2:27:31 foiling Albar, who clocked 2:31:09 while Ryan Laurino placed third overall in 2:38:43 followed by Edgar Cabalero (2:46:37) and Ricky Busran (2:51:59) .  Actor Gerald Anderson of Team De Rosa clocked 1:16:15 to win in the 25-29 Age Group (AG) Sprint Division.  Ms. Earth Air 2016 Michelle Gomez finished her maiden tri in the Freshmen Division.

Ms. Earth Air Michelle Gomez and  Bert Lozada Swim School managing director and swim coach Angelo Lozada being interviewed by event host Elle Adda during the Kids and Freshmen awarding ceremony and Media Night .

Likewise, Biag topped the 35-44 AG with Breceno claiming the crown in the 25-34 AG. Topping the female side of the 25-34 AG was  Regina Rosquites.  The Tri-Factor Philippines  served as the third leg of this year’s Asian Championship Series and hosted by CamSur.  Athletes also provided school supplies and slippers to over 200 indigent kids under the Race to Give Program of Sanctband facilitated by Tri-Factor Philippines marketing arm One of a Kind Marketing.

“I’m looking forward to another cheerful event next year.  The people, the place and CamSur are just amazing,” said Elvin Ting, managing director of organizing Orange Room Pte Ltd. and Tri-Factor series founder.

Sharing the spotlight are the top finishers of the relay in the Open Division of the long distance triathlon led by Bolima Madler, Platilla Margarito, and Lagyap Marino with a time of 3:02:32. Hezron Vasquez, Gil Peña Jr., and Dave de Vera finished in 3:18:47 to capture second place, while the relay team of Ruben Mariano, Inocencio Parza, and Dennis Suz clocked 3:27:36 to  garner third place.

“When you’re focused on finishing the race, it is the most amazing feeling. Nothing else matters, but to see yourself cross the finish line,” said Governor Migs Villafuerte. Representative LRay Villafuerte together with the young CamSur Governor graced the event. Under Armour ambassador and concert vocalist Elle Adda hosted the event.

Kids and Freshmen participants posed for a photo op with guests and organizers before the start of the inaugural Tri-Factor Asian Championship Series in CamSur.

Malolot also took the crown in the 16-24 AG category with Laurino ruling the 25-34 AG  and Busran topping the 35-44 AG of the event. Winners gained berths in the Tri-Factor Series in Thailand plus an overnight stay in Caramoan islands.

In the sprint distance (740m swim-20K bike-5Krun), John Caleb Barlin took the overall crown with a 1:08.29 clocking beating Louie Ibo and Roman Bonagua who timed 1:12.52 and 1:14.46 respectively.  They also took the top three places in the 16-24 AG category.

Junior Oba topped the 30-44 AG in 1:29.43 while Aldo Turiano took the crown in the 45 and above AG category  in 1:33.40 while Faith Robertson (16-29 AG) and Keigh Pascual (30-44 AG) reigned in the Women’s Division clocking 1:27.28 and 1:32.30 respectively.

Tri-Factor Asian Championship Series celebrated their 10th year by having a four-leg mass participation series in countries across Asia such as Malaysia, China, Indonesia, and Thailand. The next Tri-Factor series will be held in Thailand on 17 June 2018.

Press Release: Stellar Field All Primed Up for TRI-Factor Series

Multisport newbies, enthusiasts, and veteran triathletes set out for a new challenge as they showcased their skills in swimming, biking and running in the TRI-Factor Asian Championship Series earlier today at the Camsur Watersports Complex.

A big number of athletes in the region are vying in the four-leg mass participation series composed of individual swim, bike, and run events, and a finale triathlon staged to promote an active and healthy lifestyle particularly among the youth.

📷 credit to Tri-Factor Philippines ; One of a Kind Marketing

The TRI-Factor has grown from organizing multisport events in Singapore to creating the premier short-course championship series across the Asian region with CamSur hosting the third leg of the Asian Series and it comes at a time when local triathlon is enjoying tremendous boom with top notch events held regularly across the country the last few years.

📷 credit to Tri-Factor Philippines ; One of a Kind Marketing

Spicing up this weekend’s event is the participation of celebrity Gerald Anderson and Ms Earth Air 2016 Michelle Gomez.

📷 credit to FrancRamon.com

Anderson did the sprint and fellow Team De Rosa mainstays.  Gomez finished her Freshmen distance triathlon debut on Saturday afternoon.

📷 credit to Tri-Factor Philippines ; One of a Kind Marketing

The event held in conjunction with the Kaogma Festival celebration featured a “Race to Give” project where TRI-Factor racers  get to award school supply kits to every indigenous child right after they finish the race as part of TRI-Factor’s corporate social responsibility.

Host province led by Gov. Migs Villafuerte, welcomed all participants during the race kit collection.

📷 credit to Tri-Factor Philippines ; One of a Kind Marketing

Action also heated up today with the TRI-Factor long and standard distance triathlon slated from 6:30 AM to 12 noon and the TRI-Factor sprint distance triathlon set from 7 AM to 11 AM.  The awards rites will be held from 1 PM to 3 PM to be followed by the Let’s Party@Kaogma Festival bash.

For other details, visit www.trifactorph.com.

Press Release: CamSur is Tri-Factor Ready!

A merry mix of triathletes, wannabes and weekend runners gear up for a fun, but competitive race when the TRI-Factor Asian Championship Series stages its third leg at the CamSur Watersports Complex on May 26-27.

From Singapore to China, the circuit resumes in the Philippines with Camarines Sur, which has successfully hosted a number of triathlon and multi-sport events the last few years, putting up a course at par with international standards while guaranteeing a race to remember for the big international cast.

Local and international triathletes will be welcomed by the scenic view of CamSur Watersports Complex (CWC). Image by CWC, Chris Hopf. “I’m sure Tri-Factor in CamSur will not just be a competitive race but also a fun and exciting triathlon race,” said CamSur Gov. Migs Villafuerte. “Our province has been home to many triathlon and other sports events but the Tri-Factor Phl race is something that should not be missed since it will be one of the highlights of our Kaogma Grand Festival.” The TRI-Factor is a four-leg mass participation series composed of individual swim, bike and run events and a finale triathlon in a number of countries throughout Asia. It is held to provide kids, multisport beginners, enthusiasts and veteran triathletes a venue to polish their skills in swimming, biking and running.

Participants can actually take part in one or more events, giving them the opportunity to swim, bike or run or do all three to complete a triathlon. “This race series is designed for all capabilities and ages, starting from the kids triathlon all the way up to the long distance triathlon,” said TRI-Factor founder and managing director of the organizing Orange Room Pte. Ltd Elvin Ting. The host and organizers are preparing a grand welcome for local and international participants with the race kit collection set on May 26 from 10 AM to 5 PM. The race kit includes event tee, swim cap, timing chip, race bib, drawstring bag and finisher medal.

Finisher Medal
Event Tee 

Also on tap in the day are the community aqua fun event from 3 PM to 4 PM, the TRI-Factor Freshmen Distance Triathlon from 4:30 PM-6 PM, a 200m-swim, 10K bike, 2K run event with age classifications of 13-15, 16-29, and 30-and-above. The TRI-Factor Kids Distance Triathlon from 5 PM-6 PM, a 100m swim-5km bike-1km run race with awards rites set from 6:30 PM-9 PM. Action heats up on May 27 with the TRI-Factor Long, an individual and team relay – 1.5km swim-60km bike-15km run) in various age classes, and Standard Distance Triathlon, an individual and team relay event – 1.5km swim-40km bike-10km run, firing off at 6:30 AM to 12 noon. The TRI-Factor Sprint Distance, a 740m swim-20km bike-5km run event featuring age-group classes of 16-29, 30-44, and 45-and-above, will start at 7 AM to 11 AM with the awards ceremony set from 1 PM-3 PM to be followed by the grand party @Kaogma Festival.

Meanwhile, the race cut-off times are 45 minutes (Kids), 1 hour-30 mins (Freshmen), 2 hours, 30 mins (Sprint), four hours and 15 mins (Standard) and five hours for the Long distance. Roads will be re-opened by 10 a.m. on May 27 while those still on route will be directed back to the main event site to finish their run leg.

For details, visit www.trifactor.ph.

Find Your Strong

I was out jogging around the neighborhood when a thought struck me.  “What is that sport that I can do at my own time, at my own pace, and not so expensive?” Running was the answer.  Well, I thought it wasn’t expensive, but it turned out I was wrong. It was sometime in 2007.

From finishing a three-kilometer benefit run to marathons to ultramarathons—be they road or trail races—it made me move forward to continuously challenge myself.  To be honest, I did not know I could run more than 42 kilometers or even more than a hundred kilometers at the same time, exposed to the elements, or running under the scorching heat of the sun, or running in the rain.   But my first love was swimming.  I first learned to swim late in life. In fact, I was already in my 20s when I first learned the basics of swimming, but it was never too late to try something new.

Combined with my ability to run, I experienced my first aquathlon race, a 400m swim-7K run-400m swim, in Corregidor Island in 2009.  The following year, I had the chance meeting in person at an event, one of the living legends in the arena of ultramarathon running, Scott Jurek.  At some point that day, he signed autographs for the attendees.  What I received from Scott was, “Running Diva, dig deep!” he told me.  I was impressed, and began to think what it meant. In the end, it took me five years to fully understand the implications of the value of what he wrote.  For in mid-February of 2015, I got my first road bike from two great friends.  Yeah, it was a second-hand bike from owners who like me were also runners.  Let us anonymously named these two as Maui and Coach Ige.  Owning a bike now, I signed up for the first time a 40-kilometer bike race having no formal fitness training in cycling.  More about this crazy cycling story here.  Later that same year, I signed up for 2016 Cobra IRONMAN 70.3.   It’s IRONMAN 70.3, Running Diva! It was my way of testing my limits to bring me closer to what Scott wrote.  Dig deep.  You’re in.   Daunting!

A triathlon (tri) is a multiple-stage competition involving three disciplines of swimming, cycling, and running.  The format is always like that.  Swim, bike, and run.  A triathlete trains and devotes time for each discipline.  Another important aspect of triathlon includes two transitions. Transition one or T1 swings from swimming to cycling.  Transition two or T2 changes from cycling to running.  And the time accumulated to change in these two transitions are included in overall time of a triathlon.  The usual progression of a beginner triathlete is to usually transition from Sprint distance to Olympic distance to Half Ironman to long course triathlon, and finally, to Ironman. Or, to some athletes they progress by joining multisport events such as aquathlon (swim-run) and duathlon (bike-run) before attempting triathlon.

In 2016, I trained and completed my first Half Ironman distance triathlon in Cebu City.  Prior to this, I only had completed (and won third place in my Age Group) a Sprint and two-kilometer open water swimming. I believe my background in running really helped me complete the competition. It was not perfect, not really fast, but I finished strong.  That was my goal.  And, I achieved it.

The races that followed after finishing the Half Ironman distance were Sprint and Standard courses. Earlier this year, I have run a marathon in Cebu City, and raced in a cycling event in Indonesia, a UCI Gran Fondo World Series Tour de Bintan that included stand-alone events like the 17K Individual Time Trial and the 144K Gran Fondo Classic.  Both of these cycling events were geared to finishing an Ironman in the near future.  Crossing my fingers.

Now talking of tri, this brings me to the exciting part of this post about this upcoming event happening this month, the TRI-Factor Asian Championship Series.  The action will take place  on May 25 to 27 at the Camarines Sur Watersports Complex. It features various tri distances to test the mettle of the veteran triathletes, beginners, and enthusiasts. This is such a huge boost for this growing sport across the Asian region since most countries such as ours, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and China have the best beaches ideal for a tri race. In our country alone, with so many to choose from, the islands have hidden coves and beautiful sandy beaches for such a demanding sport that requires courses for swimming, biking, and running.  I have known some friends who will be doing this tri race.  And, I wish them all the best of luck!

With tri getting so much attention, is it the new strong?  Maybe.  Possibly. So what your strong? Swimming? Biking? Or, doing other fitness sports? To “find your strong” means whatever sport you are in and as long you put time, and is passionately pursuing it, not one sport is stronger than the other.  In my IMHO, what makes the sport strong is because of you.  Yes, you, the athlete.

Having the strong mindset, the willingness to appreciate mental preparation training (at the expense of losing your social life, well, temporarily, of course), striking the right work life balance, learning techniques to improve performance, and dealing with stressors, setbacks including losses are what makes you strong. Almost all sports have these elements. It will be like this: 90% mental and the other percentage is for physical.

You are strong when you put your heart to it. You are strong when you stay committed and focus. You are strong that even when you fail or lost or knock down (or you crash, or you are in a cast because of a fracture), you get right back up.

A real winner doesn’t have to be a title holder or a gold medalist.  I have had my share of going up on the podium and collecting medals and trophies. To me, the real winner is when you do whatever it takes to achieve your goal, and be the best you can be, the Best Version of Yourself.   

TRI-Factor Asian Championship Series Now in the Philippines

Local triathlon gets further boost as top Asian multisport brand TRI-Factor holds the third leg of its Asian Championship series in Camarines Sur in May with a slew of rising and leading triathletes in the region expected to see action.

Put up to provide multisport beginners, enthusiasts, and veteran triathletes or even kids a venue to hone their talent and skills in swimming, biking, and running, the TRI-Factor have grown from organizing multi-sport events in Singapore to creating the premier short-course championship series across the Asian region.

It features kids triathlon (100m swim-5K bike-1K run), freshmen triathlon (200m swim-10K bike-2K run), sprint triathlon (750m swim-20K bike-5K run), standard triathlon (1.5K swim-40K bike-10K run) and long triathlon (1.5K swim-60K bike-15K run).

“We’re pleased to announce the TRI-Factor Asian Championship series with new races in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and China. Our purpose is to provide our athletes diverse race options throughout the year, catering to the specific needs of the athletes across Asia,” said Elvin Ting, managing director of organizing Orange Room Pte Ltd. and Tri-Factor series founder.

The 2018 Asian Championship series will kick off in Singapore on April 22 then to China on May 13 before action shifts to the Philippines on May 25 to 27 at the CamSur Watersports Complex in Camarines Sur.

The TRI-Factor is also staged to promote an active and healthy lifestyle, particularly among the youth, and its Asian Championship leg will be held here for two years— 2018 and 2019, where hosting of more events including new race formats like Cycle-Run-Cycle are being looked into. Its staging in the country comes at a time when local triathlon is enjoying tremendous boom with top-notch events held regularly across the country in the last few years.

“Tri-Factor’s coming to the Philippines would be a great opportunity and new challenge for the newbies to engage in triathlon and pioneer triathletes to take the opportunity of racing in other parts of Asia especially in China under a different triathlon format. I’m looking forward to be in both the Philippine and China legs of Tri-Factor and I am really excited to go back to CWC, which is a great venue for a triathlon,” shared Taguig Congresswoman and triathlete Pia Cayetano upon learning about Tri-Factor’s arrival in the Philippines.

Founded in 2009, TRI-Factor is aimed at building a community and culture of Asian athletes racing with the region with its short distances and secured courses allowing beginners to master swimming, cycling, and running and prepare them for the regular triathlon events. Each TRI-Factor race finish gives athletes points counting toward a year-end ranking. For the Asian Championship series, each race will be assigned a Race Course index depending on the degree of difficulty where points awarded will be multiplied with the index, allowing athletes to rack up bigger points at the tougher races.

Titles at stake are the Series Asian, Best Country Athlete of the Year, Best Country Junior Athlete of the Year, Best Veteran Country Athlete of the Year, Top First-Timer Athlete, and Top First-Timer Junior Athlete.

Media Release: Inaugural Tri-factor Philippines on 2 Dec. 2017 at Laiya Batangas

Trail and road triathlon are set to converge at TRI-Factor Triathlon on December 2 in Laiya, Batangas.

Noted Singaporean multisport brand TRI-Factor has announced their first race in the Philippines. TRI-Factor Philippines will be held on December 2 at La Luz Beach Resort, Laiya, San Juan, Batangas.

TRI-Factor Philippines offers three categories suitable for beginners and experienced triathletes alike.

On race morning, the Sprint category offers a spin on a commonly-raced short distance: after a 750-meter open-water swim and 20-kilometer bike ride, the 5-kilometer run will be along Laiya’s famed white sand coastline.

The Super Sprint category is even shorter, targeted at Rookie Amateur Weekend Warriors, comprised of a 500-meter swim, 10-kilometer bike ride, and 2.5-kilometer beach run.

With an afternoon start, the EXTRI Challenge is for off-road enthusiasts, covering a one-kilometer swim, 22-kilometer cross-country cycling, and four kilometers of trail running.

TRI-Factor Philippines has illustrious pedigree as part of Asia’s biggest triathlon series. Founded in 2009, TRI-Factor has helped grow the Singaporean triathlon scene with its mass participation events that help multisport beginners master swimming, cycling, and running. The short distances and secured courses provide a platform for beginners to progress and grow in the sport so that they can eventually race triathlons.

The TRI-Factor Asian Championships expands into the regional market, announcing races in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, China, and now the Philippines.

“The Philippines has one of the fastest-growing populations of triathletes, but there is a gap of regional races in the race calendar,” says Elvin Ting, Co-Founder of TRI-Factor Series. “We are building a community and culture of Asian athletes, and this race brings the Philippines into the fold. We see an opportunity to provide the local athletes a structured progressive platform to grow into the triathlon sport rather than to jump straight into completing a long distance Ironman event.”

TRI-Factor’s entry into the local market is in partnership with eXtribe. Established in 2005, eXtribe has long distinguished itself with the eXtri Offroad Triathlon and Whiterock Triathlon, cherished events on the local triathlon calendar. Adding the off-road element is eXtribe’s signature contribution, which gives the TRI-Factor community a different race experience.

Regular registration rates are in effect until 12 Nov. 2017. For more information, visit www.trifactor.ph and follow TRI-Factor Philippines on Facebook.

For further media inquiries, please contact:
Elvin Ting
Email: elvin.ting@orangeroom.com.sg
HP: (65) 97549161

About The Orange Room:

Orange Room specializes in organizing professional sporting events. Formed by athletes with more than 20 years of combined experience in the competitive sporting event field, Orange Room has successfully organized numerous events throughout Singapore and Asia.

Orange Room is the regional rights holder to global concept events such as Blacklight Run, Foam Glow Run, and Bubble Run. Its homegrown TRI-Factor Series has become one of the most successful sporting series in Asia, expanding into Thailand, Malaysia, China, and the Philippines.

IRONMAN Gurye KOREA: From RUNNING DIVA’s Eyes as a Support Crew and as a Spectator

Pre-race Activities and Visit to Busan and Gurye

Earlier this year the invite came from runner-blogger and Busan-based Del aka Argonaut Quest, who advised me that the best time to go to Busan, South Korea would either be in April in time to see those beautiful sakura flowers blossoming just about everywhere, or in the autumn months between October and November where leaves are changing from the vibrant greens of summer to a colorful palette of yellow, orange, red, and cooling temperatures. I was a bit hesitant to say yes not because I didn’t want to, but because of some important stuff.

Since triathlon (tri) off-season was also underway, a few weeks off from my last big races would mean some time doing other activities, eg household chores, filing stuff, and a lot of catching up on life.  But what the heck! The call to come to Gurye (pronounced gu-re or gu-ræ) to support teammate Raffy’s IRONMAN (IM) Gurye quest at the same time get to watch the IM event was too much to ignore that I  found myself securing needed documents, crossing my fingers that I could get through the dreaded visa process. To my surprise, getting one was not bad at all. Funny, too, the flights were booked way ahead of time. Super thanks to Tri Taft and Team Ninja Jerome for making it possible for Raffy and me. Well, I got mine just a few hours earlier than that of teammate Raffy. Obviously, wasn’t too excited, right? Yay!

Endure teammates wishing Raffy good luck. Raffy’s wife Winnie was almost on full term pregnancy hence it was safer for her to stay home. 📷 credit to Clark

The send-off party attended by Endure teammates and some friends put Raffy in a good mood days before the trip. The occasion was also made extra special in a way that only a videoke can! The final night before flight next day, I still managed to sneak time to meet Endure teammates Jemai and Vic for Raffy’s IM finisher’s poster including helmet and bike stickers. Super thanks, Jemai and Vic!

Everything went well as planned. We were picked up from Busan airport right on time by Del, or around 8 PM local time. Manila is one hour behind Busan. Then we immediately went to his place for a quick stop to bring our luggage in.  Del was letting us stay in his place during our short visit in Busan.

It was a good idea to start the night with a short walk. Seeing the lights and buildings, my initial impression of life in Busan was the city had a more laid back atmosphere and perhaps a more beautiful city at night than it was during the day. We visited a nearby restaurant for Thursday dinner and enjoyed a spicy Korean soup with rice, fish and kikiam cakes partnered with (to my relief) fried chicken, potato fries, and cola drink. Super thanks Del for the welcome dinner. Simple things yet they have transformed our arrival in Busan extra special.

Our first taste of authentic spicy Korean food.

We agreed to do a short run around the nearby area early next day. Del maintained a daily routine that is, squeezing in some morning run workouts before going to work. Who could resist such cool morning where the sun added an unbelievable light to the already foggy mountain range. I so wanted to stop running for a few minutes to savor the view, but I didn’t want to lose sight of Del and Raffy who were running ahead of me. The partly shaded flat run around the block worked wonders, which eventually led us to Eulseok Island, a paradise for migratory birds and happened to be home to one of the most runner or cyclist friendly paths in the city. The amazing view would always be imprinted on my mind.

Busan is a runner friendly city.
Bumping into a newfound friend in Busan. 📷 credit to Del

We left Busan on Friday evening for Gurye and had a short stop to grab something to eat at a restaurant along the expressway.  County Gurye is a two and a half to three-hour drive from Busan. We arrived late in the evening to our hotel, and soon as we stepped out of the car, we were greeted by the chilly mountain air. After some initial confusion about our reservation, the staff at the front desk immediately sorted it out with smiles and a bit of humor. Visiting Gurye for the first time, I found the locals to be quite friendly and helpful. “This is it!” I said to myself. I would have to wear many hats in the next two days—as a teammate, support crew, cheerer, overseer, spectator athlete, la la la. We went to our rooms and decided to meet up early next day (and in our minds) to officially kickoff race weekend.

Race Weekend

We all got up early on Saturday morning and headed to the swim venue for the official swim practice. I was mesmerized by the breathtaking views of the town of Gurye. It was simply amazing! It was a cold foggy morning at Jirisan Lake, and the fog looked like steam rising off from the lake water.

More eye bags to go! LOL! 📷 credit to Del

As participants trickled in, some were engaged in conversation and others were busy changing into their wetsuits. I saw familiar faces including friends Maximus owner coach Andy, RaceDay Triathlon Monching, recent  Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® or UTMB CCC finisher Erick, Jay, and Doc Art among others. Swim practice didn’t take long for Raffy, except for Del who decided to swim, well, almost the full course. Whoa! Go, Del!

The scene after Saturday’s official swim practice.

After the swim, we had to meet some members of the Philippine IM Gurye KOREA delegation for a quick photo op, and the four of us then proceeded to claim race kits at the race expo. There were clearly people that had arrived at the expo, which was at another location accessible either by walking or by car.

Some of the 114-strong Philippine IM Gurye KOREA delegation accompanied by their families and friends. This was taken after the swim practice. 📷 credits to JR Hizon … et al.
Raffy’s and Yap’s loots and some shopping!

The expo where participants pick up their race packets, have photo ops, register or listen to race briefing, is a triathlete’s dream place. Couldn’t help but feel a twinge of envy after seeing Raffy’s, Del’s, and Yap’s race kits. In my mind, “I wish I were a participant, omgee!” LOL to myself. Kit claiming is one of my favorite race-day moments. In Gurye it was orderly, organized, and most importantly, it happened real quickly. We got the opportunity to take some time to check out race  items and see what the vendors had to offer.  After all, it was not a bit silly to try other goodies on offer, and they were reasonably priced, too. And if you were lucky enough, you could even get a substantial or good discount. The guys bought some race essentials and IM Gurye mementos. We also watched a bit of the IRONKIDS Gurye wave start.

IRONKIDS wave start

Since all bikes and transition bags must be racked on Saturday, after having brunch, we went back to the hotel to prepare the bikes and pack gear and transition bags for check-in later in the afternoon. Del drove his car so he and I could go straight to the gear/bike check-in area, while Raffy and Yap biked their way to the expo to see a bike mechanic for last minute bike checkup.

Transition area. Don’t mess up. It could cost you your race time! Focus, guys!

I stayed at the waiting area or near the M dot for Del to rack up his bike and gear first, then I scanned the crowd to check whether Raffy or Yap had already arrived. From afar, I watched officials checked helmets as athletes entered the transition area. It took sometime before Raffy and Yap could join us.  It  turned out, Raffy’s bike was thoroughly checked for other mechanical problems. Once everyone was done, we all headed back to our hotel and opted to go out again to have an early dinner.

Raffy and I joined Greenhills Tri James at a nearby local restaurant frequented by some Pinoy triathletes. Del and Yap opted to check out foods from other restaurants. Afterwards, Raffy and I joined Del and Yap, and together we bought some groceries at a nearby convenient store.

Team Endure represent!

Raffy and I went back to our hotel to prepare other race essentials: (1) race number tattoo, checked;  (2) transition bag for special needs, checked; (3) timing chip, checked; (4) wetsuit, checked; (5) goggles and cap, checked; (6) outfit of the day (OOTD) pre-race, checked; and, (7) OOTD post-race, checked. We agreed for an early night on Saturday to get that well-deserved rest because we had a BIG day planned for next day, but Raffy had difficulty falling asleep. My thoughts, “I so can relate. Race jitters here you go!” Deep breathing exercise didn’t help him either. I just said to Raffy this, “Don’t worry about bad sleep; having good sleep days before the trip is what matters. Being a little nervous for tomorrow’s race means you cared about your performance and have put in a lot of hard training to prepare.”

The day has finally arrived!

On race morning, Raffy and I availed of the hotel’s breakfast, which was specially prepared for IM participants. It was a fairly early start as we all had to travel to race venue with a bit of time for the guys to check their gear in the transition area. Race suit on, transition bag ready, bike Tomoe race ready, I believe Raffy was focused.  A good sign!

The early dawn silence was suddenly broken by the booming and energetic voice of IM race announcer. In a few hours, the starting line would soon be filled with that too-pumped feeling, pre-race jitters, and adrenaline! Looking up at the sky, it was cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful. I told Del about it and was a bit surprised when he replied, “Just wait. It would be foggy in a few minutes.” Finally, it was time for them to go to start!

This was how it looked like during the seeding of age-group rolling start.

From afar, I could see IM officials supervising all participants during the self-seeding for age-group rolling start. It was like watching penguins congregating at the water’s edge since most athletes wore wetsuits, and diving one by one into the cold water.  In reality, one by one racers jumped off the dock to get round the first buoy. Then what Del said earlier happened. The fog crept by and had slowly enveloped the swim course. Not more than ten minutes after the race had started; a swimmer had veered completely off course, and tried to go back while kayak safety marshals looked on. A few minutes later, two swimmers asked to be rescued and were aided by race marshals at the dock. I think, it was a DNF for these two athletes.

It was so foggy. Initially, emcee announced earlier that swim will be stopped for safety of all swimmers. Spectators cheered when it was announced a few minutes later that swim would continue after all.

I could hardly see anyone out there in the water now. Even kayak marshals and the biggest IM buoy disappeared into the fog. It wasn’t too cold, but the evaporation fog over the lake made it look like a scene from a movie where a predator could come out any time soon of the mist in front of us. Then came emcee’s voice on the mic again announcing that the swim might be cut short to bring the swimmers to safety due to the thick fog. Spectators muttered as he was announcing this. As I watched the scene before me, I prayed hard for the safety of the participants and my friends. After a few seconds, perhaps an answered prayer, emcee’s voice came again and jubilantly announced that the swim would continue after all!  We cheered and clapped our hands! I was positioned for a good view of athletes as they came out of the water. Spectators encouraged participants with cheers. I saw who came out first. It was a Caucasian, perhaps from the US. Then followed by more athletes now out of the water. I stood there for almost two hours and waited not only for Raffy, but also for other friends to come out of the water. And, when they finally did, it was a huge relief!

Finally out of the water! That was a 3.8-km swim! Go, Raffy!

In the next moment, who would have thought that you could hear the emcee shouting an athlete’s name followed by a dialect of your own language in this foreign land, “Philippines! Astiiiiiig!” LOL! By the way, there were over a hundred Pinoys who joined this year’s IM Gurye Korea, third biggest contingent, if I were not mistaken. Thanks to Tri Taft JR Hizon for doing much of the coordination and for making this possible for our Pinoy triathletes. Also, great thanks to Yap for leaving his pocket WiFi with me. Because of it, I was able to share race-day highlights to Endure teammates in Manila.

Except for tidbits or stories shared by friends, I couldn’t say much for the bike leg. “Bike course wasn’t that too easy.  It was like riding two Tagaytays,” according to coach Andy.  “I was emotional and I even cried when family back home came into mind,” Raffy said. “I was careful while riding down the hills,” Del shared. And Yap said, “The best!”

After the swim leg, decided to walk to the other side of the lake to meet briefly coach Andy’s Mom and family who stayed at a place called Guest House Hotel. Spent time with them over a quick late breakfast then went back to my hotel to rest while the competitors were still on their bikes. The athlete IM tracker was a huge help to track my friends’ standing in the race including expected time to finish. Getting back to race venue or finish area was not a problem since shuttle bus services were made available until midnight on that day.

I arrived at the race venue at half past three in the afternoon, and positioned myself near the 17K/30K turnaround point so it would be easier for me to spot incoming athletes. Almost all participants looked so strong despite having had to finish biking a 180-kilometer distance. The 42-km run race was still on, and you’d never know what could possibly happen in the next few fours.

Finally, saw Raffy as he was approaching the 17-km mark and cheered on him. On the second time he was about to turn around it, having reached the 30-km distance, and as I was about to take a video of him to update teammates when suddenly he stopped running only to tell me he felt dizzy. Of course, in IM tri you couldn’t lend extra help to a participant for this would mean a DQ or DNF. I did try to seek help from the marshal, but the language barrier did not help. Looking at it positively, I believe it was a blessing for my asking help made Raffy continue his run. Though a bit worried for Raffy, my assessment was Raffy’s overworked muscle was getting into him. He was exhausted. I could see that. But it was up to him now. IRONMAN, as an endurance sport, is also mental. It’s mind over matter now for Raffy. From where I stood, I saw him ate something at the aid station, and ran again. Crossing my fingers and knowing how much Raffy prepared for this, I never for one reason or another doubted his capability to reach the finish line. He would be OK.

With only over 12 kilometers to go, expected time to finish was about sub-15 hours. A block away from the finish arch, I positioned myself at the corner. Readied the poster that teammate Jemai prepared for Raffy. With only 30 minutes to go, Raffy would, finally, be an IRONMAN! In those minutes, I kept shouting at the passing runners to cheer on them shouting, “You’re stronger than you think you are! You’re about to be an IRONMAN, go, go, go! Girl power! Your running form is still OK, you can do this! Still running strong!” It was like a litany while waiting for Raffy to arrive. In that moment, while watching them, a realization dawned on me that it was easier to be out there racing than to patiently wait. Omgee! LOL! I reminded myself, “RD, patience is a virtue.”

Finally, I spotted him a few meters back, he was slouching already and looked tired. As soon as he was near enough from where I was seated, I opened the tarp for him to see. Written on it was “IRONMAN (his complete name) CONGRATS! From your team ENDURE for conquering IRONMAN Gurye KOREA 09.10.17!” Entirely, I’ve noticed his stance changed.  Now that was what I call second wind. I was running alongside him on the sidewalk now while holding the tarp, too excited and shouted, “Almost there … IRONMAN, ka na! Woohoo! Congrats!” till he reached the red carpet at the finish line. From outside the corral near the finish arch, I stood there waiting for the emcee to announce his name ending with these words, “… you’re an IRONMAN!” He crossed the finish line with a pretty impressive time for a first-time finisher! Nothing was easy, but anything was possible.

Raffy’s hard-earned IRONMAN finisher’s medal. 📷 credit to Raffy

I was feeling happy during the race and I believe it had something to do with the fact that I was part of something big. Though some close friends back home thought that I would be racing full IM, no, not this time, not yet. My task has officially ended. Mission accomplished. Now I could finally relax and remove my invisible support crew hat.

An honor to be with these IM Gurye Korea finishers! 📷 credit to Del

Congratulations to all Pinoy triathletes who participated in year’s inaugural IM Gurye Korea! Kudos to IM Gurye Korea organizers, event partners, volunteers, cheerers, Gurye residents and officials, and to the many people for a job well done. You guys, rock! See you next time! Gurye saranghæ! Busan saranghæ!

Anything is possible.

Ford Forza Triathlon Team Readying for 2017 Cobra Ironman 70.3

The Ford Philippines-backed and Cebu-bound Ford Forza triathlon team aka Forza is ready to once again participate in one of the biggest triathlon (tri) and challenging races in Asia on August 6, Sunday. The 2017 Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Cebu is expected to gather over 2,500 athletes from 51 different countries.

We are excited to partner with the Ford Forza triathlon team who has showcased their commitment and dedication to the sport over the years.  For years not only have they gone further, but also served as an inspiration to a bigger majority because of their life stories and journeys, and their motivation to make it big with the sport.  With this, we are delighted to rally behind these athletes as they braved through tough challenges and races this year,” said Ford Philippines AVP for marketing Prudz Castillo.

Led by businessman Gianluca Guidicelli, Forza team boasts a diverse mix of members from different industries. Among the current Forza members are actors Matteo Guidicelli and Ivan Carapiet, television host and sports correspondent Dyan Castillejo, entrepreneur Giorgia Guidicelli, cancer survivor Joey Torres, long-time triathletes Elmo Clarabal, Joseph Miller, business manager Ian Solana, tri coach Noel Salvador, and businessman Jomer Lim.

“The team is especially driven this time. We have new members and everyone is just excited to race harder and tougher this year. I have great confidence in my team.  We’re strong.  We are called ‘Forza’ after all.  Having Ford, who is just as tough as we are, to back us up once again, only fuels our desire to keep racing and to keep inspiring,” shared Gianluca Guidicelli.

Gianluca Guidicelli, the man behind Ford Forza tri team.

Forza team members took a more rigorous training that started early this year to finish strong. Furthermore, the team has also expanded its roster to include 20 members with ages ranging from 10-50 years. These new members include businessmen Romeo Castro and Tyrone Tan, brothers Ralph David Du and Yves Christian Du (both had been participants in the 2013 Pinoy Biggest Loser), sports enthusiasts Patricia Espino, Donikko Fernan, and Christian Saladaga, and cyclist Ica Maximo—all of which are very active in multisport events.

The Ford Forza Triathlon Team and its Advocacy

The Forza team created an advocacy supporting talented Filipino athletes who loved the sport but lacked the means to race by giving them the opportunity to be part of the team.  To date, Forza has gone further by providing its team members with everything to race, eg, a free ride for the whole year, rigorous and tough training sessions, and the pride to represent the team in races. Christian Saladaga, one of their strongest teammates, whose background is as inspiring as his passion for the sport, has beaten some of this year’s best athletes in past competitions.

Inspiring athletes to be potential winners drive the Forza team. New members Ralph and Christian Du continue to go further in the sport when they started off as contestants in a reality TV show.  Losing more than a hundred pounds each, the brothers motivated and inspired each other to be fit through various family activities and sports. They then ventured into the world of multisport racing and never looked back.

Earlier in the year, the Forza team has competed in races such as the Xterra Danao in April and the 5150 Subic Bay Philippines in June.  The team also hosted the Giro d’Luca cycling event in Bohol that brought cyclists and bike enthusiasts together.  Almost a thousand participants joined the annual event.

As a multidiscipline sport, tri has evolved making it the ultimate endurance test for athletes in the form of swimming, cycling, and running. Through the continued partnership, the Forza team can truly showcase how Ford vehicles such as the Ranger can complement the lifestyle and personalities of triathletes—built tough, capable, and versatile. Catch the Forza team at the Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Cebu on August 6, Mt. Mayon ASTC Triathlon Asian Cup in Bicol on August 13, and 5150 Triathlon in Bohol on November 5.

With actor and humble Forza member Matteo Guidicelli.
About the Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company is a global company based in Dearborn, Michigan. The company designs, manufactures, markets, and services a full line of Ford cars, trucks, SUVs, electrified vehicles and Lincoln luxury vehicles, provides financial services through Ford Motor Credit Company and is pursuing leadership positions in electrification, autonomous vehicles and mobility solutions. Ford employs approximately 202,000 people worldwide.  For more information regarding Ford, its products, and Ford Motor Credit Company, please visit Corporate Ford.

Philippines to Host First Full IRONMAN in 2018

Social media sites were abuzz yesterday with the announcement of a full Ironman distance happening in the second quarter of next year! Such an exciting news for most Pinoy triathletes who dream of finishing one!

In celebration of Sunrise Event’s 10th year anniversary and ten years of staging the IRONMAN 70.3 in the country, the Philippines will finally host its first full IRONMAN on 3 June 2018. Coming in as the proud title sponsor is Century Tuna which has been a title sponsor of the IRONMAN 70.3 since 2015. With the full IRONMAN, Century Tuna continues its mission to inspire more Filipinos to pursue their own health and wellness journey.

Pinoy triathletes can now proudly experience becoming certified IRONMAN finishers in their own country as they triumph in the most grueling endurance sport in the world. Our best triathletes will have to conquer distances of 3.8-km swim, 180-km bike, and a 42-km run as they rule their minds and bodies to become the first full IRONMAN finishers in the Philippines.

In line with the announcement above, please see below Century Pacific Food’s vice president and general manager Greg H. Banzon’s message to all:

“A full Ironman triathlon is regarded as the most physically demanding single-day sport in the world. Competing in one requires a high level of commitment from the athlete to train long, hard hours for at least five months. And the strength and toughness of mind, body, and spirit to endure the 3.8-km swim, 180-km bike, and full marathon run on race day.

Yet, despite the fearsome image and overwhelming physical demands of this ultimate endurance sport, demand for the race has been growing dramatically worldwide. In the Philippines, most triathlon races are usually sold out despite the rapid increase in the number of half Ironman and standard distance triathlon races and all other race distances in between.

Filipinos are increasingly among the largest contingents in the Ironman races abroad because the full distance is not held in the country. The clamor to hold a full distance IRONMAN has been growing more intense as early as a two or three years after the first IM70.3 was held in the country nine years ago.

As a brand at the forefront of promoting health and fitness, Century Tuna is very proud to be the lead sponsor in finally staging a full distance IRONMAN in the Philippines in 2018. The expected scale and scope of attention the event will generate in the country and the global triathlon community gives us a very big stage to shout out our message of living a healthy lifestyle through proper diet and exercise.

We are also pleased that the event will give Filipinos a chance to witness the drama and glory of athletes completing the grueling challenge of a full Ironman up close and hopefully inspire the entire nation as they pursue their own fitness journey. Congratulations to Sunrise Events for bringing IRONMAN to the Philippines.”