No doubt, interest and participation in triathlons all over the country continues to grow as does the number of teams participating in these events as was evidenced at last Sunday’s Unilab Tri-United held at the Dungaree Beach, Subic Bay Freeport.
It was my first time to attend a triathlon event, not as a participant but to cover it as part of the Unilab Media team in promoting its program of pro-active health and wellness activities through triathlons (Tri-United) and running (Run United).
Well, the Tri-United was like a whirlwind of an event, juggling my LCD camera from the swim events at Dungaree Beach then climbing my way up to the bike transition area and finally taking photos at my favorite event, running (in case you didn’t know).
As expected, the entire experience proved to be an eye opener. Triathletes are pretty serious with their gears and the sea of top tri-bikes resting atop those poles sure looks like a fashion show of rides parading on the ramps. A couple of Cervelos here and there, Trek, Scott, Giant, Specialized and the Orbea brands, to name a few, dominated the field and even some mountain bikes with road tires were seen. I was drooling with envy and even thought of hi-jacking one of them to give it a spin around Subic Bay!
At least 600 of the country’s top triathletes spread out over the standard and sprint distances with team relays were on hand at the Dungaree Beach under fairly good weather.
The Tri-United is an excellent event for our local triathletes to hone up their skills and most specially to the newbies who want to try out the standard (1.5km swim/ 40km bike ride/ 10km run) or the shorter sprint distances. Here, they get the feel of what’s it like to splash and kick with other triathletes in a not so crowded open-water swim.
I saw many friends who were doing the tri for the first time and felt their jitters, most specially at the start of the swim event where most of them do not really have much of the swimming experience which for them was very daunting. One even confided to me that as long as he comes out of the water alive, he sure will be kicking it at the end of the run event!
Great to see the triathletes come out of the water one by one and sprint up on that carpeted ramp on their way to their transition for the bike leg but saw so many struggle as they huff and puff to catch their breath even before they started mounting their bikes.
I wasn’t able to witness much of the bike race as this was held outside of the transition areas although the excitement returned when each rider returned, dismounting from their bikes and ran towards their respective pole positions to start out their runs.
For us spectators, the run was the most exciting because we would cheer on the runners whenever they hit the turn-around 5k point and it was here where we saw the strongest and most determined of the lot. Team’s here were tight-knit and the camaraderie was infectious although every body seems to cheer every one that passes through the finish line.
At the awarding ceremony, awards to winners were given not only to Elite athletes but also to age-group winners. For an event not so crowded with participants, i think giving out various awards to age-group category winners is just appropriate. Each age group winners should be given due recognition and i wish this system should also carry-over to pure running events.
It was great to watch these triathletes push their boundaries and they gave it all…emotionally, physically and mentally and to the newbie finishers, they all conquered both their doubts and fear. Congratulations!
My heartfelt thanks to Claire Papa, Dulce Morales and to the rest of Unilab’s External Affairs for this opportunity to cover this event and for the delightful camaraderie i had with fellow bloggers and all my triathlete friends. You all rock!