We all have dreams and for every Filipino triathlete’s aspiration, the ultimate dream would be perhaps to qualify and join the most prestigious triathlon competition of them all, the Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii every October.
The chance to qualify first would be on September 27, 2014 when about 119 Filipinos are set to participate at the Langkawi Ironman in Malaysia. However, our athletes will have their hands full when only forty athletes from all over the world who qualify for this September event will be part of an epic and memorable competition the following month at the Kona Championships.
The Filipino athletes will tackle what is considered one of the world’s hardest one-day endurance events: a 2.4-mile ocean swim, 112-mile bike ride through hilly terrain and 26.2-mile road marathon.
In the field of competitors from more than 50 countries, the Philippine delegation have bonded together to form what is now the largest and second Philippine contingent ever to race in a full-Ironman distance outside the country, the first one being the 90-member team which competed at the Ironman Asia Pacific Championship in Melbourne, Australia last March.
To earn a coveted spot at the world championships, the majority of athletes qualify for entry by placing high in their age group divisions at one of 35 international Ironman qualifying races. Some athletes also win spots in the race through the Ironman lottery.
The Philippine team to Langkawi, organized by Triathlete and RP Paratriathlon Team Coach Vince Garcia is composed of veteran triathletes and new aspiring ones as well. Last Thursday, the core group of this contingent held a Press Conference at the Skippy’s Bar and Grill (Bonifacio Global City) to drum up their forthcoming Langkawi sojourn for this still growing sport.
At the Press Conference, the local triathletes present were Coach Norman Pascual, Julian Valencia, Carlos De Guzman, Retzel Orquiza, Ivan Fojas and Coach Vince Garcia himself. Each of these athletes spoke about the road to Langkawi and their present training, nutrition and other experiences as triathletes.
It seems in the world of triathlon, being able to compete in an Ironman means everything. The enormous popularity of the Ironman Triathlon with its mushrooming events has now ballooned to 35 global races and has sparked a widespread interest in those three disciplines with runners, swimmers, gym enthusiasts and bikers now wanting to dip their feet into the sport.
More than the name itself, triathletes seems to be still interested in the quality of the races they join, the spectacle-like atmosphere that these 35 global Ironman competitions provide them. The fact that many of these athletes are competing to qualify for the World Championships in Kona and being able to call themselves an Ironman plays a big role in joining these races!
(Photo credits to Art and Vimz Mendoza)