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Sulong PinoyAge is just a number

by Norman Aceron Garcia

It was a busy weekend for our athletes, June 13-14, 2015. Eight athletes from Sulong Triathlon Group competed in two separate race events held that weekend.

Jimmy Anis (47) had an impressive time of 5:56:47 in the 70.3-mile Long Course (2K swim / 90K bike / 21K run) of the Liberty Triathlon held at Lake Rebecca Park Reserve, Rockford, Minnesota on June 13. A remarkable feat on its own made more so considering this was only Jimmy’s third-ever ever triathlon race and his first attempt at the 70.3 mile distance.

According to Jimmy, “As a team, we all push ourselves and I’m equally grateful for the motivation our teammates have given me, so our achievements all link back to our team. This sport pushes our bodies to limits that most people would never even think about. Thanks for letting me be a part of a great team! Sulong pride! More important, Filipino pride!”

The following day, June 14, at Bird’s Hill Provincial Park, five STG triathletes participated in the Sprint distance (750m swim / 26.6K bike / 5K run), namely Jimmy Antonio (46), Paquito Brucal (50), Frederick Del Rosario (44), Edward Friesen (34), and Erid Mendoza (39).

Armand Siapno (44), who got into triathlon last year, raced the Olympic distances of 1.5K swim, 40K bike, and 10K run. It was his first time in this category. With the exception of Armand and Erid, the rest were in for their first ever triathlon experience. Meanwhile in the Kids of Steel Division, Erid’s son, Yacine, placed second over all among boys ages six and seven years old. Their race consisted of a 50m swim, 1.5K bike, and 500m run.

“Great feeling after finishing my first race after a long winter training. Triathlon is something that I’ve always dreamed of doing. I wish I started doing this years ago. One training and one race at a time.’’ says Paquito Brucal, who at 50 years old is at the fittest stage of his life.

“I am proud to have completed my first triathlon as a member of the Sulong Triathlon Group. Crossing the finish line was a great personal achievement of health and physical fitness for me and it was lots of fun!” reveals Edward Friesen, who is a first-time finisher and only started serious training this year when he joined the club.

“I dedicate this race to my family. Without their support I would not have completed this race” exclaims Jimmy Antonio, who now only has one kidney since donating one to his son a few years ago. Jimmy only started attending swimming lessons in the fall of 2014 and is observing a strict diet and active lifestyle to keep his remaining kidney healthy.

As preparation for this race weekend, the team trained for more than six months in different disciplines of swimming, cycling, running, and strength training. The team also conducted two “Winter Lecture Series” during the off-season where they had workshops in basic and intermediate cycling, efficient running form, preventing & treating sports injuries, and doing fast (swim-to-bike and bike-to-run) transitions.

Sulong triathletes also participated in tune-up duathlon races held on every Tuesday last May in Bird’s Hill Provincial Park. Dennis Flores (47), Peter Tan (47), Philip Habacon (46), Mervin Maramag (40), Hans Christian Habacon (15), and Raffy Maramag (13) all took part. They all participated in the short duathlon course 2K run, 13K bike and 2K run.

The team will next participate in various races in Manitoba, in St. Malo, Morden, Hecla, and Pinawa. Wystan Celestino and Jimmy Anis are both training for the prestigious Ironman (4K swim, 180K bike, 42K run) races in Boulder, Colorado and Madison Wisconsin, respectively.

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