Eighty eighty

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Today, there are various numbers that proliferate in the triathlon scene. There’s “111” (Tabuelan). There’s “123” (DEFY 123). There’s “5150” (Olympic distance), “70.3” (Half-Ironman), and “226” (Timex Bohol).

These all pertain to the distance. In the case of Tabuelan, that’s 111 kms. — swim for 2-K, bike for 88-K, and run for 21-K.  With the extremely difficult “226,” that’s similar to the full Ironman distance: 3.8-K swim, 180-K bike plus a full marathon. (Crazy distance, no?)

There’s one more number that’s invaded the Tri’ calendar and it’s happening next Saturday, November 8.

8080. If you’re Chinese and believe in the lucky powers of the number “8,” then you’ll be happy. If you’re a graphic artist, you’ll note that when you handwrite the digits “0” and “8,” they’re endless loops — the same loops that triathletes will traverse in San Remigio.

Cornerstone Group is the organizer. Led by Steve Maniquis, he gathered two others — Quinito Moras and Joel Juarez — two years ago and decided to start an event-organizing company that “would make quality triathlon events and fun runs.”

1.8-K swim + 65-K bike + 14-K run. Summed up, that’s 80.80 kms.

“We came up with the 8080 distance,” said Steve, “so people could slowly increase their distance if they wanted to eventually do a 70.3 or Half-Ironman. We feel that the distance is finding a niche in the triathlon community.”

The Nov. 8 race in San Remigio was scheduled because it was one year ago — Nov. 8, 2013 — when a major tragedy truck our nation. “It’s our way of commemorating the one year anniversary of Yolanda,” said Steve. Next year, Cornerstone has lined-up four events: a Sprint distance in January plus three more 8080s: March in Daanbantayan, May (location to be finalized) and back to San Remigio in Nov. 2015.

Like many from Cebu, Steve got bitten by the tri-sport bug just recently, joining his first Sprint race in February 2012. He pedaled onwards, joining the IM70.3 races last year and last August.

What’s remarkable is that Mr. and Mrs. Maniquis are both Ironman 70.3 individual finishers. Maricel Martinez Maniquis, Steve’s wife and a long-time friend, herself completed the IM70.3 race last August. Next year, both husband and wife plan to do another round of IM70.3 races in Cebu and in Vietnam.

What makes 8080 different? For one, the starting time. Unlike all other events that start before 7 a.m., this race begins at high noon! Yes, around 12:30 p.m. The reason: in San Remigio, the low tide means really shallow waters. At noon, it’s the highest of tides and the best time for that freestyle. “The noon time start will make for a not-so-hot run portion and the swim portion will not be too deep,” said Steve.

There’s also a 4040 category — half the full distance. Plus, relay teams are welcome in both divisions. The event will be on a Saturday (while most are on Sunday). Timing chips will be used. “The bike route will be closed for a safer bike ride,” added Steve. “It’s a longer race than the Standard or Olympic distance and it’s also draft legal for the bike so it makes for a faster and more strategic race.” During and after the race, the party will be hosted by Cable Car.

“Triathlon is still growing but you are already seeing derivative forms like CrossFit and Adventure racing gaining exposure,” said Steve. “Triathlon is a very demanding sport and the body definitely takes a beating. Although it’s nice to see the progression of young kids who do triathlons. Before you used to be a swimmer or a biker or a runner; now, the new breed of triathletes are good in all three disciplines. It’s gonna be here for a while.”

With advice for the newcomers, Steve gave three: Get clearance from the doctor. Be careful of doing too much too soon. And, if you want to get faster, do interval training on all three disciplines.

The 8080 deadline for registration is tomorrow. Visit the Facebook page now and see you in San Remigio on the 8th.

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