Sunday last week, over 550 participants from 23 countries joined the Ironman 70.3 race in Camarines Sur. That’s a 1.9-km. swim, a 90K bike and a half-marathon (21-km.) run. Of all the Filipinos who participated in that triathlon, one man crossed that finish line first: Nonoy Jopson.
How different, I asked Noy, was this race compared to the others he’s joined before? “It was one of the best organized races I’ve done,” Nonoy replied. “There were buoys and inflatables all over the swim course, marshals in the bike and run, aid stations were stocked with Gatorade, water, fruit, gels, sponges, you name it. On the run, in that heat, having the aid mostly every 1K saved my race and, I’m sure, the races of so many.
The death last Sunday of Miguel Vasquez while swimming the Ironman 70.3 race in Camarines Sur was shocking. It was tragic. But apart from that horrifying story, there were plenty of good news to report. Topping them all was Noy Jopson, who has called Cebu home for many years now since marrying fellow triathlete Amale Mendezona. Among the hundreds of Filipino competitors in CamSur, Nonoy emerged No.1.
At 10:52 a.m. last Sunday, I received this shocking text message: “My friend drowned in ironman swim. Died. Miguel Vasquez.”
Gerry Malixi, who competed in the 1.9-km. swim category of the country’s first-ever Ironman 70.3 triathlon race, was in Camarines Sur. I immediately called.
“I was chatting with Miguel five minutes before the swim started,” said Gerry. “We were joking around. We kidded each other saying to be careful of each other’s elbows in the swim. We then joked on who would treat the other for lunch after. Senator Pia Cayetano was with us.”
Rening Ylaya is 73 years old. Nothing unusual about that. There are plenty of senior citizens walking around town. But Rening doesn’t walk… he runs. He runs 10Ks, he runs 21Ks, he runs fast, and, come January, he’s planning to join the Cebu City Marathon and run for 42 kilometers. Read this great write-up by Sun.Star Cebu online editor (and fellow runner) Max Limpag… “At 73, Ylaya keeps beating runners half his age.”