Post-race Reports of Cebu’s Ironmen (and Women)

CHRIS ALDEGUER: It was my first ever race that I got to smile and enjoy. I never have fun during a race, but this was different. The crowd was unbelievable. I couldn’t believe this magnitude of a race was happening in our hometown. Finish time: 5:30:52.

Photo by Catherine Israel-Angeles

ALAN CHOACHUY: It was very emotional; I broke down at the finish bringing the Biggest Loser flag. First thing that crossed my mind: for all the obese and unhealthy people who thought they have no chance to change. I’m living proof that you can be what you want to be as long as you put your heart in to it. (A year ago I was 309 lbs!) I never life imagined I can finish a 70.3 Ironman.

The race was really tough, my target time was 7 hours (finished in 7:58). I was surprised at my 40-min swim; very relaxing. The second discipline was my favorite but I had mechanical trouble in my bike’s rear tire around Km. 60. A spoke broke and the tire was wobbly. For 30kms, I pedaled harder and that caused my legs to be worn out. I had 4 hours to spare to finish the 21km. It was my longest 21K! At one point, I told myself I’m not going to do this again. But, seconds after crossing the finish, I said, “I will do this again next year!”

Photo by Mike Jo

AMALE JOPSON: Even with the crazy water start and the surprise of the gun about to go off when everyone was way beyond the supposed starting line, I enjoyed the swim leg. The water was clear and calm, which allowed me to maneuver around the slower swimmers from the first wave. Except for a slight current on the way back, swim conditions were great, helping me to clock 32:08 at the timing mat putting us in a good position for the overall win in the all women’s relay. The event was well-staged and made me feel proud that we had a world-class race in Cebu. It made me think that maybe I would like to participate in the individual race next year if I can find a way for my kids not to feel like orphans for a few months while training. 🙂

Amale, Lohriz Echavez-Lopez and Mary Joy Tabal

MENDEL LOPEZ, 3rd placer, Filipino elite. Of all my sporting achievements, this has to be the best ever. I was slow in the swim (34 mins), as I expected. In the bike, I recovered and timed 2:31. I suffered in the run (1:28) because of the biking effort. Triathlon training is not as painful as the marathon. My next target: the Timex 226 (full Ironman) in Bohol this December.

Photo by Jens Funk

JANE-JANE ONG. My 2nd IM 70.3 was very memorable. Of the 3 disciplines, swim is my weakest. However, water on race day was calm, no waves, no undercurrent, no jellyfish. YAY! I surprised myself by cutting my time by 14 min. Bike was very difficult with the strong winds from CICC to Talisay. And I thought Camsur was difficult when the rain poured… but this was worse. But the best part of it being held in Cebu, our homecourt, is that plenty of friends and fellow athletes cheered.

AYA GARCIA SHLACHTER. The most enjoyable part for me was swimming in the open water. It is challenging and you need to be mentally prepared, swimming with hundreds of people. The bike is my weakest but I managed to finish the course in one piece even though I crashed during one of the narrow U-turns. I knew I was going to crash so I decided to gracefully make a free fall to the right without resisting the crash. I picked myself up and continued the bike course injury-free. Most memorable part was when my dear friend Sen. Pia Cayetano was waiting for me in the finish. I will do this again and will recommend it to friends. 7:04:24 was my time.

BERNARD SIA, who replaced Jennylyn Mercado as biker for Team FHM (Fearless Hot Mammas), with swimmer Ripples Faelnar and runner MaiMai Hermosilla. Said Bernard, who clocked 3:06: The IM70.3 will be remembered for a long time. While I awaited for our swimmer my heart rate was already at 112, anxious & excited! During my whole ride I just remembered one tip: keep my heart rate at 150-155. We lost a cyclist, don’t know him personally but would like to dedicate that ride to him. Ramie Igaña, that was for you. Most fun: friends taking time to cheer especially Andy & Renee Ven who took nice picture and this ONCE IN A LIFETIME chance to bike the SRP & the tunnel! Most painful: Fernan bridge Mactan bound & strong headwinds to Talisay!

Photo by Michael Ocana

GANDHI TRUYA, who finished 5:43:49. I enjoy it more than a full marathon, the latter is more painful. Recovery in 70.3 is faster… Cruising at the SRP coastal road getting hit by headwind and blown away by the tailwind is something a cyclist here does not experience often. Compared to Camsur? No offense to CWC but Shangri-La is definitely better. The Marcelo Fernan bridge, the tunnel, and the SRP road are some of the things Camsur can’t offer.

John Pages

By John Pages

I've been a sports columnist since 1994. First, in The Freeman newspaper under "Tennis Is My Game." Then, starting in 2003, with Sun.Star Cebu under the name "Match Point." Happy reading!

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