It’s now July, one of the best months in the year ever because, you know, my birthday’s in it. I’ve been wondering about how to celebrate this year just because it seems like I have everything I would want or need right now.
But I’ve been getting little signs of sorts from unexpected places, like the spiffy new passport cover from Globe Telecom’s media launch for their Slipstream event. Or the really nice cover feature Overseas Filipino World magazine did on yours truly. And the German embassy granted me a visa.
So in just a few days’ time, I’m flying back to Germany to revisit the world’s biggest long-distance triathlon, Challenge Roth. One of my biggest regrets from last year when I raced it was that I didn’t get to do any sightseeing (save that done from my bike and on my two feet running the marathon). This year, I’m a spectator and the self-appointed cheering squad for all the Filipinos who are entered in the race.
Last year, there were four Filipinos who took on the course which has seen world records on the ironman distance set by Andreas Raelert and Chrissie Wellington — yours truly, Ani de Leon-Brown, Arland Macasieb, and a gentleman based in the Middle East (sorry, sir, I don’t have your name). SWIMBIKERUN.ph’s Carlos de Guzman was on the start list but wasn’t able to start.
This year there are eight set to fly our flag across the finish line. Meinardo Opiana from Smart Tri Team won a Challenge Roth package at the 2014 Challenge Philippines. We have the Bangkok-based Jeff Laguitao of Thailand Triathlon and Cycling Team. And of course my friends from Yellow Cab-Tri Clark Team: Jeremy David, Alan Galang, Mac Mandap, Jumbo Tayag, Abe Tayag, and John Villanueva.
Challenge Roth stands out from other races because it’s an experience both for the participants AND the spectators. With its schedule of events leading up to the race open to the public as well as race day itself (the website suggests routes for spectators to follow), if you’re following athletes around to cheer for them it won’t be too hard. You also can’t help getting swept up in the emotion of the crowds cheering athletes on.
Although I’ve only done the race once, when I close my eyes I can still see myself swimming past the giant buoys in the Main-Donau Canal, cycle alongside beer tents at Eckersmuhlen and up Solar Hill, and run over the cobblestones of Roth into the finish line. I don’t have any desire to repeat this, but I’m excited for our boys to experience this for themselves and am looking forward to being there for them after they cross the finish line.
And this time, of course, I’m going to do all the things I missed out on last time: take a tour through Nuremberg and head up to Nuremberg Castle; run the many beautiful trails around Roth; swim at the public baths; attend the big town pre-race party; and head off somewhere else in Germany after the race via rail!
It’s going to be a great birthday present to myself, and I’m taking you with me via this blog. I’ll be updating and posting while I’m there so I can bring you all the action.
Now, time to figure out what I’m packing… :)