SEA Games 2015: When One Wins, We All Win

I hope you’re not living under a rock, and have already seen the front page of today’s newspapers…

PDI Front Page: Triathlete Nikko Huelgas
Triathlon on the front page of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

That’s certainly an image that will embed itself into the minds of many readers and decision-makers who may have never thought triathlon to be a productive use of resources.

But now we have this: our country’s first gold medal at this SEA Games was won in triathlon. The gold medals won by Nikko Huelgas and Claire Adorna are also our country’s first ever in triathlon. This was a dream ten years in the making, (more…)




The 28th SEA Games

The SEA Games are on in Singapore this week, and of course the Philippines has sent in our own bets across the various sports to be contested. (Here’s a list of the sports we have athletes in.)

While this week is the pointy end for professional tennis at the French Open and Game 1 plays out on Friday for the NBA Finals, don’t miss out on the action in our backyard.

SEA Games - Team Philippines

You can check out the SEA Games coverage on local free-to-air television by tuning in to AksyonTV, or browsing to Sports5.ph. Unfortunately, live airing is limited to basketball, volleyball, and football.

A better option would be to head to Youtube channel Sport Singapore which offers live coverage of the SEA Games. I see a listing for Day 1 Swimming Heats, so fingers crossed for more coverage in the following sports:

Over my years in endurance sport I’ve had the privilege to encounter many of the athletes competing: Jessie Lacuna in swimming, who has also tested the waters of age-group triathlon; Rafael Poliquit and Eduardo “Vertek” Buenavista in the men’s marathon; Mary Joy Tabal in the women’s marathon and Mary Grace de los Santos in the women’s 10,000m; Mark Galedo of the national cycling team (featured in this blog post; and Nikko Huelgas, Jonard Saim, Kim Mangrobang, and Claire Adorna of the national triathlon team.

A special shout-out goes to my fellow Team Mizuno athlete Rachel Daquis (volleyball).

They work hard to be at the top of their respective sports here in the Philippines and I’m glad they’ve been put forward to represent the country. All the hard months of planning, training, and sacrifice come to a head this week. I hope they make us proud by doing their best and showing good sportsmanship over the course of the competition.

Go Team Philippines!




Respect the Distance

Last Sunday I did my long ride in Nuvali. Sundays are usually fun run days, and on this particular one there were various distances offered all the way up to 21K (or half-marathon). It was a locally-organized race and I was happy that there were many people running. As I got further into my regular ride and pedaled past the run course, I realized that I was riding past the tail end of the 21K participants on their last U-turn before heading back to the finish.

I couldn’t help noticing the people who were sitting down on the sidewalk taking a break. They didn’t look like experienced runners; some of them were wearing walking shorts and canvas sneakers. They seemed very tired, but I knew they still had a long way to go to finish. I quipped to a couple of them, “The longer you sit here, the longer you’ll take to finish. Keep moving!”

I later found out the race had offered finishers shirts and medals only for the 21K category, priced at P600. I surmised that those I saw struggling had probably signed up for that distance without knowing really how long a half-marathon is. That just made me so sad for them!

I hope they all managed to finish and collect their finisher’s loot, but I also hope they learned a valuable lesson. I only wish they have not been too traumatized by the experience, and in the future will train adequately for the distance. Distance needs to be respected, and those who do not prepare for it adequately will suffer. In worst-case scenarios they may tempt injury or illness, or worse. (more…)




Podcast #8: Phuket Trip & James Cunnama Interview

This is my special Phuket episode featuring an interview with James Cunnama as well as a bit of a wrap of my last few days touring the island.

Play

Also on iTunes.

James Cunnama at Thanyapura
James Cunnama training at Thanyapura

About James Cunnama

Born in one of the major centers for endurance sport in South Africa and the child of two parents who had completed multiple Comrades Marathons, James Cunnama very early on discovered the joys of long-distance running. He excelled in the junior categories at local races and was completing half-marathons at the tender age of 16. But it wasn’t until he moved away to Port Elizabeth for university that James discovered triathlon. Volunteering at the Spec-Savers Half-Ironman in 2004 and the full distance the year after gave him a taste for one of the toughest single-day endurance events in the world. (more…)




Yakult 10-Miler Run: Last-Minute Action

Last weekend was a little bit of a debacle. I wasn’t initially signed up to do the Yakult 10-Miler Run. I had just landed from my Phuket trip on Wednesday evening and didn’t feel like traveling on Friday by land to Bolinao, Pangasinan for a triathlon on Saturday I’d signed up for long ago. So, I chose to stay home and get some much-needed training sessions in instead. Then I got word that the triathlon had become a duathlon due to the swim being too dangerous due to wind and water currents. Really, the Lord works in mysterious ways…

Anyway, while I was cycling around in Nuvali on Saturday, I got a text message from Kim Atienza cajoling me to flex my muscles with the organizers at the Yakult 10-Miler Run so I could get in. Since Mizuno is one of the sponsors, I got my request and turned up early on Sunday morning to race.

I did this race last year, but it was two months earlier on the calendar then. Conditions on the day were very different — it was hot and muggy this year, versus only a little last year. Just standing on the starting line, we were already drenched in sweat!

As my longest run since February (!!!) I knew this would have to be done in a conservative manner. No podium dreams for me, just a desire to finish feeling strong and not drained.

(more…)