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Witnessing the Tri-United 1 2013

Overwhelmingly challenging, yet fun and exciting – that was how I described the Tri-United 1 that was held at Dungaree Beach in Subic Bay last March 10, 2013, not as a participant but as a first-time spectator of such event.

The spectacle of the three sports discipline in one day made me somewhat pumped-up with adrenaline as I rush along with my camera through the different transition areas of the event from swimming, to the bike transition, then towards the opposite direction of the road where the route of running was stationed.

It was overwhelming and eye opening at the same time to realize that Triathlons are not confined only, as what I have previously thought, to the much fitter, stronger and faster athletes, but the beginners and enthusiasts are welcome as well. The shortest category – sprint distance, is designed for the not so-hardcore triathletes yet as long as you can slice through a 750-meter openwater swim, pedal a bike for 20-km, and tread the road for the final event of a 5-km run.

In contrast, for someone who doesn’t know how to swim (like me), the open ocean water, although calm and peaceful, still looks challenging and… really fearsome! Conversing with some first time participants while waiting for their guntime, I felt both their nervous jitters and excitement as they describe their preparations, diet, and trainings that they have to go through to make sure they come prepared for this triathlon debut day. But despite those fears and hardship, you would also feel from them that there’s already a braver and stronger person behind, just waiting for his turn to show his iron side.

Truly they did, as soon as they finished the swim leg, some coming out from the water still strong, some already puffing hard, but all of them still have that great amount of gut and mental prowess to push for the remaining bike and run transitions. The relay teams are also equally competitive and inspiring, with their teammates cheering while waiting at the transition areas.

The crowd support composed with many other spectators, friends, and family of the participants made the atmosphere livelier, adding up more adrenaline rush for the participants as each of them is waved at, cheered on, and inspired by their kids with sketched messages in cartolina.

At the bike transition, one of the hardest parts as I observed is with mounting on their bikes as the road is inclined, unfamiliarity with the clipping of the bike shoes on the pedals, taking off with too high gear, and balancing the bike during take-off. Just by watching, one could already get some tips and idea from what's happening around.

Running, as what most people think, is easy. But running even just a short 5-km or 10-km distance just after the lung-pressing swim and quad-burning bike?! That’s another story! Flash back when I started running, I was able to finish my very first 10-km even without a single preparation. But seeing how this event unfolded before my eyes, I know I wouldn’t be able to even begin the final 5-km run of a Triathlon if I wouldn’t prepare and train the three combinations of this sport.

The awarding ceremony was also exciting, Triathlons have age-group awards ranging from as young as 16 and as old as 50++ unlike running which only awards the overall Top 3 male and female finishers (although back in Baguio in the ‘90s, some races awards the top 10 finishers, I wonder why this is no longer the case!). Some awards though would only be filled with Top 1 winner as there are no other contenders for the same age group, leaving the Top 2 and 3 podium vacant.

Learn more about this past event through the following photos:

Standard distance swimmers on their way back

Sprint distance a few seconds after the gun-time

I think one of these bikes costs more than what I earn in a year =)

Coming out from transition 1 towards the mounting area

Preparing to take-off

Dan Brown, first to finish the bike transition and sprint-distance Elite category Champion

Sprinting a few meters away from the Finish line

Variety of sponsor booths from foods to free massage to apparels

Mr. Alex Panlilio (AVP, Unilab Consumer Health) getting interviewed by Ms. Dulce Castillo

The relay team winners

More photos are available for viewing and download from my Facebook album.

My special thanks to Unilab, especially to Ms. Claire Papa and Dulce Morales (External Affairs Div.) for this opportunity to be part of Unilab’s media team to cover the event. The experience made me hungry for Tri’s.

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