Junior Triathletes Win Big at the Alaska Ironkids Cebu


Standing: JB Sarmiento, Brent Valelo, Arno Baetz, Lauren Plaza, Aaliyah Mataragnon, Juris Aaron Earl Tan Sitting: Justin Christopher Yu, Justicia Mariearl Tan, Eduard Russell So, Everly Macalalad, Tara Borlain and Sam Borlain

Some 160 junior triathletes from the national and international triathlon communities geared up for the Alaska Ironkids held on August 2, 2014 at the Shangri-La Mactan in Cebu. The beach front of the Shangri-La Mactan was jampacked with parents and spectators as the participants, as young as 6 years old, were getting ready for the race.

The race kicked off with the gun start for the 13 to 14 and 11 to 12 year old groups. These older groups of boys and girls started off with the leg swim of the race competitively, with last year’s defending champion Arno Baetz coming out of the water first. The groups of 9 to 10 and 6 to 8 year olds followed simultaneously. Despite being young, the participants showed very remarkable and even top notch race performance from the swim leg, to the bike and to the final phase of the race which is the run leg.

Lightning doesn’t strike the same spot twice. It’s true. But not for the 14 year old Arno Baetz, who took home the Cebu championship title twice in a row. Homegrown triathlete Justin Chiongbian finished second, with Brent Valelo completing the line up.

From top right clockwise: Race Dir. Coach Ani de Leon-Brown conducting the race briefing to Alaska Ironkids participants; TriClark Team: Nathan Nalo, JB Sarmiento, Justicia Mariearl Tan, Juris Aaron Earl Tan & Brent Valelo; Tara and Sam Borlain; Team Tri-Gear: Lauren Plaza, Everly Macalalad, Juan Francisco Baniqued & Una Sibayan

Nicole Eijansantos took the top stop, but had to battle it out with last year’s champion Lauren Justine Plaza, who came in at the second place. Cebu’s Aaliyah Mataragnon settled with the third place.Consistent podium finishers ruled the 11 to 12 year old group. Juan Francisco Baniqued, who made the rounds of top finishes in this year’s Alaska Ironkids races, placed first. JB Sarmiento, who has a condition called G6PD deficiency (which may cause a hemolytic anemia to a patient) came in second, barely 10 seconds ahead of the third placer Juris Aaron Earl Tan.

The Borlain Sisters – Sam and Tara raced for the Championship title. Sam Borlain greeted everyone at the finish line with a sprint finish, one minute and 41 seconds ahead of Tara. Though she placed second, Tara Borlain still has very good words for her sister. “I’m just really happy that my sister experienced winning over me. This really happens in real life. You win some and you lose some. So I’m very happy for my sister,” Tara shared during the Alaska Ironkids Champions press conference. Completing the block is Everly Janarie Macalalad.

Coming all the way from Sendai, Japan, Hyonde Keum topped the 9 to 10 year old boys’ division, Cebuano Eduard Russell So came in second, and the Abel Te Riele of the SunLife Tri Team placed third. In the girl’s division, Cebu-based Syrah Ruth Uy was the first to finish among her race playmates, followed by Samantha Nalo for the second place. Danica Alba sneaked in the third spot.

Tayag twins – Juan Miguel and Jose Maria Tayag, proved indispensable in the 6 to 8 year old boys’ division, who finished first and third, respectively. Justin Christopher Yu finished in betweet the Tayag twins as he placed second. Justicia Mariearl Tan championed in the girls’ category, Dhexia Myle Bersabal made it to the second spot, and Alethea Paige Gaccion completed the podium roster.

From top right clockwise: The Ironman Pros: Justin Granger, Belinda Granger & Casey Munro; Alaska Ironkids Finisher’s Medal; Jose Maria & Juan Miguel Tayag, Eduard Russell So, Alaska VP for Mktg. Ms. Blen Fernando, RG Gabunada, Caroline Steffen, Belinda Granger, Justin Granger, Joanne Angeles, Brent McMahon, Pete Jacobs, Sam Betten & Dimity-Lee Duke.

This year’s Cebu Alaska Ironkids had a new race route, where all participants took the long stretch of Punta Engaño Road for both the bike and run legs of the race. In addition, two non-competitive categories were also included, the Long Distance and the Short Distance Play Categories, for those who want to participate in the event, but don’t want to feel the pressure of “racing”.

Whilst the overcast made racing very conducive to all participants, the event was made more spectacular as the Ironman Pros took the task of handing over the medals and trophies to the top finishers.

All finishers received a finisher’s shirt and a finisher’s medal, plus gift packs from Alaska and race partners.

Congratulations to all the winners and finishers, and to the very hands-on Race Director Coach Ani de Leon-Brown for another successful Alaska Ironkids!

For complete race results, please head over to http://www.ironkidsphil.com.
On Twitter, please follow @AlaskaSportsHub.

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