Sam Borlain and Wacky Baniqued Lead the Pack of Alaska Ironkids Champions


Months of training led to the most anticipated triathlon event for the young triathletes. On March 5, 2016, some 126 junior triathletes gathered for the first installment of the Alaska Ironkids triathlon held at the Wow! Recreation and Activity Center in Subic.

The early morning was abuzz as young triathletes checked in their bikes and geared up for their respective race distances, whilst a few seemed to be unmindful that they were actually racing that morning. Race Director Ani de Loen – Brown made sure that participants  were familiar with their race route briefing each wave prior to the swim start. 15 times Ironman champion Belinda Granger joined in the event as part of the Sunrise Team that staged the Alaska Ironkids. Aside from giving tips and sharing her experiences as a professional triathlete, she later on gave the participants a hand as they came off from the swim leg.

Alaska Ironkids Champions in the 13-14 AG: Sam Borlain and Wacky Baniqued

Alaska Ironkids Champions in the 13-14 AG: Sam Borlain and Wacky Baniqued

The race kicked off with the first wave of participants in the 13 to 14 year old group, followed by the 11 to 12 years old, 9 to 10 years old, and the final wave 6 to 8 years old in the Race category. Apart from the competitive ones, Alaska Ironkids also gave priority to newbies in the multisport through the Play category.

Marcus Faytaren led the boys in the swim leg of the race and came out of the water first. Sam Borlain led the girls and came out of the water with a wide gap. The race went on as the participants transitioned to the bike leg. It was a pretty close competition among the boys led by JB Sarmiento; Josh Ramos came in a few seconds behind and Wacky Baniqued on the third spot. Marcus Faytaren landed in the fourth spot. Sam Borlain firmly maintained her lead in the bike leg down to the run leg and soon caught up with the boys in the run leg.

Not having a team to train with months prior to the race day, Wacky Baniqued never lost his focus. He did what he’s best at and finished off the 400 metre swim, 12 kilometre bike and the 3 kilometre run in 43 minutes 8 seconds. JB Sarmiento came in 44 seconds behind in 43 minutes and 54 seconds. Josh Ramos, who’s racing in his second Alaska Ironkids triathlon, remarkably finished third in 44 minutes and 16 seconds.

Sam Borlain never broke despite some misfortunes that beset her in the bike leg – both her bike’s brakes and bike shoes were locked when they’re supposed to be unlocked. Sam finished with a breeze in 47 minutes and 52 seconds. Jana Macalalad leveled up her game with a second spot finish in 50 minutes and 1 second. Pia Suarez trailed in the third spot with a finish time of 51 minutes and 57 seconds.

15x Ironman Champion Belinda Granger sharing her experiences as a professional triathlete and giving tips to future champions at the Alaska Ironkids triathlon held in Subic on March 5, 2016.

15x Ironman Champion Belinda Granger sharing her experiences as a professional triathlete and giving tips to future champions at the Alaska Ironkids triathlon held in Subic on March 5, 2016.

It’s a great opening year for the 11-year old Zedrick James Borja, who topped the boys 11 to 12 years old category with a finish time of 37 minutes and 16 seconds. In 2015, he tied with Jose Maria Tayag in fourth place in the 9 to 10 boys category. Coming in at the second place is Eric Almendral who finished in 39 minutes and 54 seconds; Johann Carlos closed the roster with an 11 second gap finishing the race in 40 minutes and 5 seconds.

Tara Borlain once more proved to be invincible as she flawlessly took home another championship title for herself. Tara had her share of misfortune in the bike leg when she almost crashed at the bike mounting area because her rear wheel was unlocked. As a true athlete, she never faltered. She crossed the finish line in 35 minutes and 6 seconds. That’s a full minute and a half ahead of Micaella Barlin, who came in second with a time of 36 minutes and 36 seconds. Allison Ann Noble from the Bull Shark Triteam of Ilocos placed third with a time of 36 minutes and 54 seconds. The 11 to 12 years old race category consisted of 300 metre swim, 9 kilometre bike and 2 kilometre run.

Alaska Ironkids Triathlon finishers: Keesha Toledana, Francyn Elbenco, Anika Toquilar, Johann Manubay and Neil Nazarro.

Alaska Ironkids Triathlon finishers: Keesha Toledana, Francyn Elbenco, Anika Toquilar, Johann Manubay and Neil Nazarro.

Claiming the same spot in last year’s Alaska Ironkids Triathlon Subic, Mark Grist finished the 200 metre swim, 6 kilometre bike and 1.5 kilometre run in 25 minutes and 48 seconds, bringing home another championship trophy. Juan Miguel Tayag and Michael Gabriel Lozada filled in the second place and third place, respectively, with a finish time of 26 minutes and 41 seconds.

Kira Ellis dominated the girls crossing the finish line in 27 minutes and 25 seconds. Ana Maria Mempin came in second with a time of 28 minutes and 54 seconds. A consistent podiumer, Justicia Mariearl Tan added one more trophy in her collection when she finished in 30 minutes and 46 minutes.

You may say that they’re too young to race yet. Watching them behind those A-boards as they wait for their swim start, I can tell you no, they’re not. Who are we talking about here? I’m referring to the youngest of the participants in the race, the 6 to 8 year olds, who made 100 metre swim, 3 kilometre bike and 1 kilometre run.

Connor Hodges made a strong finish in 17 minutes and 15 seconds, topping all the boys. Gabriel Gaw came in second and finally Ythnmathw Orellana, both with a time of 17 minutes and 46 seconds.

Top three girls in 6-8 AG: Franchezka Borlain, Zurielle Kenzie Galo and Kyle Enielle Toledana with IM Pro Champion Caroline Steffen during the awarding ceremony.

Alaska Ironkids Top three girls in 6-8 AG: Franchezka Borlain, Zurielle Kenzie Galo and Kyle Enielle Toledana with IM Pro Champion Caroline Steffen during the awarding ceremony.

Franchezka Borlain makes a name for herself by championing among the girsl in the 6 to 8 year old group, finishing with a time of 16 minutes and 54 seconds. Zurielle Kenzie Galo filled the second spot as she crossed the finish line at 18 minutes and 48 seconds after the swim start. Kyle Enielle Toledana placed third with a time of 20 minutes and 25 seconds.

And to further inspire the winners and the participants, Ironman Pro triathletes like Dimity Lee Duke, Craig Alexander, Sam Betten, Katy Duffield, Caroline Steffen among others  joined in during the awarding ceremony. Winners in all of the age group categories earn a free entry to the Alaska Ironkids Triathlon to be held in Cebu in August this year.

On top of bringing home a championship title, Wacky Baniqued and Tara Borlain also each won a pair Newton shoes for recording the fastest run split in boys and girls division, respectively.

Triathlon Brings Families Together

For years now, Alaska Ironkids has become the venue for children who embrace healthy and active lifestyle through sports. And for the past four years since I started covering the Alaska Ironkids, I have seen so many young triathletes and their families come to the event.

Both the Aquathlon and Triathlon races have become a weekend bonding for triathlon teams and their families. Notably, the Borlains – Dad Ringo, Tita Carol with Sam, Tara and Chezka, make these races as part of their weekend getaway.

Jet and Lou Ann Ramos drove all the way from the highlands of Baguio with their three sons Josh, Dash and Arrow to Subic for the Alaska Ironkids, who each participated in the 13 to 14, 11 to 12 and 6 to 8 years old age group category, respectively.

Tayag Twins - Juan Miguel and Jose Maria, with Mom, Dad and younger brother.

Tayag Twins – Juan Miguel and Jose Maria, with Mom, Dad and younger brother at the Alaska Ironkids Triathlon held in Subic on March 5, 2016.

Triathletes and families of Team TriClark have always been visible in every Alaska Ironkids race. JB Sarmiento’s parents have always lent him the support he needs that enabled him to perform better in each race. The Tayag Twins – Juan Miguel and Jose Maria, have always their mom Connie and Dad Abe in tow each time they race. This time, they tag along their younger brother at the race venue!

During weekends and holidays, they go out for a swim, bike or run with their families or team mates. Their active engagement in these activities promote a healthier lifestyle which inspires more people to get into sports.

Nowadays, a significant number of triathlon teams and individual participants register for the races. Races that instill the values of discipline, hard work, determination and sportsmanship. Races that teach the importance of good nutrition. Races that develop them to be better individuals and athletes. Races that mold them become champions in life.

For more on Alaska Ironkids results, please visit www.ironkidsphil.com.
For more information on Alaska Sports program, visit www.alaskamilk.com.ph.
For updates, follow @AlaskaPlayPH on Instagram, @PlayPH on Twitter.

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