On Spotlight: Lucian Antonio Alejo – The Champion Unleashed


Tonito Alejo at the ASTC Singapore Internal Marathon. Photo Credit: Lucian Antonio Alejo

Tonito Alejo at the ASTC Singapore Internal Marathon. Photo Credit: Lucian Antonio Alejo

It was a fine morning of June 6, 2016. I was on my way to Capitol Commons to meet the Alejos, who just arrived in Manila from their week-long vacation in Singapore. It was the first time that I would meet the whole family. Right outside the Pancake House in Capitol Commons, Ton approached me and led me to their table. There I met his sister Alex, his mom Tita Charis and a bit later, his dad Tito Boyet.

I met Lucian Antonio Alejo, or Tonito or Ton, back in 2014 when I did the on ground coverage of Alaska Ironkids in Cebu.

Unlike most junior triathletes, Tonito joined triathlon at a later age in his hometown in Iligan City. Having no background in swimming, he fast-tracked his swimming lessons so he can make it to his first triathlon race a few months away.

After finishing his first race, Tonito developed his love for the multisport and at the same time he wanted to attend the regular school. However, he had to make a tough and wise decision and a few considerations have to be made. Because when he chooses to attend regular school, he won’t have much time to train for triathlon. And for someone who had the passion for the sport, Ton chose the home study program so he can have more time to train and even join triathlon races without compromising his education.

Ton was 13 when he had his first taste of the Alaska Ironkids race which was held on April 13, 2014, in La Stanza, Marikina, where he ranked ninth among the boys in the 13 to 14 age bracket, completing the course in 45 minutes 13.67 seconds (Swim 400m, Bike 12km, Run 3km). He then joined the Alaska Ironkids in Cebu on August 2, 2014, where he ranked sixth in the Boys 13 to 14 age group, with a finish time of 35 minutes and 20.7 seconds (Swim 300m, Bike 9km, Run 2km).

Tonito Alejo during the run leg of Alaska Ironkids Subic, March 2015.

Tonito Alejo during the run leg of Alaska Ironkids Subic, March 2015.

Back home, Ton trained doubly hard and joined other triathlon races. During the Alaska Ironkids held in Subic on March 7, 2015, he missed to bag the third spot by just a second, placing fourth with a finish time of 32 minutes even (Swim 300m, Bike 9km, Run 2km). I can still vividly see him sprint to the finish line.

At 14, Ton had only one shot left to make a mark in the Alaska Ironkids triathlon race. The Alaska Ironkids Cebu held on August 1, 2015, was his last race in the local franchise of Ironkids. Confident with his training, and with his sister Alex and parents in mind, Ton was ready give all the best that he had. His determination to bring home his first Alaska Ironkids trophy and mascot didn’t falter. Not a single bit, as he had always wanted to give Alex that stuffed toy.

When I got off the service car (provided by Ford) straight from Mactan International Airport, I bumped into none other Lucian Antonio Alejo, who had the good news for me!

Among the 36 boys in the 13 to 14 year old category, Ton made a bang with his second place finish in 45 minutes 51.4 seconds, which put John Caleb Barlin in the third spot. His race stats: Swim (400m) – 00:08:13, Bike (12km) – 00:22:34, Run (3km) – 00:15:06. Very impressive! Now, this one’s off his bucket list.

I remember telling him, “What a great way to cap off your final year in the Alaska Ironkids program!” Indeed! Personally, I am so happy to see him achieve his goal because I knew that he worked hard for it. And I can only see a modest grin in his face whilst he said “Thank you po.” Such a fine kid.

Looking at his past Alaska Ironkids races, he improved tremendously from his 9th place in April 2013 to an awesome Second Place finish in August 2015. Yet, Ton has always remained grounded. Still calls me Kuya even when he’s way taller than I am!

Meeting the Alejo Family: Tita Charis, Tonito, Tito Boyet and baby Alex.

Meeting the Alejo Family: Tita Charis, Tonito, Tito Boyet and baby Alex.

Tonito Trivia
  • He can mimic an accent. He can talk in an Indian accent. Though his favourite is Craig Alexander’s Aussie twang.
  • He looks up to Crowie Alexander.
  • One day, he wants to join a Kona Ironman World championship race.
  • He can sing.
  • He can dance.
  • Awarded Athlete of the Year by City Sports Office, Iligan City Government
  • He saved up his cash awards to buy his gears.
  • He is under a home study program through SEIBO College
On Life After Alaska Ironkids
Tonito Alejo at the Dipolog Triathon 103. Photo credit: Dipolog Triathlon 103

Tonito Alejo at the Dipolog Triathon 103. Photo credit: Dipolog Triathlon 103

After his stint at the Alaska Ironkids, Tonito continued his triathlon journey joining sprint distance races like SUBIT, NAGT CDO Leg 3 (First Place) and in the most recent ASTC Singapore International Triatlon, which was also his first international race.

Currently, Ton is part of ActiveHealth Junior Elite Team (Unilab) under Coach Ani de Leon-Brown and Coach Dan Brown. Speaking to Coach Ani, she only has encouraging words for Ton. Whilst his good form is a big plus, he needs to fine tune his focus on training and in his races. With his abilities and talent, there’s a big world of opportunities waiting for him.

Ton, always put your best foot forward in everything that you do. I’m glad to know you’ve found your passion and it’s where you heart belongs to, and you have amazing parents and sister to always motivate you. Continue to be an inspiration to everyone as you’ve found your strength in your weakness! Cheers!

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5i50 Philippines 2012 Held in Subic


I left the office a little past 12 midnight on July 23, 2012 to pack my things up for the trip to Subic. I packed my overnight bag with the things I need for the two day event. The event: Century Tuna 5i50 Triathlon.

I arrived in Trinoma a little early. While waiting, and having gone from a night shift, I thought some espresso would get me pumped up a bit so I ordered for a grande hot white chocolate mocha breve at Starbucks. About half an hour later, a white van drove by. We got in and headed towards NLEX, stopping by the gas station where we had breakfast at Pancake House.

The van took us through the long stretch of NLEX, exiting to the provincial road bound for Pampanga. The espresso I had didn’t really help. I slept for the most part of the trip. Arriving at SBMA, we checked in at Subic International Hotel.  The lunch at MeatPlus was heavy! We then proceeded to Subic Bay Exhibition and Convention Center (SBECC) where a press con for the professional triathletes and race briefing was to be held, where I came across Mish Miravilla.

Matt O’Halloran on his training and his thoughts about the race, said “I pretty much train all around the same 2 kms in laguna. Where I live, there’s a compound with a 2.6km loop  where I did all my riding indoors. So it was a lot of intensity and a lot of training on my own and I’m looking forward to more ride outdoors. Ha ha ha!

I lived in subic on and off for four years. So I know this course like the back of my hand, honestly.

My thoughts about the course is like a video game. It’s like a point to point race. It’s always changing. There’s no laps. You’re just always going up, down, left, right, flat hills. It’s technical. It’s hard. It’s fast. So I think it’s great.”

What can he advice to aspiring triathletes? “Be a student of the sport.”

At the media center, triathletes like Erwan Heussafe, LC Langit, Coach Ige Lopez, Monica Torres and Kuya Kim Atienza gamely posed for photo ops. I was assigned a rider who will take me to the various areas of the race course. Around 5pm, we checked some parts of the race course, the start line at Hanjin Port and the Transition Point.

Our dinner at Golden Dragon Restaurant was great. But I had to excuse myself quite immediate to meet the Running Princess of Subic, Jess and her cousins at Friday’s Harbor Point, who at that time, were also having dinner. As usual, the food was a feast! The dinner was almost over, but from what I gathered, they stayed back and had to order another set of food. The reason: Arland Macasieb just arrived at Friday’s! We waited until Arland Mac was done with his dinner, so Jess can have her photo taken with him. It was pretty late when we left Harbor Point. I proceeded to my hotel suite to get a few hours of sleep. Our call time the following morning was 4.

After breakfast, along with other media people, I boarded the van going to the Transition Point from swim to bike. The rider guy took me to Hanjin Port.  I also chanced upon on my running friends Gaston Fernando Zubiri, who was making his triathlon debut. As soon as all the participants were ready, the gate was opened towards the dock, where racers will take the 1.5k swim leg of the course. After the gun start, I proceeded to the finish line at All Hands Beach Resort where racers will transition for the bike leg.

It was a close competition for pros – Csaba Kuttor, who was first out of the water, and David Dellow who came out next. Dhill Anderson Lee, who was competing in the age group category came out third. Both Dellow and Lee are from Alaska Team TBB. Among the women pros, Belinda Granger was the first out of water.

Riding the motorcycle, I asked the rider to take me to the bike course. The course was reminiscent of the Subic International Marathon route that I participated in early this year. The 40k bike leg included a Timex Challenge at the Subic International Airport.  The whole of the runways were all for the racers. It’s where some triathletes had challenges as their bike’s chain snapped off. I saw one of them  towing his bike out of the race course. At this time, Kuttor was still on the lead. The bike course took the participants to SBECC where they transition for the run leg.

The 10k run course took the participants through a long stretch of flats towards the direction of Subic Homes (it’s where we stayed during Subic Int’l. Marathon). During the run leg, Kuttor who was on the lead for the most part of the race, was overtaken by David Dellow before the Subic Golf Course U – turn point. At half past 8 in the morning, the temperature has already crept up. The  participants were trickling one after another as they take on the 10k course. Belinda Granger was way ahead of her contenders. Dellow and Granger emerged as Top Winners in the men and women pros category, respectively. (Click here for the list of winners).

Back in the activity area, I met with Jess who was taking photos. I also met Alex of Philippine Skyrunning Association, who was giving support to her team mates in the Team Unilab Triathlon Team, which included Meyo and Drew Arellano.

I was having a late lunch with Jess at a café in SBECC when I got an SMS that the awarding has already started. Belinda Granger and David Dellow, who were declared as winners, led the milk shower. I have not anticipated it. I got covered by milk, and even Jess’ camera got a taste of milk! Ben Allen who was sitting behind me, was smiling when he said I got milk all over me.

The event wrapped up as soon all the awards were given – from the pros to age category winners.

For Alaska Team TBB profiles, please click HERE. Get to know more about the pros HERE.

 

**5i50 is an Olympic – distance Triathlon event. It is composed of 1.5k swim, 40k bike ride and 10k run.

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