Champions Rose at the Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon

To further promote active and healthy lifestyle among the children, Alaska continues to provide sports activities that young children, 6 to 14 years old, can participate in. In 2014, a total of four Alaska Ironkids races were held – two aquathlon and two triathlon events.

On May 25, 2014, junior triathletes, aged 6 to 14, converged for an aquathlon event held in Club Manila East, with none other than the Race Director and Triathlon Coach Ani de Leon-Brown at the helm. The race kicked off with the gun start for the 13 to 14 year olds, followed by 11 to 12 age group, 9 to 10, and the final wave of 6 to 8 year olds.

The aquathlon highlighted the third championship title of Tri Clark Team’s Brent Valelo, who finished in 17 minutes and 32 seconds, roughly a minute and a half ahead of the second placer Nathan Nalo, also from Tri Clark Team. Brent has consistently topped his in his age group. Nicole Eijansantos topped the girls in the 13 the 14 age group; Margarita delos Reyes came in second and Una Sibayan came in third.

They race for the podium finish, but that’s only during the race. Sam and Tara Borlain have always taken the first and second spots in their categories. Although Sam was the first out of the water, the younger Tara Borlain had caught up with the Sam during the run leg of the race. Tara finally took the top spot. Christine Julianne Javier completed the roster of top finishers in the 11 to 12 years old girls.

It was a pretty tough race for the boys in the 11 to 12 years old group. Dan Christian Leyba emerged as the top finisher with a time of 13 minutes and 20 minutes, a second ahead of Team TriGear’s Juan Francisco Baniqued. Aaron Joshua Miranda came in third.

Alaska Ironkids is not just about a race, podium finishes, trophies and medals. It’s about family bonding. We’ve seen the Borlains, the Delizos, the Armocillas, and the Hodges cheering for the young triathletes all throughout the course. Fresh from the Ironman World Championship Melbourne, Gus Banusing showed full support to his daughter Nadine Banusing, who participated in the play category just to get the feel of the multisport event.

Though he didn’t make it to the top three, JB Sarmiento was still all smiles at the finish line. JB has a condition called G6PD Deficiency, wherein his body does not have enough glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase enzyme, which helps red blood cells function normally. While his nutritional needs would seem to be a challenge, the Sarmientos have never failed to provide JB with his needs, which helped him champion over this deficiency. JB has continually raced and made podium finishes.

Diagnosed with a down syndrome, his condition didn’t stop Austin Chang from becoming an Alaska Ironkid when he made it to the finish line.
We spotted JC Abad of Alaska Tri-Aspire Team, who came all the way from Ilocos with her equally athletic sister MJ Abad, to lend support to the La Union Bull Sharks, his team prior to joining Alaska Tri-Aspire.

This race was also Hannah Angelika’s and Leila Marie’s final Alaska Ironkids race as they graduate from the program. Hannah and Leila Marie turned 15 this year.

Here are the list of winners:

You can expect to see more of these young triathletes race in the Alaska Ironkids 2015!

Registration for Alaska Ironkids Triathlon Subic on March 7, 2015 is now open.

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Junior Triathletes Shine at the Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon

Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon Top Finishers Girls Photo Credit: Alaska Sports Hub

Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon Top Finishers Girls
Photo Credit: Alaska Sports Hub

February has just come in and the early morning temperature was literally cold. But despite that, some 150 young triathletes, 6 to 14 years old, trooped to The Village Sports Club, BF Homes Parañaque for the Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon. This is the first installment of the Alaska Ironkids series for 2014. 

It’s the Perfect Form 

The race kicked off with the 400 metre swim start for the 13 to 14 year olds at half past 6 in the morning, and then transitioned to a 3 kilometre run, followed by the swim start of each age group category. Being the year’s opening race for the junior triathletes, there were first time racers as well. Remarkably, one of the Borlain sisters and the youngest one at that, Cheska, who just turned 6 a week before the event, made her debut as one of the youngest triathletes, following her sisters’ footsteps – Sam and Tara, and hopefully grab those trophies and medals, too! According to Mr. Ringo Borlain, the children’s dad, Cheska, though a totally newbie in the sports, showed a very positive attitude about joining the race. I can sense a champion in making! Consistent training and parental support are essential to creating a real champions. That’s why, in every race, it is not impossible to spot Dad Ringo and Mom Carol at the venue. 

The Race Category paved the way for the junior triathletes to show their best swimming and running forms as they took each leg of the race, beating their previous PRs and out-racing each other. Though a race in its truest sense, the young champs went through the course and competed in a friendly manner. While most of the participants joined in the Race category, a good number of them joined in the Play Category. The Play category is another first this year, which was introduced to allow the not so competitive ones and the first timers to be part of the event, have fun and get the feel of the Alaska Ironkids races. Moreso, this will help them decide if multi-sports is the kind of game they want to get into. 

First Time Champions 

Talking about “firsts”, there were first time champions, too! Though they have made several podium finishes in the past Alaska Ironkids races, this was their first time to be the top finisher in their age group category. 

One of the most familiar personalities in the Alaska Ironkids races is Una Sibayan from Team Tri Gear. I’ve seen her race since 2012. She’s good, performed well in every race she joined, and would win a top three spot in some of those races. I know that she puts in every big effort she has to make a podium, it’s just that, perhaps, the effort wasn’t big enough to be the top finisher. But training and hard work would soon pay off. She took home her first ever Gold medal in the Girls 13 to 14 year old category. 

Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon Top Finishers Boys Photo Credit: Alaska Sports Hub

Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon Top Finishers Boys
Photo Credit: Alaska Sports Hub

Another familiar face is Brent Valelo of Team Tri Clark. He’s been joining the Alaska Ironkids races and won for himself a second or a third spot, but never a top spot. It’s every Ironkid’s goal to grab a top spot finish, which motivates him to train well and prepare himself in every race. And yes, all his efforts didn’t go to waste, that’s certain. He pulled off his first top finish in the Boys 13 to 14 year old category. 

They certainly deserved their first championship title race because they did exactly what they have been training for. For the excellent job that the young champions have done, they brought home with them the Alaska Ironkids winner’s medal, a trophy, the commemorative Alaska Ironkids stuffed toy and gift bags from Alaska and other sponsors. 

Crossing the finish line, they have made their dream a reality, proving that when one works hard, winning is just a sprint away. Not only that they achieved their goal, but also they made their number one fans even prouder – their parents, their next of kins and friends. It is pretty obvious that the greatest fans of these Ironkids are none other than their parents and their close relations, who, at the swim start down to the run course and up to the finish line cheered for them. Their excitement begins at the gun start, builds up as the champs transition to the next leg of the race and hits the high as they sprint towards the finish line. 

As the event wrapped up, everyone was in high spirits. Some may have not won a spot, but surely everyone had a lot of fun, looking forward to joining the next race. 

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Junior Triathletes to Compete in 2013 Alaska IronKids Triathlon

Alaska IronKids on August 3, 2013 @ Shangri-La Mactan

Alaska IronKids on August 3, 2013 @ Shangri-La Mactan

Now on its fourth year, Alaska IronKids brings junior triathletes 6 to 14 years to the historic Cebu for the Alaska IronKids Triathlon. The event is taking place at Shangri – La Mactan Hotel Beach Front on August 3, 2013.

Considered to be one of local junior sports’ most prestigious races, Alaska IronKids Triathlon is the local franchise of the internal IronKids Series, which has many notable alumni including Olympians Hunter Kemper and Nick Radkewich, Laura Reback and Douglas Mosiniak, Jr. The multi-sport event tests the children’s skill, discipline and endurance in swimming, biking and running. The race is divided into girls and boys division, categorised according to the following age brackets: 6-8 years old, 9-10 years old, 11-12 years old and 13-14 years old. All finishers receive a specially crafted finisher’s medal.

Will this year bring more participants to surpass last year’s attendance of 134 participants? Registration is already on going for young local and internal triathletes. As of press time, a total of 165 participants have already registered. This year’s event highlights the participation of Borlain Sisters, Ildefonso Sisters, the Pangilinan Siblings, and the McCormack Sisters.

On the front end to defend her title is consistent top finisher and Alaska Milk Ambassador Tara Borlain, who at 10 years old, has remained unbeatable. Also expected to top in their respective race category are 2012 top winners Syrah Ruth Uy and Eric Almendral who dominated the 6-8 year old category; Juris Aaron Tan in the 9-10 year old category; Lauren Justine Plaza and Yuan Chiongbian in the 11-12 years old group. Let’s see who makes the cut in the top three spots for the 13-14 years old category.

Wave 1: IronKids 11-14 y/o Race Route

Wave 1: IronKids 11-14 y/o Race Route

Wave 2: IronKids 6-10 y/o Race Route

Alaska IronKids is part of Alaska Milk Corporation’s advocacy campaign “Nutrion. Action. Champion.”, which highlights the importance of nutrition and sports in the physical, mental and emotional development of the children. The campaign is very timely due to the fact that two out of 10 Filipino children below 10 years old are found to be overweight, while three out of 10 children are found undernourished in the latest survey of the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI).

Since its launch in 2010, Alaska IronKids has become a symbol for active and healthy lifestyle among children. Its successful races have encouraged children to take care of their bodies through exercise and balanced diet, and have instilled the values of determination, hard work, teamwork, discipline and sportsmanship.

Alaska IronKids has mounted four races to date: Run races at UP Diliman Track Oval and Mall of Asia, Aquathlon at Ateneo de Manila Grade School, and Swimming competition at Marist School Marikina. To cap off this year’s races, another triathlon is scheduled on October 20 at Palms Country Club in Alabang.

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Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon

Top Photo: Race Director Coach Ani de Leon-Brown conducting the race briefing for Alaska Ironkids. Bottom Photo: Ironkids during the swim leg of the race.

Top Photo: Race Director Coach Ani de Leon-Brown conducting the race briefing for Alaska Ironkids.
Bottom Photo: Ironkids during the swim leg of the race.

May 19, 2013. Sunday. It may have been any other Sunday for most of us, but not for the 208 junior triathletes, aged 6 years to 14 years old, who trooped to the Ateneo de Manila Grade School for another edition of Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon. As early as six in the morning, the tri – kids were all prepped up and were already by the pool side waiting for the race briefing to start. Parents and their family friends filled the bleachers. The venue had a pumped up ambiance as the uptempo music emanated from the loud speakers.

While waiting for the race to officially commence, I had the chance to go around the venue to check the transition area and have a little chat with some friends. Race marshals were deployed in the pool, at the transition and along the run course. An Alaska booth was put up in the venue where participants, their families and friends can enjoy the refreshing and nutritious Alaska Milk. SLRs, digital cameras, smart phones, iPads and tablets were practically all over the place just getting ready to take snaps of the junior tri in action.

About half past 6, the emcee announced that the first wave is soon to start. The participants were called for a race briefing conducted by Coach Ani de Leon – Brown, who is multiawarded triathlete herself. At gunstart, the next gen triathletes behaved like pros as they plunged into the pool for the swim leg, as they put on their shoes at the transition area, and at the run leg sprinting towards the finish line. And even those as young as 6 years old showed promising attitude! There was so much hype going on as the race was progressing. Loud cheers mixed up with the sound system. While some joined the race for fun, others raced to win. From the swim leg, the participants took off their head caps and goggles while making their way to the transition. Once geared up, they took on the run course making a strong finish as they cross the finish line.

The mid-morning sun did not stop the tri-kids from completing their respective race categories, and waiting for the awarding ceremony. While the mixed relay was going on, winners in the age group categories were being awarded. Top three winners in the age group category and mixed relay each received a medal, a signature teddy bear and a loot bag from Alaska. While all participants who finished the swim and run courses also received a finisher’s shirt and a finisher’s medal.

Julius Constantino and River Gail Salonga dominated the 13 to 14 years old age group; Bambam Manglicmot and Juris Tan placed first in 11 to 12 years old and 9 to 10 years old boys age group, while Samantha and Tara Borlain topped the girls division; Alexander Lamb and Athena Shanessa Chang placed first in the 6 to 8 years old age group. 

First Place Winners: Shanessa Chang (6-8yrs old) and River Gail Salonga (13-14 yrs old).

First Place Winners: Shanessa Chang (6-8yrs old) and River Gail Salonga (13-14 yrs old).

Tara and Sam Borlain, First Place winners in 9-10yrs old and 11-12yrs old Age Group.

Tara and Sam Borlain, First Place winners in 9-10yrs old and 11-12yrs old Age Group.

In the Relay category 6 to 10 years old group, Clear Sabak (Angelina Powell and Ysella Erquiaga) placed first, Team PLDT Tykes (Umi Abelarde and Joaquin Rivera) placed second, Juliana Alminares and Christian Dejuras bagged the third spot.

Yellow Cab – Tri Clark Team A (Brent Valelo and Lans Donato) and Team B (Nathan Nalo and Jomai Santos) placed first and second, respectively; while Team Pangilinan (siblings Hannah and Benj) came out third. Team Pangilinan, was the youngest relay team to get a winning spot in the 11 to 14 year old category.

Team Pangilinan at Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon

Left Photo: Hanna and Benj joining the Mixed Relay Team.
Right Photo: Team Pangilinan at Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon

“It’s been a really good race,” remarked Coach Ani de Leon – Brown as the event wrapped up.

Alaska is presenting another installment to the Alaska Ironkids, the Aquathlon event scheduled on June 30, 2013. To register, please log on to

For results and updates, please visit For information on Alaska Sports program, please visit Also, please follow us on Twitter @AlaskaSportshub.

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