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
For more information on Alaska Sports program, visit
For updates, follow @AlaskaPlayPH on Instagram, @PlayPH on Twitter.

Borlain sisters rule Alaska IronKids Triathlon in Subic

Sam, Chezka and Tara Borlain made podium finishes at the #AlaskaIronkids Triathlon Subic on March 7, 2015

Sam, Chezka and Tara Borlain made podium finishes at the #AlaskaIronkids Triathlon Subic.

Tara and Samantha Borlain again finished one-two in the same category (Girls 11-12) during the 2015 Alaska IronKids Triathlon held in Subic over the weekend. Open to children 6 to 14 years old, Alaska IronKids is the local junior version of the international triathlon series, Ironman.

Tara trailed sister Samantha in the swim and bike part of the race but relied on her strong finishing run to prevail. Other 1st place winners in the girl category are Nicole Danielle Eijansantos (13-14), Alison Ann Noble (9-10) and Justicia Mariearl Tan (6-8).

Brent Valelo also relied on a strong run to rule the Boy 13-14. Other 1st place winners in the boy category are Juan Francisco Baniqued (11-12), Mark Grist (9-10) and Dayshaun Karl Ramos (6-8).

Christine Levi Gaspar and Una Janus Sibayan placed second and third in the Girls 13-14. Everly Janarie Macalalad finished third in the Girls 11-12. Patricia Tolentino and Ana Maria Mempin placed second and third in the Girls 9-10. Franchezka Borlain, youngest of the Borlain sisters, and Caitlin Gaw finished second and third in the Girls 6-8.

Sabino Czar Manglicmot IV and John Caleb Barlin placed second and third in the Boys 13-14. Jose Manuel Arao and Karl Rafael Pamakid placed second and third in the Boys 11-12. Matthew Thomas Alumbres and Juan Miguel Tayag placed second and third in the Boys 9-10. Jabrielle Marcos Delizo and Reggeal Victoria placed second and third in the Boys 6-8.

Brent Valelo won another  championship title as he edged out other participants in the #AlaskaIronkids Triathlon 13-14 boys.

Brent Valelo won another championship title as he edged out other participants in the #AlaskaIronkids Triathlon 13-14 boys.

Four races are lined up for 2015— two aquathlons and two triathlons. The next races will be the Alaska IronKids Aquathlon Apr. 19 at The Village Sports Club; the Alaska IronKids Aquathlon in Subic Bay; and the Alaska IronKids Triathlon Aug. 1 in Cebu.

The races will have three categories: Race Category (with Podium Medals) with four age groups; Play Category (with finisher’s medal but no age categories) with short and long distances to promote outdoor play and increase participation for non-competitive participants; and the Relay Category (with Podium Medals) with two mixed age groups.

Alaska Milk Corporation President/CEO Wilfred Steven Uytengsu said he is ecstatic with the huge turnout.

“It’s really nice to see the parents supporting their kids promoting a healthy lifestyle, a lot of kids today spend a lot of time on their iPads or playstations. It’s important to develop your technical skills but you also have to be physically fit,” said Uytengsu.

Alaska IronKids Philippines is an annual sporting event that aims to promote the healthy and active lifestyle among children through the winning combination of proper nutrition and physical activity. The Alaska IronKids Race Series is just one of many sports development programs that Alaska conducts yearly to engage children to come out and play.

Pioneering athletic programs like the Alaska IronKids Philippines Triathlon has managed to take children away from their video game consoles, cellphones and cable TV remotes and out into the sun to swim, bike and run in triathlon races. Alaska’s sports programs hope to encourage children to get into organized sports while learning positive values like hard work, discipline, determination and teamwork. The program for 2015 will continue to bring excitement as it helps future athletes realize their dreams.

Become an inspiring athlete too and join Alaska’s sports programs now! NUTRITION. ACTION. CHAMPION.

For general information about the Alaska IronKids please visit For live Twitter updates follow @ALASKAsportshub #AlaskaIronkids.

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.

For more updates, please log on to
Twitter: @AlaskaSportsHub

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
On Twitter, please follow @AlaskaSportsHub.

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