Alaska IronKids: Helping Shape the Future of Triathlon in the Philippines

Alaska IronKids AG 13 to 14 Top Winners

In the photo (left to right) Standing: Alaska IronKids AG 13 to 14 Top Winners – Third Place: Brent Valelo & Maria Margarita delos Reyes, First Place: Arno Baetz & Shaia Ruth Uy, Second Place: Justin Liam Chiongbian & Alexandra Leather. Seated: Triathlon Pros: Jacqui Slack, Ben Allen, Alaska Team TBB’s Matt O’Halloran, Belinda Granger, Pete Jacobs, Justin Granger, & WTC CEO Andrew Messick

Some 200 junior triathletes registered to the 2013 Alaska IronKids held at the Shagri-La Mactan on August 3, 2013. And as the traditions, participants were treated to a kiddie carboloading party themed as Super Heroes. 

Before the clock hit the hour of 6 in the morning, the young champs have already geared up for the day’s race. The check in area was visually busy. In one spot, a coach was giving last minute instructions to the some of the children. TriKids with their bikes in tow were in queue to check their bikes in, while parents and close relations were nearby to provide support. Not just support I would say. Some of them were even more excited than the participants! 

The participants were grouped in two waves. Wave 1 included the 11 to 12 and 13 to 14 year olds; Wave 2 included the 6 to 8 and the 9 to 10 year olds. At 6:15, Wave 1 participants were called for the final race briefing before hitting the open water swim at 6:30. The race briefing was conducted by Alaska IronKids Triathlon Race Director, and Triathlet herself, Coach Ani de Leon-Brown. The race route included a 300m swim, 8km bike and 2km run. 

From the swim course to T1, to the bike course. The race started with the 300 m open water swim. The young triathletes competed as kids, but with the heart of the pros. Swimming out of the water, they proceeded to the transition area 1 where their bikes were stationed. Mounting on their bikes like the big guys do, they pedaled through the 8 kilometre stretch of the bike course. They perfectly know when to shift their bike’s gear, speed up and slow down when making a turn – that kind of thing. The bike course ended at the transition area, where the racers dismount off their bikes, put on their running gear for the 2 kilometre run. 

The morning started with a nice overcast, which made racing a lot better. The first pack of the young champs had already crossed the finish line a little past half an hour after the gun start. By half past seven, the slight drizzle dropped in, which eventually turned into a heavy downpour coupled with strong winds. At this time, there were still participants in the run course. And I happen to be at the vicinity of the run course. 

Photos from Left to Right: Swim Start area, IronKids at the swim start, Bike Check In area, IronKids at the Bike course, Participant still running during the heavy rain

Photos from Left to Right: Swim Start area, IronKids at the swim start, Bike Check In area, IronKids at the Bike course, Participant still running during the heavy rain

As soon as it rained, I ran to the nearest tent for shelter. I was a few meters behind one runner, who stopped for shelter under a tree. Probably realising that he was in a race, he continued to run towards the finish line. While the rain poured down, another participant came into view when she made a left turn, and made her way to the finish line. 

And due to the inclement weather that morning, for the safety of the participants, the race for Wave 2 was cancelled. It may have been difficult for the organisers to make that decision, but may have even been harder for the participants to accept. We saw some of them fell into tears when they learned that they won’t be racing anymore. 

While waiting for the awarding ceremony for the Wave 1 Top Finishers (11 to 12 and 13 to 14 year old age groups), seats were provided at the Alaska Media Center to accommodate the participants, finishers and their parents. And to while away their time, the young champs settled with their iPads while others were sharing their story of the race. I could say that the Ironkids are generally the most behaved children I’ve known, compared to other kids of their age. 

I had the chance to speak with IronKids participant Everly Macalalad of Team TriGear. “I was not able to race because the event was already cancelled,” she said in her very calm voice. And I can sense that there was a trace of sadness in her voice. But I know she understood why the race was cancelled. 

Alaska IronKids AG 11 to 12 Winners

In the photo (left to right) Standing: Alaska IronKids AG 11 to 12 Winners – Third Place: Samantha Borlain & Nathan Nalo, First Place: Bambam Manglicmot & Justine Lauren Plaza, Second Place: Craig Joshua Uy & Nicole Danielle Eijansantos. Seated: Triathlon Pros: Alaska Team TBB’s Matt O’Halloran, Pete Jacobs and Justin Granger

Awarding Ceremony. The awarding ceremony commenced around 10 in the morning as soon as all the top three finishers in the 11 to 12 and 13 to 14 age groups have come in. The young champs were in all smiles as they received their medals and gift packs from Alaska and other sponsors. And how can they not smile? None other than the triathlon Pro Champions – Alaska Team TBB’s Matt O’Halloran, Ben Allen, Jacqui Slack, Belinda Granger, Pete Jacobs, Justin Granger, and WTC CEO Andrew Messick excitedly handed their medals and gift packs! 

Here are the Top Three Finishers:

AG 13 to 14



1st Place Arno Baetz, 29:58.5 Shaia Ruth Uy, 34:31.3
2nd Place Justin Liam Chiongbian, 30:05.1 Alexandra Leather, 34:34.5
3rd Place Brent Valelo, 30:21.6 Maria Margarita delos Reyes, 34:49.4

AG 11 to 12




1st Place Bambam Manglicmot, 31:38 Lauren Justine Plaza, 33:01.3
2nd Place Craig Joshua Uy, 33:30.6 Nicole Danielle Eijansantos, 35:42.5
3rd Place Nathan Nalo, 34:08.3 Samantha Borlain, 35:53.6

For a complete list of finishers, please click the following links:
Alaska IronKids AG 13-14
Alaska IronKids AG 11-12

Refreshing Alaska Sweet Milk and Alaska ChocoMilk were served. For those who preferred a hot drink, coffee with Alaska KremTop was made available.

Catch the next Alaska IronKids Triathlon in October at the Palms Country Club in Alabang.

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