Champions Reunite at the Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon

Having missed the second instalment of the Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon back in May, I was excited to once again witness the up and coming young triathletes take on the swim and run courses of the Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon in Subic on June 4, 2016.

The race venue was already packed with the participants and their parents as early as 6am. While everyone was busy preparing, I bumped into familiar faces like the Borlain sisters – Sam, Tara and Chezka, Wacky Baniqued, Jana Macalalad, Luigi Crisostomo with their parents in tow. Yes, whenever you see them in any event, you can expect that the parents are just somewhere. There’s no way that I can overlook the presence of these people. Except for Josh Ramos, Chantal Macalolot and a few new entrants to the race, they are the prominent personalities in the Alaska Ironkids races since I started doing live coverages of the event in 2012!

Triathlon Trio: Luigi Crisostomo, Wacky Baniqued and JB Sarmiento.

Triathlon Trio: Luigi Crisostomo, Wacky Baniqued and JB Sarmiento.

The Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon was a reunion of these young and promising triathletes. It is a culmination of their months-long training and preparation, their stage where they shine, their turf where they can be invincible.

Competition is inevitable among the participants even there are no cash prizes to speak of. The top three winners take home a medal, a trophy, the Ironkids stuff toy and the pride that their hardwork had paid off.

The pool side at the Wow Recreation & Activity Center was starting to be filled with spectators as Alaska Ironkids Race Director Ani de Leon-Brown conducted the race briefing a few minutes before the gunstart for the 13 to 14 year olds. As expected, the morning just got a lot busier as soon as the first wave of participants took off for the swim. Exciting twists happen during the race. Some participants can be strong in swimming while others can be faster in the run course.

Wacky Baniqued, 2014 Grand Slam Champion in the 11-12 years old category, came out of the water on the second spot. He gave his best in the run course which placed him on the first spot ahead of Marco Austriaco, who was the first out of the water. Wacky cross the finish line 19 minutes 21.6 seconds. Josh Ramos came in second at 19 minutes 30.5 seconds. Luigi Crisostomo completed the podium list with a time of 19 minutes 32.3 seconds.

This year, it’s another classic race for the Borlains sisters Sam and Tara, as they compete in the same age category. I have seen these two compete and of the two, Sam is a faster swimmer and Tara is the faster runner. But I honestly didn’t consider these two wonderful girls competing against each other. More than the competition, Sam and Tara race to win against themselves. And it was a speedy race for these two. Tara took the spot with a finish time of 19 minutes 44.7 minutes and Sam closely followed at 19 minutes 51.9 seconds. Everly Janarie Macalalad completed the list with a time of 20 minutes 49.6 seconds.

Top Photo: Sam Borlain, Tara Borlain and Jana Macalalad at the 2016 Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon Subic. Bottom photo: Sam Borlain, Tara Borlain and Jana Macalalad, and Ironman Pros at 2012 Alaska Ironkids Cebu.

Top Photo: Sam Borlain, Tara Borlain and Jana Macalalad at the 2016 Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon Subic. Bottom photo: Sam Borlain, Tara Borlain and Jana Macalalad, and Ironman Pros at 2012 Alaska Ironkids Cebu.

And just a little trivia for you, dear readers. Sam, Tara and Jana have been racing in the same age group category since 2012 and have taken the top three spots for four times. These races were Alaska Ironkids Cebu 2012, Alaska Ironkids La Stanza (Marikina) 2014, Alaska Ironkids Cebu 2014 and Alaska Ironkids Subic March 2015.

Though JB Sarmiento didn’t make the Top 3 in the 13-14 age group, he championed among the boys when he recorded the fastest run split with a time of 12 minutes 31 seconds. Among the girls, Tara Borlain completed the run course in 12 minutes and 56 seconds.

In the 11 to 12 age group, Joco Miguel Delizo and Zedrick James Borja made a remarkable finish. Glendwyn Mariscotes came in the fourth place. Back in 2012, Glendwyn topped his age group.

It’s Aubrey Tom’s time to shine as she topped the girls in the 9 to 10 year old age group. The Tayag Twins – Jose Maria and Juan Miguel, are both podium finishers. This time, it’s Jose Maria who landed on the third spot.

Franchezka Borlain apparently takes the same path as her sisters as she consistently makes impressive finish in her races. Chezka placed second in the 6 to 8 year old age group with a time of 7 minutes 44 seconds, four seconds shy of Zurielle Kenzie Galo, who placed first in 7 minutes 40 seconds.

I would like to personally mention Justicia Mariearl Tan. Whilst she didn’t land in the top 3, Isha had her own share of the podium moments in the past races.

The upcoming breed of triathletes in the country (from left): Jusiticia Mariearl Tan, Chezka Borlain, Anika Savet, and Twins Jose Maria and Juan Miguel Tayag.

The upcoming breed of triathletes in the country (from left): Jusiticia Mariearl Tan, Chezka Borlain, Anika Savet, and Twins Jose Maria and Juan Miguel Tayag.

Aside from the Race category, Alaska Ironkids has created a category for enthusiasts who want to have a feel of the multisport events , the Play category. Though participants in this category are not eligible to win, yet, their ranking can can be an indication how well they do in the race. Impressively, at the age of 4, Anika Savet topped the girls in the Play Short Distance event with a time of 8 minutes and 41 seconds tying with the 9-year old Dani Tengco.

The title Champion not only applies to the top finishers but also to everyone who finished the race as each one of them had trained and prepared well for the event. Some may not be as fast and strong as the others, but for sure, they did way better than their last race, recorded a new personal best, or simply feeling good about finishing the race. More than the awards and the trophies given to the top finishers, Alaska Ironkids is a venue to further encourage the children to live a healthy and active lifestyle through sports and proper nutrition.

Congratulations to all Finishers of the Alaska Ironkids Aquathlon!
For a complete list of the winners, please log on to

What’s your Alaska Ironkids story?


Alaska Ironkids Triathlon Held in Palms Country Club

ironkidsFrom Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii to Alaska Ironkids in Manila, the triathlon hype is still on.

Some 149 junior triathletes with ages 6 to 14 years old trooped to Palms Country Club, Filinvest on October 20 for the Alaska Ironkids Triathlon year-ender event.

As early as 6am, the young triathletes, accompanied by their parents, were all geared up to race in their respective age group category.  While others seemed relaxed, others just can’t contain their excitement. For some, the triathlon event may just have been a high end game, for some it was a high competition. It’s quite unusual not to know that some of these young triathletes were born to triathlete parents. Some are even members of prominent triathlon teams.

As each minute ticked towards the swim start, participants were allowed to do a warm up swim. They were also grouped according to their age – 6 to 8 years old, 9 to 10 years old, 11 to 12 years and 13 to 14 years old. Aside from the individual categories, the event also included two relay categories – 6 to 10 years old and 11 to 14 years old.

A quarter past 6, Race Director Ani de Leon-Brown, who is a seasoned triathlete herself, conducted the race briefing. The race commenced with a swim start for the 6 to 8 year old group.  The participants, despite being very young, were on a race mode as they make their way out of the 100m swim down to the transition area where they mount onto their bike for a 3km bike ride, and a final transition to a 1km run.

With 30 minute intervals, all participants in age group and relay categories have gone on to race their respective distances. Parents, relatives and friends have kept the energy on the highest level as they cheered for the participants.

ironkids2While it seemed more of a game for the younger ones, the older participants completed each leg of the race in a competition – trying their best to catch up with a racer ahead of them, or maintaining a lead. They have trained well enough for the race as evidenced by the way they make a left or right turn and accelerating or decelerating their bike speed.  Maintaining a good lead, especially in the run leg of the race was crucial as it gives them an assurance of make a podium finish.

Soon, the Top Three Finishers for each category have made it to the finish line.  They received their finisher’s medal, their parents at bay taking photos and feeling much prouder seeing their children successfully complete the race.

As everyone was waiting for the awarding ceremony, participants and the spectators alike were treated to a refreshing Alaska Chocolate Powdered Milk Drink at the Milk Station, as Alaska strongly believes that nutrition plays a very important role in the development of each child. And through its various sports program like Alaska Ironkids, children, at a very young age, learn the right moral values such as sportsmanship, teamwork and discipline.

And for a job well done, trophies were awarded to the Top Three finishers in the individual and relay categories.

Here are the winners:

6 to 8 years old



First Place Vonn Destiny Luy, 00:17:18.0 Kira Ellis, 16:28.2
Second Place Thomas Breen, 17:26.1 Hannah Drelyn Sanchez, 16:53.8
Third Place Juan Michael Tayag, 17:27.0 Justicea Marierl Tan, 17:11.1

9 to 10 years old



First Place Juan Francisco Baniqued, 24:22.8 Tara Borlain, 24:16.7
Second Place Matthew Trott, 25:13.7 Angelina Powell, 27:04.4
Third Place Samuel Compton, 26:01.0 Aaliyah Isabel Pacheco, 28:35.9

11 to 12 years old



First Place Bambam Manglicmot, 31:24.2 Samantha Borlain, 32:37.3
Second Place Juris Aaron Earl Tan, 31:53.0 Lauren Justine Plaza, 32:52.3
Third Place Oliver Trott, 32:22.7 Una Janus Sibayan, :35:04.0

13 to 14 years old



First Place Arno Baetz, 42:37.6 Gabriella Ellis, 47:11.2
Second Place Lance Vincent Plaza, 43:07.3 Jaymee Marie Ortega, 49:51.0
Third Place Brent Valelo, 44:21.3 Annika Caniza, 49:54.3

View the complete race results HERE.
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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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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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