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 www.ironkidsphil.com.

What’s your Alaska Ironkids story?

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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 www.ironkidsphil.com.
For more information on Alaska Sports program, visit www.alaskamilk.com.ph.
For updates, follow @AlaskaPlayPH on Instagram, @PlayPH on Twitter.

XTerra Albay Champion Bradley Weiss Returns to Defend Title


XTerra Albay 2015 Men's Pro Champion Bradley Weiss of South Aftrica returns to defend title.

XTerra Albay 2015 Men’s Pro Champion Bradley Weiss of South Aftrica returns to defend title.

Defending champion Bradley Weiss seeks to dish out another explosive performance around majestic Mayon Volcano as he banners a stellar field in the XTERRA Albay 2016 on February 7 in the Province of Albay.

Weiss struck gold last year when the prestigious off-road triathlon race had its maiden run in Albay with the South African ace determined to set another coronation for himself with the world’s most perfect cone as backdrop.

Out to foil Weiss’ bid are 2015 male pro third-placer Ben Allen of Australia, 2015 fourth placer Brodie Gardner also of Australia, Charlie Epperson of Guam, Joseph Miller of the Philippines and Michal Bucek of Slovakia, who are all returning to Albay.

The women’s pro crown, meanwhile, is up for grabs are 2015 winner Flora Duffy, the world titlist from Bermuda, has opted to skip this year’s event to concentrate on her campaign in the Rio Olympics.

Australians Jacqui Slack, the runner-up last year, and third placer Dimity Lee Duke head the contenders in the distaff side along with Mieko Carey of Guam, who placed fourth last time.

Pros Lizzie Orchard, Taylor Charlton, Cameron O’Neal, and Hsieh Chung Sing are making their debut in the 2016 edition of the event organized and produced by Sunrise Events, Inc. and backed by official venue partners Province of Albay, City of Legaspi, Municipality of Daraga, Bayan ng Sto. Domingo, Official Courier and Logistics Partner 2Go Express, Cetaphil, Columbia, Finisher Pix, Shotz Sports Nutrition, Timex, David’s Salon, Department of Tourism + Tourism and Promotions Board and media partner The Philippine Star.

The race tests the participants in challenging environs in courses around Mayon.

The 1.5K swim starts in the shores of Lidong in Mayon Rivera, where the water is calm and deep and the sands are black.

The 35K bike course features wide and open trails and provides breathtaking view of Mayon. It is a single loop point to point race passing through fire roads, grass roads, sands and rocky trails.

The 10K run follows the ATV route in Mayon passing through rocky and sandy areas, river bed, and grasslands with the finish line set at the famous Cagsawa Ruins.

Sunrise Events, Inc. does it again for the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship 2016 edition!


Regular slots for the Cobra energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship 2016 got sold out in 28 minutes beating its own record of 40 minutes for the 2015 edition. Definitely a heart rising moment for all triathletes who registered at the Cebu Provincial Capitol this morning when they all converged over breakfast sponsored by Alaska Milk Corporation. Watch out for updates as triathletes start their journey to the Cobra energy Drink Ironman 70.3 Asia Pacific Championship 2016 race.

For more information about the IRONMAN 70.3 Asia-Pacific Championship, please visit http://www.ironman.com/philippines70.3

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