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Cebuanos and the rest of the world have witnessed the race that reminds us of the need to endure suffering for good health. Last August 6, 2017, Cebu hosted the 6th edition of the Cobra Ironman 70.3 triathlon where major routes were blocked to accommodate this annual event. It brought sports enthusiasts from other countries and even local celebrities to Cebu.   

The event is a call for us to be healthy and endure physical pressures. The spirit of camaraderie, working as a team and endurance are shown and tested. One has to hurdle obstacles along the way. And for a timorous individual, success could be a far-fetched end. 

No matter how physically strong one is, uncertainty can still bring an end to one's life. The grueling physical demand of the sports has already brought deaths. And for this year, a life was lost. In Cebu, it's the second time, with the first death happening in 2012.

It becomes a reminder for all of us to take care of our health and maintain a healthy lifestyle. With the type of diet and the stress from various sources, for sure, we need to reflect on something that keeps us in good condition, and lengthens our lifespan.

More than the hype, the celebrities and the many endorsements for the event, it is the enduring message of healthy living that keeps the event highly expected every year. Even if there were inconveniences for the motorists because of the traffic it created, it was as if the activities in the areas that were used for the event stopped, literally.

As one long-time racer would put it, "the tremendous amount of suffering that all triathletes experience in training and, especially, in races is not a negative price that participants pay in pursuit of the rewards of the sport; instead, that suffering is itself the primary reward."

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It can be argued that the comforts and conveniences of modern life have come to pamper us so much that much of the excitement has been drained from our daily existence. Our bodies are so coddled that we crave physical challenges. On top of that, we have grown mentally soft, and we know it and vaguely despise ourselves for it.

For a triathlete, the race represents a way to put some excitement back into life, to toughen mentally, and to boost self-respect. The sport delivers these rewards by affording an opportunity to overcome great suffering. The prize that every triathlete seeks above all others is the finish-line feeling. It is a tremendous feeling of satisfaction that comes when the race is completed, conquering the internal weakness that tempts one to quit.

The more one suffers in a triathlon, the better the finish line feels. While the finish-line feeling is the ultimate motivator for the suffering, other motivators may inspire others to suffer even more, which enhances the finish line even more, which boosts the willingness to suffer still further.

The opportunity to win is one such motivator. Competition is another. Competition against an arch-rival works even better. It is a state of peak physical readiness, having your best day and knowing it, is still another.

As a whole, the event provides positive impact to Cebu's tourism and culture. It provides an opportunity for the host to manifest the unique brand of hospitality.

In a world that offers all the comforts, we react so heavily for inconsequential inconveniences. We have to face sufferings in order for us to bear the daily challenges and learn to regard patience and perseverance – values we lack in this day and age.

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