Unilab holds biggest triathlon

(The Philippine Star) - August 5, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Tri United 2 held last July 6 was Unilab’s biggest triathlon yet, with 750 participants joining the race in Playa Laiya, Batangas.

Of these, a hundred were first-timers, according to Unilab vice president for operations Alex Panlilio. The figure could have reached 900, but they had to put a cap at 750 to ensure the safety and enjoyment of the participants. 

“The triathlon community is getting bigger, making this the biggest Tri United so far,” Panlilio said. He joined the race as a member of Team Unilab Active Health, one of several participating teams.

Unilab, a leading Filipino pharmaceutical company, has been holding Tri United since 2010 as part of its wellness advocacy.

Tri United 2 is part of Unilab’s annual series of triathlon events. It offers three distance categories: long distance categories 2-km swim, 60-km bike, and 15 km-run; sprint  has 750-m swim, 20-km bike, 5-km run; and teen covers 750-m swim, 20-km bike, and 5-km run. These categories are further divided into male and female age brackets.

There is also an elite category for elite classification athletes, and team competition.

Triathlon is traditionally a male-dominated sport, and these multiple categories are aimed to encourage newbies and pros alike to train hard.

Women make up a number of participants in this year’s Tri United 2, with Anna Stroh of Team Unilab Active Health topping the long distance female elite category. She finished strong in three hours and 22 minutes, despite difficulties in swimming and a flat tire.

“During swimming, I wasn’t sure if I was going the right way, then I had a flat tire,” Stroh said. She got her groove back while running and aced the race.

The 34-year-old German triathlete got into racing in the Philippines through her boyfriend August Benedicto, a member of Team Unilab. He finished third in the long distance male elite category. They met in a training camp in Thailand and had been training together since.  

Stroh trains every day, and supplements her training by taking Enervon Activ multivitamins and using Unilab Active Health Sports Gel. She encourages women of all ages to keep active, saying “it’s very important to have consistency in training. One should workout regularly, even it’s just a short run or bike.”

For experienced triathletes, she suggests practicing running off from the bike, which she considers the hardest transition. “Once a week, practice by biking for an hour, and then run for 15 minutes.” Also make sure to keep nutrition balanced. Her tip: “Eat healthy. Buy your own food and cook it.”

For Nikko Huelgas, winner of the long distance male elite category, competing in a triathlon is as mental as is it physical.

The 22-year-old Century Tri Hard member said the recent Tri United 2 “was the most gruelling race” of his life — but it was worth it. He led throughout the race and finished in two hours and 56 minutes.

“The more difficult it is, the more fulfilling,” he said. “I gave it all I had, and, at one point, was just running on adrenaline.” He was exhausted midway and had trouble with the spare bike he had to use, but pushed himself harder.

“I was thinking, I trained hard for this, so I had to make sure what I trained for was worth it,” said Huelgas. “You will always be remembered for your race. It’s something you can tell your future children.”

Panlilio said more people are expected to join the coming Tri United 3 on Oct. 26, which promises to be another exciting triathlon experience. Seasoned triathletes are most welcome.

“I tried it once and I was hooked. Unilab is there to provide guidance through clinics and access to experts. We help participants to do things right. Just try a short distance and have fun,” he said.

First placers in Tri United 2, by age group:

• Long distance male category: Mervin Santiago of Team Sante Barley, age group 18-24; Brian Borling of Team Herbalife, 25-29; Michael Raymond Amistoso of Team Fitness First, 30-34; John  Abdul of Team Trimac, 35-39; Abe Tayag of Team Yellow Cab Tri Clark, 40-44; Mark Ellis of Team Fitness First, 45-49; Frank Lacson of Team Herbalife, 50-54; Thomas Kuhne of Team GRC Midea, 55 and above.

• Long distance female category: Maria Lourdes Lazaro, 18-24 age group; Keshia Fule of Team Fitness First, 25-29; Jayline Balatibat, 30-34; Lezette Albarote of Team Herbalife, 35-39; Doray Ellis of Team Fitness First, 40-44; Celma Hitalia of BYA Xtrm Tri Team, 45-above.

 • Sprint female category: Vicky Deldio of RP Team, 16-17 age group; Kim Kilgroe, 18-29; Anne Catherine  Hernandez of Team Fitness First, 30-39; Hazel Ferrer-Misa, 40 and above.

• Sprint male category: Edward Macalalad of RP Team, age group 16-17; Patrick John Ramirez of Team Jinga Juice Tri Taft, 18-29; Mark Jerome Saquing of Team Last Minute Tri, 30-39; Laurent Bourcier, 40-49; Gary Brown, 50 and above.


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