Freeman Cebu Sports

Why is it Ironman?

FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus - The Freeman

Iron Man first appeared to the world in 1963 as a super hero.  Created by Stan Lee and published by Marvel, the character is alive and well with several movie sequels that appeals to both young and old alike.  Yup, battered and bruised at the beginning, in the end, good always triumphs over evil.  My goodness, this guy can fly beyond the sky and dive to the bottommost deep of the oceans but I still have to see him run and ride a bike.

A different but real kind of Ironman has become popular and for the past few years, had been the standard for those seeking another form of individual challenge.  Still beyond comprehension as to my own personal views, people swim, bike and run until shit happens (literally) just to torture themselves and become baptized as triathletes.

So, when was the first modern triathlon?  It was conceived by two San Diego Track Club members Jack Johnstone and Don Shanahan and was held at Mission Bay, San Diego, California on September 25, 1974.

The Ironman triathlon was born out of debates on which among runners, swimmers and cyclists are the fittest athletes.  Naval officer John Collins then had the idea of combining the three existing endurance races in the islands of Hawaii into one.  Annually, the islands host the 3.86-mile Waikiki Rough Water Swim, the 115-mile Around Ouahu Bike Race and the Honululu Marathon.

So on February 18, 1978, on the shores of Waikiki, Collins, with 14 others assembled for the first ever multi-sport endurance race totaling 140.6 miles (226.31 kilometers).  The challenge was whoever finishes first will be called the Ironman.  A Navy communications specialist finished first followed by a Navy Seal in under 12 hours.  Because his support crew ran out of water nearing the end of the race, the Navy Seal was given beer instead.  No wonder a manager I know of a tri-team favors Red Horse for a recovery drink.

Two years later, Ironman had international exposure when Collins allowed television network ABC to film and broadcast the event.  To date, coverage enables viewers to witness the pain, agony and drama of participants and the resulting exhilaration upon reaching the finish line.  Today, everyone who finishes the three events within the prescribed time limit becomes a certified Ironman or Ironwoman.

This Sunday, the City of Lapu-Lapu, for the fourth time will host the 2015 Cobra Ironman 70.3.  A record field of more than 2,600 athletes, both foreign and domestic will battle for the 40 slots available in this qualifying event for the Ironman World Championships in Queensland, Australia in September of 2016.

70.3 because it is the total for the 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run.  This is half the distance of the full Ironman but still is not a joke among participants.  They still have to endure jellyfish stings, cramps, road rash, blisters as big as golf balls, patches of pock-marked roads, upset stomachs and resulting toilet runs, some stray dogs or goats or over-eager humans and impatient motorists not planning ahead their trips.  As a reminder, roads along the race routes will be closed from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, so you better make travel adjustments.

To everyone involved – the organizers, their related personnel, the host cities and the athletes, specially my son Emil and his teammates at Tri-Liloan, the very best of luck.  May good weather and peak condition be on your side.  And may the blessing and protection of the Almighty be with you all.

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Related to the Ironman, the City of Mandaue the other day experimented with a new traffic scheme where some roads were made one way.  Depending on what time of the day you travelled that time, either your trip was smooth or you had a joy ride around the city enjoying the sights and sounds of Mandaue traffic, looking for a way to get out of the stupid mess.

In fairness to the city’s traffic managers, they could only do so much.  The sheer volume of vehicles, undisciplined drivers and motorcycles countering the flow of traffic adds to the chaotic situation.  Prior to the implementation, they could have added more personnel and made signages visible and readable at least 50 meters away.

In the meantime, getting stuck for two hours in your vehicle will be an exercise in patience and a challenge to keep your sanity.  By the time you read this, I could be somewhere in the land of masareal and tagaktak lost in the gridlock, trying with all my might not fume and boil.  Good luck natong tanan if we pass by this city.  Just hope there won’t be any heavy downpour.












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