Freeman Cebu Sports

Tri Liloan

FEEL THE GAME - Bobby Motus - The Freeman

After almost two years, endurance racing is back in the booming northern town of Liloan, Cebu.  Since a good number of people just could not make up their minds on what endurance sport to take, they decided to make halo-halo swim, bike and run, sometimes until shit happens, literally and figuratively.  With entries from Manila, Iloilo and Bohol confirming their participation, the triathlon event this coming Sunday, December 20, promises to be exciting and competitively tough.  Motorists will also be competing for road space as there will be congestion in the area in the morning.  If you’re motoring northbound, either drive earlier than 6 a.m. or go after lunch.

Usually, November and December is supposed to be off-season for triathlon but to keep these athletes in top shape, the Local Government of Liloan, headed by Mayor Duke Frasco, himself a competitive triathlete, and in partnership with SugboTriis doing this event to take away the slack from the layoff.  It’s also a good way to burn all the beer and the booze, the high-calorie lechonand the super-sweet treats, courtesy of the holiday season.   This year’s event will be the start of Liloan’s annual December triathlon competition.

Yes, I’ve asked several of these athletes, including Mayor Duke, who finished two equally gruelling New York Marathons, on why would they punish themselves with this sport when there are other less torturous athletic options to pursue.  There’s no definite answer to an endeavor that defies logical explanation.  Just how can you comprehend someone who grimaces in pain with all the limping from muscle cramps yet still feel ecstatic when they reach the finish line.  Even my son Emil who’s into this thing can’t give me a sane explanation.

Whatever the discomfort may be, top-level triathletes will compete with the entry-levels who are entered in the different categories that will do a 1.5- kilometer, two-loop swim, a 40-kilometer, five-loop bike ride and a 10-kilometer run. 

The massed start swim portion will be on the waters of Looc Beach. From there, athletes will transition for the bike leg and pedal along the national highway going towards Cebu City, crossing the Suba Bridge then turn right at the Tayud Elementary School up to the back gate of San Roque Child Development School for the turnaround back to Suba Bridge to complete one loop.  The run part will have athletes passing thru Suba Bridge again but they will be turning left going to Barangay Catarman up to the lighthouse then turn back to the transition area.

A virtual who’s who in the local triathlon scene are confirmed  to race on Sunday which also includes top road bike racers Arnel Genobiagon, Jaybop Pagnanawon and Jovanni Delica registered in the relay category.  Heading the cast of elite athletes are Manila-based Elmo Clarabal and Jory Ycong, Ralph Arche, Paul Jumamil, Emmanuel Comendador, Wilmar Saavedra and XTerra pro Joseph Miller.   Of course, there are the scores of who-are-yous whose passion is self-torture, unmindful of non-podium finish as long as they had abused their bodies for about three hours.

Swimmers Louie Villacin and Keith Ocampo will give other entries stiff competition in the open waters.  Genobiagon, Pagnanawon and Delica are the favorites to burn rubber on the asphalt unless some other rider joins the party.  Surely, marathoners Mary Joy Tabal and John Philip Duenas will be the measuring stick in the run leg.

Seventeen teams are registered in the relay category and more than 80 individuals in the different age groups.  The relay race is a must-see with all the big-name athletes mentioned.  We will also expect the teams from Iloilo and Bohol to do well as they’re not exactly here just to see the sights and hear the sounds of the land of rosquillos and masi.

All finishers will get medals, shirt, a sling bag and bike cover.  The top five finishers in the male, female and relay categories will receive P15,000, P10,000, P5,000, P3,000 and P2,000 respectively plus plaques.  If you haven’t tried the sport, Tri Liloan.As the Local Government Unit says, “We TRI to make Triathlon fun in Liloan.”












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