Freeman Cebu Sports

Ghassemi hurdles second Ironman 70.3 race this year in US

Emmanuel B. Villaruel - The Freeman
Ghassemi hurdles second Ironman 70.3 race this year in US
Cebuano businessman-sportsman Afshin Ghassemi completes his second Ironman 70.3 race this year at the picturesque Chattanooga city of Tennessee last Sunday (Monday, May 20 Phl time).

CEBU, Philippines — Cebuano multi-sport athlete Afshin Ghassemi prides himself on completing his second Ironman 70.3 event of the year in the United States last Sunday (Monday, May 20 Phl time).

Ghassemi’s latest feat came two months after he conquered what he described as a very difficult yet unforgettable race in Puerto Rico.

The sports-minded civic leader and business executive said joining in the grueling three-in-one action at the beautiful Chattanooga city of Tennessee was part of his bigger plan of traveling around the world to experience different race environments, conditions, and time zones.

Ghassemi shared that while the course had some tough climbs in both the bike and run legs, the toughest challenge was really getting ready for the race.

“After the London Marathon last April, I struggled with training due to a very full schedule in my various leadership roles,” said Ghassemi, who is the president of Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu Alumni Association and at the same time chairman of his beloved alma mater’s alumni basketball association.

“Nevertheless, my experience in racing got me to a strong swim of 36 minutes and a decent bike split of two hours and 52 minutes despite close to 700 meters of elevation gain,” added the CEO of Core Pacific Money Exchange Corporation.

Offhand, the 40-year-old Ghassemi said he truly enjoyed his neck and neck battle with Greg Schaefer for the top honors in the Ironman Exclusive Challenge (XC).

“Me and Greg Schaefer were pushing each other throughout the bike leg. I was closing in on first place in the 49 and under category until the 14th km in the run where my legs were just cramping.”

Still, Ghassemi relishes his wonderful experience in Chattanooga, where he also had the opportunity to reunite with Marvin Roma, his batchmate from SHS-AdC Batch 2000.

More importantly, he gained one of the six Ironman XC entries to the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Taupo, New Zealand this December.

“It is my second Ironman 70.3 race this year after Puerto Rico last March and I have quite a number of races in different continents as the year goes,” said Ghassemi.  “This is part of my preparations as I hope to finally take on the challenge of racing the full Ironman distance of 3.8km swim, 180km bike, and 42km run sometime next year. “

Up next for Ghassemi is the Ironman 70.3 Les Sables d’Olonne-Vendée in France on June 30.

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