Tristalker was born out of this assignment given me by the wonderful Ogilvy staff, PR handlers for Century Tuna, led by Lhen Hasal, petite, bubbly, and workaholic that she is. For the very first time I was tasked to cover the inaugural edition of Century Tuna Ironman 70.3 at Subic Bay Free Port Zone. I immersed myself into the world of professional and age group triathlon right where the action is. This includes Alaska Ironkids, an integral part of local Ironman- sanctioned events taking place on the penultimate day of the swim-bike-run adult action.
Parental support and involvement are evident right from the get go which was the swim event at Wow Pool, Remy Field. Accompanying their excited and determined little athletes to the starting end of the pool where their motherly coach, albeit uber competitive, Ani de Leon-Brown, is situated for race briefing and instructions, they were an image of family support. Some were in your regular “football moms and dads” stage parenting outfit, meaning in casual comfies; while others in trikits or sports wears, indicative that they themselves are either competing the following day or involved in multisport. Talk about the family that plays together!
Just like your regular triathlon event, the bike leg followed suit with the transition area along the closed road just outside the pool. Upon my arrival here, I inspected the parked bikes and they were an eclectic bevy of your top of the line roadies I thought only adults know how to ride (Remember some of these kids had been with the sports as young as six!), mtbs and foldies! This simply shows that anything and everything goes in terms of the kind of bike allowed. What is needed is enough interest and dedication for the sport in order to create young CHAMPIONS. There is no bike segregation. Not all of these though will be possible without parental support. This simply shows that making an ironkid, and all insinuations this title signifies, takes a supportive family.
The run leg looped around the Remy Field oval. By the start of this leg, a good amount of early morning almost summer sun’s heat was scorching the young runners. This though only intensified the burning flame of friendly competition brought about by years of competing with each other. They are more like family than competing strangers. By the finish line, I saw two ironkids dashing to be the first by the tape only to comfort and congratulate each other right after. This simply shows that the physical rigors and sports ACTION were intense but the spirit of sportsmanship is undoubtedly even more!
By the end of it all, they all head for the celebratory embrace of their parents. If I am to give judgment on this simple act, this definitely goes both ways, a victorious embrace for the parents as well. A hug will suffice for all the effort spent on waiting during training, making sure they eat and drink the right NUTRITION, the amount spent on gears and trikits. After all, an Ironkid is not just a label, not just a brand. It symbolizes a child that will grow up learning how to manage time, know the importance of hard work to achieve something, give it their all, but keeping things within friendly and sportsman-like terms, have the will of iron but the heart of gold.
Wouldn’t you want your child to grow up as an Ironkid?
Together with the rest of the social and the conventional media group, we left Remy Field with a brand new outlook on kid’s play. While I was having my breakfast, I can not help but feel excited about the next event at the same track oval right after the awarding of Ironkids – Century Tuna Super Bods Underpants Run! Now this is what I call adult’s play!
Selfie first with Coach Ani de Leon-Brown before she gets busy with race briefings and overseeing the race.
And she goes to business playing the mother hen role to these future triathletes of the country.
While the kids are readying for their respective races, it is their parents who are jittery and apprehensive by the side lines.
The coverage is no less intensive and hi-tech!
Neither is the race organizers including timing teams involved small-time!
The more prestigious guests headed by owner Mr. Wilfred Uytengsu are by the other side of the pool.
And off your young triathletes go!
The great thing about triathlon is the fact that usually they are held in some destination places. This enables families to travel and enjoy this activity together. Here is a good picture showing how 3 generations were brought closer together by triathlon.
Another doting father making sure that all gears properly in place. This vantage also allows us to see the variety of bicycles used by Ironkids ranging from the crudest, to the most technologically advanced. I even espied a foldie among the bunch.
Dashing to Transition 1 after the swim leg.
And straddling their bikes towards the bike start zone.
A view of the Remy Field oval where the run leg took place.
And here they come a-running and with such impeccable running form at such a young age! Admirable!
A mad rush towards the finish line in a display of intense competitiveness.
But congratulating and sharing bonding moments together right after in the spirit of sportsmanship.
Triathlon may be exhausting but this Ironkid got the will of steel, no doubt about that.
Professional triathletes came out to support the future representatives of the country in this sport.
For each finishers, not just a warm hug from family and friends awaits, but also this medal.
And some cute Teddys as well!
They likewise got to get some loot!
And of course yours truly by the Alaska Ironkids podium stand!