SportsHow I keep fitNegrenses conquer IronMan 70.3

Negrenses conquer IronMan 70.3

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By Nathaniel Carampatana

In the realm of endurance sports, where the convergence of mind, body, and willpower defines success, the Ironman 70.3 World Championship stands as the pinnacle of achievement.

This year’s event, held April 21 in Lapu-Lapu City, Mactan, witnessed about 1,385 remarkable athletes, each with a unique journey leading to the starting line.

Among them were close to 25 triathletes from Negros Oriental who have etched their names in the records of IronMan history, showcasing resilience, determination, and unwavering spirit.

 

Defying expectations

The IronMan triathlon stage was once a distant dream for 27-year-old Joshua Mariano Nario, illuminated by TV screens and glossy magazines. Hailing from the municipality of Sibulan, Nario’s love for sports was focused on ball sports, particularly volleyball.

However, in 2019, he tore his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) of his left knee, sidelining him for years. It was around the end of 2021 when he made his first leap towards triathlon.

“After my injury, I needed an outlet as a form of rehab and exercise so I started running then cycling. It was around the end of 2021 when my friend and Coach Sebastian Teves invited me to join Dumaguete Triathlon. I was hesitant at first but eventually, gave in to the idea, and that was when I started swimming and eventually finished my first triathlon,” Nario said.

Because of that training, his IronMan dream materialized into reality. Despite encountering formidable challenges – from strong currents in the swim, to mechanical issues on the bike, and cramps on the run – Nario persevered, guided by the wisdom of Coach Seb, and the sheer joy of participation.

Nario emerged as the 31st finisher out of 53 participants in the age group 25-29.

Reflecting on his journey, Nario emphasized the importance of trusting the process, and embracing each step towards his redemption in future races.

 

Navigating new waters

Transitioning from competitive swimming to the multi-faceted domain of triathlon presented a unique set of challenges for Dumagueteña Alexa Torrillo.

Amidst the rigors of academic pursuits, and the demands of relay training, Torillo remained resolute, focusing her efforts on mastering the swim leg, while balancing her studies.

“I’ve been an athlete for more than a decade now. I started my competitive swimming when I was five years old, up until my college days. After I completed my undergraduate course, and the pandemic happened, it was when I unexpectedly started to love the sport of triathlon,” she said.

During the Ironman in Lapu-Lapu when she was confronted by the relentless currents and choppy waters of the race course, Torillo’s determination propelled her relay team to the finish line, reaffirming her commitment to pursue individual glory in future Ironman endeavors.

“For every race that I join, my mindset is always the same: to finish strong, safe, and to beat my personal best time.

However, in this IM 70.3 race, to be honest, I was not happy with my swim time. I was not able to achieve my target time. Despite my performance, and the brutal conditions during the race — strong currents, choppy waters, uphill, headwind, and scorching heat of the sun — I am still glad that my relay team made it to the finish line safe,” she said.

Torrillo was the 13th  to come out of the water, out of 56 finishers, along with her relay partner Maricar Maputi Evero.

 

Embracing the journey

Jeremiah Torrevillas, a newbie to the triathlon scene, found himself drawn to the sport amidst the tumult of the pandemic.

“I’ve been in triathlon for less than two years now, and had great moments, and also shortcomings from past races. I gathered up what I think I needed to improve, alongside with the best decision I made — which was to get coached by an Ironman-certified coach, guiding me throughout a three-month training plan,” he said.

Guided by his passion for swimming, and fueled by a desire to challenge his limits, Torrevillas went on a transformative journey, navigating the highs and lows of triathlon training with resolve.

Torrevillas, a Dumaguete native, ranked 235th out of more than 1,400 participants, and was the 26th finisher out of the 83 participants in his age group.

Armed with the guidance of his coach, and the lessons learned from past races, Torrevillas emerged from Ironman 70.3 Lapu-Lapu with new-found confidence, setting his sights on future endeavors with a steadfast commitment to perseverance and growth.

 

Fortitude

Christopher John Vergara’s road to Ironman glory was paved with determination and resilience.

He faced logistical hurdles in accessing proper training facilities, relying on makeshift arrangements to hone his swimming skills.

“The challenge during our preparation or training was with the swim leg. Living in Bais City, we lack access to a standard swimming pool or even a 25-meter one. Therefore, we needed to travel to Dumaguete just to train for swimming. To compensate for our training, we mostly relied on swimming in our local boulevard there during high tide,” he said.

Undeterred by these challenges, Vergara embraced the ethos of endurance sports, integrating swimming, biking, and running into his daily routine with dedication.

As he was crossing the finish line at Ironman 70.3 Lapu-Lapu, Vergara’s journey served as a testament to the indomitable spirit of human endeavor, inspiring athletes of all ages to pursue their passions with determination.

Vergara ranked 32nd out of 83 participants in his age group.

“To all athletes out there, let your training become more than just a routine – make it your lifestyle. Continue to swim, bike, run, and whatever sport you’re in for as long as you live. Embrace and enjoy the journey, more than the finish line,” Vergara advised.

 

Mindset is everything

Ironman 70.3 Lapu-Lapu for Clement John Vergara was more than just a race – it was a culmination of years of dedication, sacrifice, and determination.

From his early days as a multisport enthusiast to his triumphant debut on the Ironman stage, Clement John’s journey demonstrated the transformative power of endurance sports.

“I’ve experienced a lot of challenges down from my trainings up to my preparations, and during the race there was a lot [happening] because it was a battle between my mind and body. I experienced leg cramps or muscle spasms, dehydration, and lack of nutrition. I faced every trial with a mind set to finish strong, and focus on the goal and not just for anything else,” he said.

Despite facing formidable challenges, Clement John remained steadfast in his pursuit of excellence, drawing strength from his faith.

“I had to set my mind on a different mode; I started training my mind to be stronger than what feels just pushing myself beyond limits. Mindset is everything. It is where everything starts, and where everything ends,” he said.

Clement finished 10th out of 25 participants for the 18-24 age group.

As he looks towards future races, Clement John’s message resonates: stay humble, dedicate your success to a higher purpose, and believe that anything is possible with perseverance.

Ironman triathlon carries the weight of dreams and aspirations. These five individuals from Negros Oriental emerged as exemplars of the human spirit. As they continue to push the boundaries of athletic achievement, their stories will inspire generations of triathletes to chase their dreams and conquer the impossible.

 

 

 

 

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