The name August Benedicto is one familiar to fans of the Southeast Triathlon scene, as the affable Pinoy made waves, most notably when he became the country’s first 2-time Cobra IronMan 70.3 champion for his wins in 2012 and 2014. Unlike many of his fellow participants, however, the world of triathlon is one almost entirely removed from the one he grew up in.
Hailing from the small town of Paniqui, Tarlac, Benedicto was born the second of eight siblings and, being of humble means, had to help out with the family business at a young age. Essentially training without knowing it, Benedicto was creating an athletic base for himself without knowing it, delivering untold thousands kilos of ice via a bicycle he assembled with parts from junk shops.
In his teens, Benedicto won his first medal wearing a pair of borrowed shoes that were too big for him, and soon discovered that he had a talent for long distance runs. Sadly, he was unable to participate in the Philippine National School Games due to a lack of funds. It wouldn’t be until Benedicto’s 20th year that he participated in his first duathlon, once again making use of borrowed equipment, in this case, a mountain bike. Realizing he needed a proper road bike if he was to have any hope of competing on any serious level, he struck a deal with a friend to purchase his old bike via installments over the next six months, using his earnings from delivering ice before and after school.
Now that he had his own bike, Benedicto was able to hone his bike racing skills through local cycling events before once again trying out for duathlon, determined to make a career out of professional racing in order to help support his family.
The following year, the rising duathlon star was competing for the national team, which led to his meeting British triathlete star Chrissie Wellington, a friendship that would change the young man’s life; It was Wellington who would encourage Benedicto to give triathlon a try – but first he had to learn how to swim!
From 2007 onwards, the young duathlete used what precious little spare time he had to learn to swim. It was around this time that he was sent to represent the Philippines in duathlon at the 2007 SEAGames, bringing home a Bronze medal.
The moment of truth came in 2008, when Benedicto was encouraged to join the ITU Long Course Race in Subic Bay, wherein he finished 6th. 2 years later, he would experience his first IronMan 70.3, finishing as the 4th Filipino overall. The extra training had paid off – August Benedicto was now a triathlete!
Through perseverance, discipline, and the heart of a champion, August Benedicto had worked his way into the category of the Filipino Elite, a standard he has proven himself in time and time again, winning multiple competitions and competing in races all over the world. Now, as a member of Tri-Aspire, Benedicto is contributing his skills to a team dedicated towards the common goal of promoting sportsmanship and active lifestyle by presenting the Philippines with a triathlete team that they can be proud to call their own.
For a man who lives by his motto of “Never Give Up” it is Benedicto’s brand of focused talent that has Pinoy triathlon followers hopeful that maybe, just maybe, an Olympic medal may not be too far off.