The latest episode of Passion at Play highlights Maria Mempin, an Alaska IronKid representing Team Davao, alongside her older brother, Enrique. Having learned to swim and bike at the age of 4, it was when she was 7 that Maria began training for triathlon, ater being inspired by a poster she saw in her school.
Back then, Maria thought that biking was her best event, until she began focusing on running, and found that coaches wanted to take her into their training programs. One thing led to another and, with her parents’ blessing, Maria began training to maximize her talent.
From that point on, Maria has joined every Alaska IronKids event she’s qualified for, beginning in 2013, when her category ended up being cancelled on account of a typhoon. Undeterred, she continued in her training and finally got to take part in 2014, an experience she says she will never forget.
Interviewed by PlayPH in 2015, Maria said that, despite her petite size, racing always made her feel like she was one of the big kids, and this year was no different, as she found herself facing off against a number of participants who were taller than her. “If you see like, really big kids, it doesn’t mean you have to be afraid of them…You can just look at them and say, oh they’re big. (But) I can still try my best to beat them.”
With the 2016 race now completed, Maria is an Alaska IronKids veteran who’ll continue on, not letting anything stop her from chasing her passion.