All across the roster, the new members of the Alaska Tri-Aspire Team boast a stellar record of individual accomplishments. For their first race as a team in the recently concluded Ironman 70.3, held in the beautiful city of Danang, Vietnam, they did more than put their individual talents in full display – they showcased what they are capable of doing as a team.
Coming from different sides of the world, the Alaska Tri-Aspire team was put together to represent the Philippines in some of the world’s toughest triathlons such as the 5i50, Ironman 70.3, and XTERRA events at the Asian Beach Games, Asian Games, and the Olympics. Beyond their personal accolades, they were chosen for their passion for the sport, training with their Heart On Fire for most of the year to prepare them for multiple events all over the globe against some of the world’s very best.
Endurance sports may not be as thrilling as watching slam dunks, celebrating mindblowing as goals, or as stunning as powerful spikes, but definitely, it is one of the toughest sports that takes you through some of the most beautiful sites in the world. Not only is triathlon a great sport to enjoy, it is also a great way for people to adopt an active lifestyle.
“It’s not easy to be a professional triathlete,” shared Benedicto with PlayPH on his advice to young people who wishes to get into the sport. “Just enjoy and focus on what you are doing.”
Benedicto’s story is one of the best and most inspiring stories of triathletes whose passion for the sport came unexpectedly. From delivering ice, to racing through the Le Tour de Filipinas, to running in duathlons, to conquering his fear of swimming in the deep parts of the ocean, all the way to becoming a professional triathlete, Benedicto soaked in all the experiences and learnings from mentors such as his idol world-class triathlete Chris Wellington to get him to where he is today.
“Asia has been one of the most intrical part of my career,” shared world-class triathlete Belinda Granger with PlayPH. “I’ve spent a lot of time in Asia, from the very beginnings, when the sport was very very small here. Most of the athletes that were racing were expats. Now to come back year after year and see how much the sport has grown in this region, it’s extraordinary.”
In recent years, the sport has seen more youth get involved despite the challenges it presents. In the Philippines alone, the Alaska IronKids has seen the numbers of participants grow each year with some even flying to the country from different corners of the world.
“I remember when we did Alaska Iron Kids,” said Granger. “To see so many children turn out for the event, and not just participate – they actually know how to swim, bike, and run for a very young age. When I grew up, there were no children who do triathlon. We were all adults! The sport really has advanced a huge amount since it started.”
From world-class athletes representing our country to young athletes who give us a preview of a bright future, the Philppines has definitely embraced the joys and challenges of triathlons. With the Alaska Tri-Aspire team leading the way, it’s only a matter of time before the world recognizes that Filipinos can indeed hold their own against the world’s toughest.