Team High Altitude scores at Century Tuna 5150-A A +A
Saturday, August 25, 2012
By Nana Arellano-Aoyong
REMEMBER the three different abled men who made amazing performances during the recent Century Tuna 5150 in Subic Bay last June 24, 2012? They placed second in the Men’s Relay category despite being disabled and made a mark in our hearts that it is not impossible to triumph over our own obstacles and fears. The team’s win was not the only surprising victory during this triathlon. Team High Altitude from Baguio got a surprise of a lifetime as well.
Not many people know that placing third after these incredible athletes was Baguio’s Team High Altitude. Created and formed by Baguio’s very own Frankie Domingo, -runner, Dennis Aoyong-biker and Jeron Mercader-swimmer. The three athletes were all first timers in this race.
Having known that the Century Tuna 5150 is one of the largest and hottest international distance triathlon to ever hit the Philippines, Team High Altitude didn’t let this chance pass. There was no stopping these three newbie triathletes from joining and competing in the relay category for this inaugural race. With hundreds of hardcore athletes joining it, the team just wanted to get a feel of what a triathlon race would be like. This was a chance to test their speed in the lowlands after training at high altitude.
For Jeron, Frankie and Dennis joining was all about the experience and winning wasn’t even part of their plan.
A 22-year-old swimming coach is Team High Altitude’s swimmer Jeron Mercader. He is currently the coach of Baguio Penguins. Jeron started joining competitions at the age of 8 and has been teaching the sport for years now. Although Coach Jeron has competed in many international swimming competitions like the World University Competition and is also preparing to compete in Russia next year, Century Tuna 5150 was his first Tri. He remembers how the other participants were surprised to see a new face to come out of the open water race together with the other elites. He humbly and laughingly shares how most swimmers were all geared with their tri suits while he was only wearing his black trunks. Most eyes were on him probably because they were wondering who he was as he finished his 1.5k swim in a breeze with a time of 20 minutes.
Frankie Domingo, owner of Home Outlet along Marcos Highway, was the runner of Team High Altitude. He started running in 2007 in the gym and started loving the sport. Choosing a healthy lifestyle meant a lot of discipline, strict diet and hard work for Frankie. After joining a few fun runs and marathons, he decided to give triathlon a shot as he prepares himself for his individual triathlon races next year. He beat his personal record and finished his 10k run in 48 minutes. Frankie admits that the weather in Subic was too hot for him but the excitement in this triathlon was a far cry from other fun runs and marathons he has joined before.
The team’s biker was Dennis Aoyong who has been a bike enthusiast for years now. After having joined a few duathlons he decided to go into road racing and finally set to test the roads in his first Tri. Dennis recalls that all they wanted was to finish with their best times and winning as a team didn’t even cross his mind. He finished his 40k bike ride with a time of 1 hour and 26 mins. Dennis being used to biking the hills of Baguio took advantage of the uphills of Subic Bay and these are the areas of the race where he overtook many bikers.
Winning 3rd place in the Men’s Relay and 5th Overall Relay came as a surprise for Team High Altitude. For these first timers, Century Tuna 5150 serves as a start of the many triathlons the team would join in the future. Proud and thankful that they achieved more than they had hoped for, this humble team consisting of Jeron, Frankie and Dennis will continue to train more at high altitude and would again give their best in their coming races.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 25, 2012.