Priest conquers Ironman as ‘a show of faith’

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Sunday, August 3, 2014


MANY of the 2,500 triathletes who participated in yesterday’s Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines probably didn’t know they were racing with someone whose day job is being “a man of God”.

Fr. Brian Brigoli finished the men’s 35-39 event in seven hours, 31 minutes and 31 seconds. It was his first major triathlon.

In an interview yesterday, the 35-year-old priest revealed his journey toward the world-class triathlon started when a friend of his decided to give up his slot.

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Brigoli told Sun.Star Cebu that after his first triathlon in Tabuelan last year, he wanted to join the Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines. But he never got his chance to register after all the slots for this year’s event quickly sold out.

Luckily for Fr. Brigoli, Dr. Kirby Lim decided to give up his slot to him. Lim happens to be the brother-in-law of a friend of Brigoli’s.

This stroke of luck further increased Brigoli’s motivation to join and finish the prestigious race. But there were moments yesterday when difficulty stood in his way.

He had a slow start during the swim leg and a hard time maneuvering given the strong headwinds in the South Road Properties (SRP) during the bike leg.

“During the last 21-kilometer loop in the run leg, I was almost exhausted,” Brigoli said.

Upon seeing the finish line, Brigoli recalled he used up the last reserves of his energy and made a dash for it.

The Tuburan-born priest said he wasn’t an athletic clergyman in the past.

It was only when he was transferred to Carcar City as a parochial vicar of the St. Catherine of Alexandria Parish that Brigoli began his journey as a triathlete.

He started running as a member of the Kagumkom Runners, a running group in Carcar City. He completed his first marathon, Ika-2 Halad ni Leon Kilat, which proceeded from Parian in Cebu City to Carcar City.

After that, Brigoli eventually started joining multi-discipline events, such as the Xterra Off-Road Triathlon, but as part of a relay team.

The Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines was the first event that Brigoli joined as an individual athlete.

Aside from being triathlete—and investing the hours needed to train for a two-kilometer swim, 90-kilometer bike and 21-kilometer run--Brigoli also serves as a high-ranking official of the Archdiocese of Cebu.

He is currently vice chairman of the Archdiocesan Commission on Cultural Heritage and is a formator of the San Carlos Seminary in Barangay Mabolo, Cebu City.

Brigoli said he became a triathlete because he wanted to show his colleagues in the clergy that even he can do it through sheer determination and faith.

“I wanted to show my colleagues that we shouldn’t take for granted our own health. How can we serve our parishes if we are not healthy?” he said.

He hopes that this year’s Ironman won’t be his last.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on August 04, 2014.

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