Early registration cutoff forces top triathlete to skip Ironman-A A +A
Sunday, July 22, 2012
ELMO Clarabal drives the only red Mandaue-Manalili jeepney with the word “triathlon” splattered across its body. He drives it and yes, he is one of Cebu’s top triathletes.
Clarabal’s story has been one for the books. The athlete who trains in the morning and drives the jeep at night could have been the success story people watch out for in the upcoming Cobra Ironman 70.3 Philippines in Shangri-La Mactan Cebu next month.
He made a surprising second place finish in the male elite division of the Xterra Off-Road Triathlon in Liloan. But Cebuanos will not get a chance to witness Clarabal make another killing in the premiere triathlon event after failing to register on time.
“Daghan ang niingon nga na surprise sila nga ni-second ko sa Xterra. Sayang dili ko makacompete karon sa Ironman,” said Clarabal.
Clarabal had prepared for his return to the Ironman 70.3 after missing it last year.
“Daghan ug gicorrect sa akong training. This year, ready na unta kaayo ko,” said Clarabal.
The registration, which opened in December, closed in January when the 1,500 slots were filled up. Clarabal said he registered in February thinking that the registration will end in May.
“It was my fault because I did not register early. I was really thinking that they would accept registrations until May. I thought they won’t be too strict since Cebu is hosting it but I understand why the World Triathlon Corp., which controls the event, needs to be strict about it,” said Clarabal.
Clarabal was placed in the waiting list along with more than 300 others. He still trained pending the call from organizers, but two weeks ago, Clarabal said he decided to give up and train for another event instead.
“I trained for a roadbike race, the Kia Ironlegs, which will be on July 28,” Clarabal said.
“I was really hoping to join the Ironman because I have trained hard. And since joining my first Ironman in 2009 in Camsur, my time has dramatically improved,” said Clarabal.
Although he struggled in 2009, he improved in his second attempt in 2010 and finished seventh overall in the men’s elite. He failed to join last year because of training woes. And this year, with it being hosted by Cebu, could have been his comeback.
“Sayang gyud kayo kay dako gyud kayo ko ug improvement sa akong training. Pero wala nalang ko nag hope kay ubay-ubay gyud mi naa sa waiting list,” he said.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 23, 2012.