A TRIATHLETE from the northern town of Carmen, Cebu was the best Cebuano finisher in the prestigious Cobra 70.3 Ironman Philippines 2010 in Camarines Sur last Sunday.
Ralph Martin Sios-e, a proud Carmen resident, made a name for himself after finishing third place in the 18-25 age group with a time of five hours and 22 minutes.
Sios-e has only been doing the sport for two years when he decided to embark on the taxing challenge. All he wanted was finish within a respectable time but he did better.
“I was surprised because I was eight minutes earlier than my expected finish,” said Sios-e, who checked in after Australia’s Preddy Grant and Cris Dimaano of Naga City.
The other Cebuano with a third place finish was last year’s Filipino elite champion Noy Jopson, who lost the title to elite triathletes Neil Catiil and Arland Macasieb.
“I still very happy with my achievement. I couldn’t really believe that I took the third spot because the world’s best triathletes came to race. We were 25 in our category and I finished third,” Sios-e said.
Born and raised in Carmen, Sios-e said he didn’t see himself competing in the prestigious event. He gave credit to the Sugbutriathlon community for motivating him to get into the sport.
Sugbutri is a group of triathlon enthusiasts who train together and organize events to give the athletes a chance to compete. It is also responsible for the promotion of the sport here in Cebu and neighboring provinces.
Sios-e said the swim event was the most challenging after 803 coampetitors crowded the 1.9-kilometer swim course.
“I still managed to finish the swim event even if it was very crowded. The swimmers were already hitting each other’s elbows, legs, feet and face. The run course was also very taxing because I was already tired from the two other disciplines and it very hot and the uphills were killers,” said Sios-e.
On the other hand, had Jopson not suffered severe cramps, he said he would have done better than his third place finish.
“It was the hardest race I’ve ever done. I had a bad swim, a good bike but I was cramping severely on both legs the whole run. If I had my normal running legs, it would have been a close fight. So given the circumstances, I am satisfied to be able to salvage third place. I lost to Catiil and Macaseib—two great champions who train full time and live for the sport,” Jopson said.
Jopson and Sios-e will start preparing for next weekend’s Milo 21K marathon elimination here in Cebu.
A Cebu team, Reborn, also competed in the tournament.
Team member Reel Bontol said Cebuanos have a good chance of making a better finish in triathlon competitions if only more events are made available for them.
“We went there for the experience and to inspire the Cebuano community to get into the sport. Unlike the common misconception, triathlon is not just for elite triathletes,” Bontol said.