Thursday, May 08, 2014

Fair Play: Challenges spur sports like triathlon

(This is my Fair Play column for Sun.Star Cebu's May 8 issue)
ABOUT 10 or so years ago, when I first covered a triathlon race—which was as rare as a blue moon—there were quite a few who readily dismissed the local triathlon scene as a hangout for the rich boys.

Di na magdugay kay mga dato lang ang maka-apil,” they said.

In a way, they were right as, a few years later, the local triathlon scene died.

But just as the local running scene seemed to have reach its apex, other sports like trail-running and biking took off, and perhaps inevitably, the triathlon scene, too, picked up.

Did everybody suddenly become rich?

Or is it, as some say, a case of runners looking for other challenges in biking and in triathlon?

Just check the roads every weekend, or even weekdays, every Juan it seems is on a bike, which now comes in all types ranging from the dirt cheap to the “you-seriously-spent-that-for-a-bike?”

And I think the triathlon scene, just like the running and biking scene, is here to stay. That is what usually happens when you have different like-minded groups doing different things for the growth of the sport. Remember, the local running circuit grew by leaps and bounds sans a local or even national body overseeing it.

That’s what happening with the biking scene and with triathlon, too.

And it’s not just about having the money for the sport. If it was, then why are your bosses and business managers not in the scene?

It’s about determination and finding the will to test one’s limits.

Take the case of my friend Johan Sisno. The first time I met him, he was, by his own words, one of those guys who grew up “nga napasagdan sa kusina.”

He was rarely without a beer whenever he drops by our apartment to visit my younger brother.

Just last week, he finished his first triathlon race in Bantayan, an accomplishment made more amazing considering he first learned to swim just two months ago.

He posted on Facebook about how difficult getting there was and added, “To all fat people (tambok ang lawas, tambok ang kalag ug tambok ang kina-iya), this race is for you! What’s your excuse?

Why does triathlon thrive?

It’s does about having the money to buy the best shoes or equipment. long as people find the courage to challenge themselves, the running, biking and triathlon scene will continue. It’s no longer just a sport, it’s a lifestyle for them.

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