EXPECT new faces to shine in the Alaska IronKids Triathlon Cebu at the Shangri-La Mactan on Aug.6.
From a sidelight of the IronMan competitions several years ago Alaska IronKids has grown into its own as the biggest and best competition for triathlon athletes in its age groups.
The growing number of participants has guaranteed that there will be new challengers to the established champions.
Foremost among them is Jana Macalalad.
After placing second to the Borlain sisters (Samantha and Tara) many times, Macalalad is determined to break the pattern in Cebu.
“I expect that I can beat the Borlain sisters and have a good race. I trained hard this past year. You don’t train for second or third. You train for first. So, aim for gold,” said Macalalad.
Children participating in IronKids are already champions without winning medals.
The program encourages them to drop their video game consoles and cellphones, stop watching TV inside their living rooms and invites them to swim, bike and run outdoors to play instead.
Macalalad is trained by triathlon coach George Vilog with the help of swim coach Anthony Lozada.
“Coach George taught me the important things to remember. First is discipline. Then you must have the heart for it. It's important how you do it. If you're always tired that means you don't love your sport. If you love your sport then even if you are tired then you find ways to motivate yourself and continue. I never get tired,” said Macalalad.
A few weeks ago she joined the Philippine Triathlon Developmental Team for the first time in an international competition abroad and earned a medal in the 2016 Singapore International Triathlon.
“I feel proud. Not all people get to represent the Philippines. I am so happy to represent the country. We (teammates) motivated and helped each other. We wanted to make our country proud,” said Macalalad.