Members of the Philippine Triathlon team (Seated L-R) Christian Yance, Kim Kilgroe, Justine Chiongbian and Yuan Chiongbian pose with organizers of the Cebu National Duathlon Championships 2015 which was launched yesterday at the Casino Espanol. (Photo By Mars G. Alison)
Members of the Philippine Triathlon team (Seated L-R) Christian Yance, Kim Kilgroe, Justine Chiongbian and Yuan Chiongbian pose with organizers of the Cebu National Duathlon Championships 2015 which was launched yesterday at the Casino Espanol. (Photo By Mars G. Alison)

Recognizing the abundance of good cyclists and runners in the Visayas and Mindanao, the Triathlon Association of the Philippines (TRAP) has decided to bring this year’s edition of the National Duathlon Championships to Cebu City for the first time.

The event which has always been held in Clark Pampanga will now be dubbed as the Cebu National Duathlon Championships 2015 and will be held at the South Road Properties on Sept. 12 and 13. The race route is actually a portion of the 90-kilometer bike of the Cobra Energy Drink Ironman 70.3 which will be held in Cebu for the fourth year on Aug. 2.

The race will be organized by TRAP with the help of the Danao City Sports Commission chaired by Oscar “Boying” Rodriguez, who is a board member of TRAP.

According to Rodriguez, who has been tapped as the competition manager, he suggested the SRP when TRAP first approached him for a new venue of the race.

“I wanted to bring it here in Cebu because aside from Cebu being one of the country’s sporting hubs, I have also successfully brought international cycling and triathlon events here,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez will be heading the NDC’s local organizing committee with the help of Millette Chiongbian, whose sons Justin and Yuan have been tapped as ambassadors for the race alongside Kim Kilgroe and Christian Yance, all members of the national triathlon team.

Duathlon is a dual-sport event which involves running-biking-running and is a good introduction for those who want to go into triathlon which is a swim-bike-run competition.

Rodriguez added that they also wanted to attract more athletes from Visayas and Mindanao.

The event will also serve as a venue for talent identification with participants having an outstanding performance to get an invite to the Philippine Duathlon national pool.

National coach Rick Reyes said that duathlon is not as widely promoted as triathlon, however, it is a sport that suits the Filipinos well.

Reyes said that members of the national duathlon team have been making their presence felt internationally with Rubino Javier bagging bronze in last year’s Asian Beach Games.

Although it only involves two sporting disciplines, Reyes said that duathlon is a tougher event than the triathlon because it will give your legs no rest.

They are expecting most of the participants to come from Cebu, said Reyes, who added that the national team will also be joining the race.

Rodriguez added that with the change of venue, they also hope to attract participants from neighboring countries which will be good as the long term goal of bringing the race in Cebu is to someday also have the Asian Duathlon Championships here.

This year’s NDC which will be held on Sept. 13 will have the standard, sprint and the youth mini sprint distances. The standard which is open for elite and age groupers will have participants going for a 10-kilometer run to be followed by a 40-km bike and finishing off the race with a 5-km run.

The sprint distance which is a 5 km run-20 km bike-2.5 km run is open to participants 16 to 19 years old and age groupers 20 & Above while the youth mini sprint is open for 13 to 15 years old participants. It will have a 2.5 km run, 10 km bike and 2.5 km run.

A day prior to the NDC, an STK (SuperTriKids) race will be held as part of TRAP’s mandate to promote and develop the sport. Categories for the STK are 8 & Under, 9-10 and 11-12.

Kilgroe, who is also holding a clinic for the underprivileged this weekend in Cebu and Bohol, said she is glad for the opportunity to promote the event and attract new athletes. She, however, is unsure of joining the NDC because she is also taking part in the World Championships for triathlon in Chicago, USA which is happening also in September.

Justin Chiongbian, for his part, said that he would recommend the event to the newbies despite it being tough because they might as well start learning the sport.

The younger Chiongbian, Yuan, added that the race will benefit those who are into triathlon.

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