‘Tri Ilocos Norte’ strengthens triathlon communities in N. Luzon, continues pushing ‘sports tourism’

On its past editions, the ‘Tri Ilocos Norte’ has successfully established itself as the ultimate triathlon competition that boosts the ‘sports tourism’ potential of the province with the event firing off once again last March 19, 2016 in Currimao town.

Drawing more than 150 racers from the different parts of the country including seasoned triathletes as well as local weekend warriors and youngsters, the event was organized by TriSports Solutions Inc. (TSI), Tri North and the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte.

The competition was dominated by triathlon teams across Pampanga, La Union, Pangasinan, Baguio, Ilocos Sur and IlocosNorte as Tri Ilocos Norte continuously aims to unite the different triathlon communities in Northern Luzon.

TSI Head and Race Director Mikey Chua revealed that most of the racers this year were “returning participants” which indicates the overwhelming experience of the triathletes in the previous years.

With the extreme energy and intensity experienced by the triathletes, the Tri Ilocos Norte ensured that the participants coursed through laid-back terrain as they raced past the incredible rock formation and pristine beaches of Currimao, mystifying Paoay Lake and the UNESCO World Heritage Paoay Church.

Maria Elizabeth Roses, a member of the Mayon Tri-Team from Legazpi, Albay, revealed during an interview that they were encouraged to join Tri Ilocos Norte because of the “good stories and experience” of their co-members in the competition last year.

Roses together with her teammates Manny Lubrigo and Anjo Borja competed in the mixed relay event wherein all of them admitted that they are already looking forward to coming back next year.

Meanwhile, Lubrigo, an amputee who was in the swim-leg of the mixed relay event, praised the calm waters of the Currimao beach.

Chua beamed that the Currimao shoreline was ideal for the swim portion of the triathlon event, saying: “kahit 300-m away from the shoreline,kita mo pa rin, napakalinaw.”

He also commended the wide and accessible roads in Ilocos Norte wherein the participants felt thoroughly safe during the race.

“The participants find these elements as the reasons why they always come back to the province to join Tri Ilocos Norte,” noted Chua.

Now on its fourth edition, the competition has seen new changes in its racecourse which both started and ended in Currimao.

Chua also highlighted that the Tri Ilocos Norte is more than the competition itself as it also eyed to give the racers the best of Ilocos Norte when it comes to its tourism and gastronomy.

“We wanted the athletes to come in Ilocos Norte not only to compete but enjoy and experience Ilocos Norte. It’s an affair wherein we link sports and tourism for the triathletes to have a good time and a vacation with their family,” said Chua.

This is why during the pre-race briefing, first-time participants were surprised when the organizers served the famous Ilocano food empanada.

The Tri Ilocos Norte event comprised of individual sprint (750-meter swim–20-kilo¬meter bike – 5-kilometer run), individual 51.5km (1.5km-40km-10km), individual 113km (2km- 90km- 21km) and 51.5km and 113km relay.

In the relay category, the members of Hi-Factor Tri North clocked in first at 4:39:37 while dominating the ages 25-29 individual full race was Robinson Esteves of Sante Barley Team clocking in at 4:41:38.

The ages 35-39 standard race category was ruled by Jet Ramos while Neil Adrian Aynera finished first at 2:13:29 in the ages 15-19 category.—(John Michael Mugas, PGIN-CMO)